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AN UNHOLY TALISMAN OF MURDER AND MADNESS

One of the lesser known entries in the annals of the 80s slasher film, Satan's Blade is an eerie slice of US regional terror ripe for rediscovery by horror fans.

Arriving at a snow-capped mountain resort, a group of youngsters are met by the news that a double-murder has taken place there the previous night. Despite this grisly revelation, they decide to stay on, unaware of the knife-wielding figure stalking the wintry landscape... Could the local legend of an ungodly mountain man with a grudge against outsiders have some truth in it?

Shot in Big Bear, California in 1980 but not released until 1984, L. Scott Castillo, Jr.'s Satan's Blade overcomes the limitations of its shoestring budget with a game cast and all-pervasive, creepy atmosphere - key to which is a freakish nightmare sequence that s sure to inspire more than a few sleepless nights.
[Official Synopsis]

Video


The opening credits are as dirty and damaged as all hell with a bit of a wobble thrown in for good measure but the clean up is still very apparant as the image stays sharp and strong beneath it. Moving into the film itself you realise the low budget, near forgotten source here is going to hold this back from really shining but Arrow have still provided a fantastic clean up despite the problems with print damage.

The presentation looks pretty fantastic outside of the damage and limitations of the print. Strong detail, strong light sources, some good colours and tons of texture in the frame. You soon forget the print issues (mainly because they much reduces for long periods in comparison to the opening scenes) and the natural image with realistic looks and simple lighting makes for a low budget but real world looking film.

Edges are sharp enough without ever looking crisp and the image has a look of an old nature documentary at times but one that's been noticeably enhanced for a modern viewing. This is one of those presentations that does its absolute best with what is has. I'd call it impressive for sure because you know full well the miracles performed here to make it look even this good must have been some challenge but those with more modern sensibilities might just see the low budget aged visuals along with the plentiful damage. Basically if you go in prepared for the many many scratches that you will be encountering you'll soon see beyond that and see the good stuff on show here. If anything it adds a cool layer of authenticity like when they added all the crap to the Planet Terror release as part of the Grindhouse project, expcept, y'know, this is legit.

Audio


The best thing about the mono track is the strength of the score. It's a timid, basic affair and clearly made on a minimal budget but it sounds fantastic here. Dialogue is clean and raw and often shifts between volumes within a scene due to the sound recording of the film as opposed to a failing on the disc's part but again this is an impressive overhaul for what you know must have sounded pretty sketchy without the kind of overhaul delivered here.

Extras


The Hysteria Continues commentary track is a real fan fest with all the participants. Discussing their entry points to the film, their feelings on the plot and how they've grown to love the film over the years. It's sort of like a good but level headed pub discussion about a film between friends and a very easily listen.

There's a 'Full frame version of the film' and then it's on to the 'Interview with L. Scott Castillo Jr.' (16:08 HD) which has the writer/director discussing the film.

Last up there's 'Remebering Satan's Blade' (32.44 HD) which again has the director discuss the film in a bit more detail as well as a DVD copy of the film but I didnt get that as part of the review material.

Overall


Satan's Blade is low budget but full of a pure slasher charm as girls get killed, knives get alot of attention and you're put off of holidaying anywhere all over again. Arrow have done well to provide the results for this clearly damaged to point of maybe not bothering film and it has given the film a new lease of life, that while layered under various levels of damage still is pretty impressive. The extras are okay, not in loads of depth but there's plenty here and this genuine 80s Slahser is well worth any horror fan of the genres time.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Satan's Blade
 Satan's Blade
 Satan's Blade
 Satan's Blade
 Satan's Blade
 Satan's Blade


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