Satan’s Blade ** USA 1984 Dir: L Scott Castillo. 76 mins

To a marvellous 80’s synth beat, the world’s least dramatic bank robbery unfolds, as two female bankers at a sparse financial institution have their blouses cut open (naturally) before being unconvincingly shot dead for the princely sum of $50,000. A narrative perhaps modelled on Bava’s A BAY OF BLOOD pedals through twists and double-crosses as the perpetrators take refuge at a ski-resort cabin where an uninvited mystery gloved assassin neuters all their nefarious plans. Subsequently, five hunk-seeking young women stay at the same cabin, undeterred by the resort owners speaking of a “monster of death who stalks all who comes to these mountains”.
Inevitably, the girls start buying the farm while the local sheriff says helpful things like “Let’s finish eating and get back to work”. Given the hopeless blood effects and amateur acting, it’s amusing to reflect on this movie being cut by over three minutes by the BBFC back in the 80’s: even a once-contentious tit-stabbing moment would probably struggle to stir up much of a hornet’s nest if broadcast on Christmas Day during a CORONOATION STREET ad-break by mistake. This relatively obscure early 80’s slasher movie at least tries to take a few different directions, but it’s mostly just irritating, especially when the central evil spirit is allowed to speak (controlling its hosts via the eponymous knife), conveying all the menace of your uncle talking into a Pringles tube.

Review by Steven West

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