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Old 01-01-2012, 09:23 PM
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Satan's Blood




Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: January 1, 2012

Format: DVD
Released by: Scorpion
Release date: November 8, 2011
MSRP: $14.95
Region 0
Progressive Scan
Widescreen 1.78:1 | 16x9: Yes
1988



“In the name of Satan, Lord of Darkness, spirit of evil, lead us into temptation, amen. Corrupt our souls and bodies. Satan, prince of fear, king of the lower world, prince of hades, prince of rape and fornication, master of hate, father of incest, prince of necrophilia, serpent of genesis, prince of death, grandmaster of the grand arts, protect your humble and faithful servants, amen.”
- Bruno, Satan’s Blood


inline ImageThey sure don’t hold back on all the titles Satan holds, do they? I like “Prince of Necrophilia” the most, I think. It’s this excess, though, that defines the golden age of Spanish horror. In the seventies and eighties, exploiting popular horror genres and packing them with every possible excess seemed to be Spain’s specialty. They didn’t just rehash hit movies or sub-genres, they shamelessly packed them so full of nudity, shock and genuine weirdness that they were pretty impossible to forget. Pieces, Slugs, Vampyres, Tombs of the Blind Dead, the films of Paul Naschy, the list goes on. For good or bad, you remember these movies. Coming now from Scorpion is Satan’s Blood. You may not recognize the director, Carlos Puerto, who’s other two horror films did not make it out of Spain, but you should recognize the executive producer and art director (how often do you read that?), Juan Piquer Simon, of Pieces fame. Does this prove to be as bloody and wild as Pieces, or should have this stayed abroad with Puerto’s other works? Come, let’s join the father of incest, the GRANDMASTER OF THE GRAND ARTS! and find out!


The Story

inline ImageThe film begins with a doctoral preamble about Satanism with the speaker talking directly to the camera as historical paintings and a few nude shots taken probably a couple weeks before help corroborate his theory that Satan exists among us as one of nature’s primary opposites. Whatever. That leads us into a sacrifice, where a woman is placed on an alter and fondled a couple times for an uncharacteristically long time by some bald, bearded monk. He spreads her and looks inside the bush of lord satan too before one last cup-o-feel before he stabs a dagger into her side. ESCALOFRIO, the Spanish title proclaims, and on we are into the film proper.

inline ImageA young couple frolic around in that Love Story seventies kind of way, bundled up and laughing their way through parks arm and arm. Ana (Mariana Karr) and Andres (Jose Maria Guillen) then decide to go for a drive, where they run into another couple at a stop light that appear to know them. The other couple flags them down and introduces themselves. Bruno (Angel Aranda) claims to have been a classmate of Andres in college and Berta (Sandra Alberti) insists the two come back to their lavish house in the sticks to “cut the cheese” (seriously). Again, in that listless, anything goes seventies fashion, the young couple proclaim they had nothing better to do and head off with Bruno and Berta. The two have a nice dinner, although when Ana goes to help Berta with the cheese cutting she notices Ana fiending like an animal from a plate in the kitchen, her face covered with blood. No matter though…they decide to all get together and have a fun go round on the Ouija board.

inline ImageAna and Andres retire to their bedroom but are startled by some noises from back in the living room. They head down in their robes and realize that Berta and Bruno are there without their robes. They’re naked, and Bruno’s reciting some rituals to the prince of necrophilia himself, Satan. Compelled by his find verbiage, the A’s disrobe and start playing with the boobs and whathaveyous of the B’s. After a satanic fueled orgy, the guests wake up and kind of just shrug the whole evening off and decide to leave. There’s only one problem…Satan won’t let them!

inline ImageAs you can guess from the synopsis, this film is as crazy and wild as we’ve come to expect from Spanish horror of the time as the film has no problem pushing the limits of public decency in terms of nudity, sex and gore. This little nasty has more nudity than you’re likely to see in most horror, including some softcore moments of intercourse where you see pretty much everything other than the twig and berries. Despite the cavalcade of breasts, it’s still all pretty classy…it’s just all really, really naked. While there aren’t a lot of gory death effects, there certainly is a fair share of bloody aftermath that’s also handled with an attention for composition that’s rather enjoyable. And then there’s the dialogue, which like other Spanish entries of the time, has that wonderful Spanglish kind of disconnect between the what they’re saying and what they really mean. There’s some humor in how the Ouija board spells words in Spanish but someone at the table just repeats it for North American viewers in English. Other than the whole “cutting the cheese” thing, there’s also a funny formalism when Ana asks Andres to “interrupt the coitus” of some friends over the phone. I couldn’t help but laugh, too, when Bruno remembers his days in college with Andres, remarking that he knew him when he was “this tall”, holding his hand at about chest level. Ahh yes, the old post-college growth spurt. The film never takes itself too seriously, and with dialogue like that it’s all the better for it.

inline ImageThese kind of delights shouldn’t be foreign to fans of Spanish cinema, but what might be surprising is just how nice the whole film looks. While he’s certainly good at bringing on the crazy, JP Simon also proves to be a capable art director and along with the eye of cinematographer Andres Berenguer (who’d shoot two of Simon’s Jules Verne movies later). It’s a very handsome production with a nice soft focus glow in the lavish period mansion setting. The camera is active and the compositions are very full, alternating nicely between wider shots and closeups to punctuate detail. For a film as obscure as this one, it’s surprising both how well it is shot and how much nudity and depravity there is. Those three things practically make up the unholy trifecta of the genre.

inline ImageWhile Satan’s Blood is no masterpiece, it is a fun little satanic romp with all the perks of the sub-genre without any of the guilt or harrow that usually comes with the devil sub-genre. Points go out to that ending too, which has the balls befitting of the “prince of rape and fornication”. It’s both shocking and graphic, and it’s highlighted with a bit of black humor to close it all off. There’s a creepy little doll, too, that if the Deep Red influence wasn’t immediately evident then it’s certainly clear when it marches through a doorway towards the protagonists. As an aside, I miss the era when we had creepy dolls rather than creepy little kids. But again, that’s what Satan’s Blood is all about, scaring, titillating and just genuinely putting on a show with whatever it can throw at you. All and all, a bloody good time!


