Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Satan’s Blood (1978)

Ana and Andres are on their way to the park with their dog when they encounter another couple, Bruno and Berta. Bruno claims to be an old college friend of Andres’ although, oddly enough, Andres just can’t recall him at all. When Bruno and Berta invite them back to their house for drinks they see no harm in accepting. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I mean, they seem like a nice couple and they’re not likely to be devil-worshippers or anything like that, are they? But of course this is a horror movie, so they most certainly can be devil-worshippers! Satan’s Blood (Escalofrío) is an intriguing 1978 slice of Spanish erotic horror released on DVD by those fine folks at Mondo Macabro. And like most of the offerings from this company that I’ve encountered, this movie is a lot better than you might expect.

Ana and Andres are offered some unusual wine, and some rather odd cigarettes, and pretty soon Bruno suggests that they give the old ouija board a spin, just for amusement. This certainly gets things happening, and pretty soon Ana and Andres are joining their hosts for some naughty bedroom fun (although in this case it’s naughty living-room fun). So far it’s been an entertaining evening, but from this point on things start to get unsettling, with disturbing psychological games involving suicide and a series of unexplained and upsetting events. The evening starts to take on the logic of nightmare, and the coming of daylight brings only terror and confusion, as our innocent young couple find themselves in an escalating waking nightmare. Director Carlos Puerto does a fine job in slowly building an atmosphere of the weird and the uncanny. The acting is competent, and the effects aren’t fantastically ambitious but the ones that are used are used effectively. There’s a staggering amount of nudity, but it would be difficult to describe it as gratuitous nudity – it is after all a movie about terrifying sexual and emotional games (among other things) so any coyness about sex would have weakened the film considerably. There’s a certain amount of gore but it isn’t overdone. It’s a movie that relies more on a slow developing of an atmosphere in which the protagonists feeling increasing trapped and out of control rather than on overt scares. In this it succeeds very well. Recommended for eurohorror enthusiasts. The DVD transfer is extremely good, and the extras include an interesting short documentary on Satanism.

No comments: