Case Number 22711: Small Claims Court

KATARINA'S NIGHTMARE THEATER: SATAN'S BLOOD

Scorpion Releasing // 1978 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // November 11th, 2011

The Charge

"By the dreadful day of our judgment, by the four beasts before the throne having eyes before and behind, by the fire which is around the throne, take thy servant, I command thee, to your world of darkness."
-- A Satanic sendoff

The Case

Out for a drive, Andy (Jose Maria Guillen) and his pregnant wife Annie (Mariana Karr) are approached by Bruno (Angel Aranda, Planet of the Vampires) and his wife Mary (Sandra Alberti). Bruno claims to have been an old schoolmate of Andy, but Andy can't place him; Andy is also suspicious because Bruno looks much older and mentions things about the school that Andy knows aren't correct.

Despite Andy's misgivings, he and Annie accept the other couple's invitation to drive out to their country house for some wine and cheese.

The house is a long drive from the city, and when they arrive -- German shepherd Blackie in tow -- the young couple finds things amiss. Bruno presents a photo of himself and Andy during their school days, but it seems to have been taken years before Andy was in school; also, Andy and Annie's address is on the back of the photo. Annie catches Mary eating some gory-looking concoction, there's a strange and fascinating doll, and a book about witchcraft turns up.

After an evening of drinking and Ouija boarding -- and an impromptu storm that makes the roads impassible -- the couples retire. When Annie gets up to check on the dog, she is attacked by a mysterious guy who's been skulking about. When she and Andy go to find their hosts, they discover Bruno and Mary in some sort of erotic trance. Annie and Andy seem to fall under some kind of spell, and naturally, group sex ensues.

Then, things get weird.

Actually, things are pretty weird all throughout Satan's Blood, sometimes good weird, sometimes, not so much. A Spanish production from the '70s, it almost feels like two films mashed together -- one, a soft-core sleazer, the other, a supernatural chiller.

The film opens with "a recognized authority on Satanism," talking, naturally, about Satan ("Satan exists because evil exists," intones the translator). We then jump into a scene of ritual sex and death featuring an attractive young woman and some older guys in monks' robes. It's completely gratuitous, and we never see these people again, though some of the ritual sexing is aped later on at the orgy.

From there, we meet out hapless protagonists, and a few badly dubbed, exposition-heavy minutes later, they're off to the countryside with the obviously duplicitous Bruno and Mary (or "Berta" in the Spanish-language version).

The house itself is creepy and desolate; some rooms seem comfortable, some seem stark, and all seem ominous. Mary is a peculiar hostess, and obviously possessed by some sort of entity, since Blackie the dog doesn't like her, and she occasionally speaks in a gruff, male voice.

A lot of intriguing elements are introduced. In addition to Annie's pregnancy -- usually a linchpin where Satan is concerned -- there's a revelation that Annie had been in love with Andy's brother. There's Bruno's insistence that Andy should remember things from school that pre-dated him, including a photo of a young Andy in a uniform that wasn't worn while he was in attendance. There are strange people lurking about the grounds, and Bruno and Mary seem to dine like animals on human flesh, and a suicide (or murder), and another murder (or not), and a possessed doll, and...

Well, and all sorts of stuff, much of which is never resolved. There's a neat ending that sort of ties some of it together, and other things you can sort of impose your own meaning on, but ultimately, there are so many loose ends that it feels like whole chunks of the story are just missing.

As though, perhaps, the story was shortchanged to make room for plenty of sex scenes.

The actors spend so much time naked and simulating coitus that at times, the whole thing threatens to denigrate into soft-core porn, more Sex and the Satan than a Rosemary's Baby-style chiller. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of Satanic orgies -- I think Jennifer Aniston should insist on having at least one in all her films -- but there's an awful lot of emphasis on the orgying here. Annie and Andy have a fairly explicit encounter in their hosts' bathtub, the orgy -- including a ritual (?) oiling-up -- goes on for quite some time, and Mary is consistently topless. I don't know what this thing is/was rated, but there are more pubic sightings here than in an educational film about lice.

satan's blood

In the end, Satan's Blood comes off as a queasy juggle of intriguing paranormal mystery/thriller and standard '70s Eurosmut, with neither side represented well enough.

Satan's Blood was released a few years ago from Mondo Macabro that featured a good-looking transfer and a few extras. This release is from Scorpion and comes to us as part of Katarina's Nightmare Theater, Katarina being former wrestler Katarina Leigh Waters. Katarina provides an intro and outro for the film, but doesn't add a whole lot to the proceedings. The only supplement is a stills gallery.

Tech-wise, this looks OK, with solid colors and little print damage. The main audio track is a badly dubbed Dolby mono, and there's also a Spanish-language track, but no subtitles.

The Verdict

Katarina's Nightmare Theater: Satan's Blood is a respectable rendition of a less-than respectable film. Eurosleaze fans will likely enjoy, as will horror fans with a bit of patience.

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 78

Perp Profile
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Photo Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0075999/combined