Image Quality

inline ImageScorpion has had a solid track record with their transfers on their catalog product, and their work here on Satan’s Blood is once again top tier. It’s a great looking movie, and this transfer preserves the warm, earthy colors and the luminous glow in the cinematography. Blacks are black and contrast leaves a nice range between the highs and lows of exposure. Detail is well above average and the sharpness around faces and features is a lot better than you’d think it would be considering the softer look of the film. It’s a little dirty with white specs and splotches popping up with oscillating regularity, but it’s clean enough that it’s not a distraction and more just a dressing to give the film the vintage look of a film that’s nearly 34 years old.


Sound

inline ImageAs usual with the distributor with the poison tail we get a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, but much like the film I was surprised by just how well the sound came through. Effects and dialog are incredibly crisp and there’s no drop out or track damage that can be noted. For a mono mix it’s is very rich, sounding like it could have been recorded ten years ago rather than thirty. There is still a slight hiss that can be heard when you really crank the track, but overall as far as vintage mono tracks go it really does not get much better.

Although there is no way to access it in the menus, the original Spanish audio is included on a separate audio stream in Dolby Digital 2.0 as well. Like the English track is is very clean and rich sounding for a mono track, but unless you can speak Spanish you likely won't get much out of it because there are no subtitles (English or otherwise) on this disc.

Supplemental Material

inline ImageLike Scorpion’s other films in their “Katarina’s Nightmare Theater” line, we get the intro and extro with the ex-WWF model and little else. This one has Katarina talk to a Ouija board and focuses on a few of the more interesting plot points. Personally, I would rather a bit more time on the filmmakers themselves, since not a lot has been said about both the cast and crew on this picture other than JP Simons. There are also a bunch of trailers for other Scorpion titles (Final Exam, The House on Sorority Row, Human Experiments) and a still gallery that is just that: No music, no Ken Burns zooms or anything. Just stills that look taken right from the movie and that’s it.

Final Thoughts

inline ImageI remember kind of laughing a bit when there was a scene early in the film where the two couples at a Ouija board use an upsidedown wine glass as the planchette. Looking back, that’s kind of emblematic of the entire picture – it’s a film happy to entertain on a modest scale and it might just be a little tipsy with the way it does it. Satan’s Blood is a short and sweet séance picture with a ton of nudity, a decent amount of deaths and its fair share of weirdness. Scorpion strikes with solid audio and video, and for a modest asking price the relative lack of extras is hardly a deterrent. Even the master of hate will find it hard to hate anything with this fun little diversion. Worth a look for seventies or Spanish horror fans.


Rating

.
Movie - B-

Image Quality - A-

Sound - B+

Supplements - C-





Technical Info.
  • Colour
  • Running time - 1 hour and 22 minutes
  • Unrated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

Supplemental Material
  • Katarina's Nightmare Theatre option
  • Katarina's trailers
  • Still gallery

Other Photos

 

 

Extras
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:49 AM
The Dark and the Light
Hmm, didn't see anything mentioned about an original Spanish audio track? I heard that there was one on this release – but there are no optional English subs like there were on the old Mondo Macabro DVD?
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:40 AM
Moderator
Nope, as you can see on the menu screen there are no audio or subtitle options. English only. There's not much dialog anyway, and what is said ain't Shakespeare!
__________________
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:38 PM
The Dark and the Light
That's indeed weird rhett. Some of the other reviews of this disc (10kbullets.com, dvdtalk.com, dvdverdict.com, rockshockpop.com) all state that it has a Spanish audio track (but no subtitles). I'm wondering if Scorpion sent out different early review copies to other sites or something.
__________________
"We know nothing in reality; for truth lies in an abyss." - Democritus

 
 
Old 01-02-2012, 11:52 PM
Moderator
Hey Kat, I went back through the disc and yes, the other reviews are right, there is a Spanish track. I missed it the first time because it is not visible in the menu structure (you have to manually change the audio track if you want to hear it). I was sent a copy without any artwork or specifications, so you can understand the oversight. There definitely aren't any subtitles on the disc, though. Good sounding tracks though, both of them...I've updated the sound part of the review. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
__________________
Can't argue with a confident man.
 
 
Old 01-04-2012, 02:54 AM
Stalker
Does anyone know how the Scorpion image quality compares to the old Mondo Macabro release?
 
 
Old 01-08-2012, 11:38 AM
The Dark and the Light
^^ Undeadcow, DVDBeaver.com has some screen comparisons posted on their website. It looks like the same exact transfer as the old Mondo Macabro disc.
__________________
"We know nothing in reality; for truth lies in an abyss." - Democritus

 
 
Old 01-09-2012, 06:42 AM
Stalker
Thanks, Katatonia. This is an excellent film... I'm glad I'm not a Katarina completist, so good news for me.
 
 

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