Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Satan's Blood (1978): or, Swingin' Satanists and Demon Dolls


Since his triumphant return to MMMMMovies, the Duke of DVD has been taking up all manner of slack, regaling us with tales of his treasure-seeking adventures and the spoils thereof, not to mention infecting ever-broader swaths of the population with his perverted fascination with the nunsploitation genre. (And for that, of course, we owe him a lasting debt of gratitude.) But far from being content to lie back on the cushions of my fainting couch and allow the darkness of the Duke's mind to wash over my cassock and stain it with splotches of sin as red as Perdition-Berry Kool-Aid, I decided to take the extra time and immerse myself even further the methods by which His Infernal Majesty corrupts the souls of the weak and unwary.

And what better way to face the Eternal Enemy than by indulging in a mid-week
SATANPALOOZA?

Heading straight for the "S" section of the Unwatched Wing, I looked for any movies with the word "Satan" in the title, reasoning that any film so brazen as to have its Demonic Master's name on its spine would surely be instructive to a man of the cloth. As if in a blasphemous mockery of the Holy Trinity, I found three. I have watched them all, and have barely survived to report my findings. Unclean shadows flit about the corners of the room, and profundo basso voices chant the Psalms backwards in phonetic Portuguese. But I am not frightened--I have tasted the Devil's pleasures, and have made him, to use the common parlance, my bitch.

But it almost was not so, thanks to a near opening-round knock out by the 1978 blasphemic abomination, Escalofrío, aka Satan's Blood.

Not wasting time in its assault, Satan's Blood opens in the middle of a Black Mass. An altar studded with black candles is fronted by men in inky robes, the eldest a short, bald, ostentatiously bearded gentleman whose corruption fairly oozes from his watery eyes. This High Priest motions to his followers, who bring in a young Eurobabe in a gauzy white see-through gown (zang), a shining beacon of of purity amid the darkness of her tormentors. The lesser Satanists stretch her out on a stone altar, while the bearded Priest blesses her, rips the gown from her shoulders, and starts roughly pawing her breasts! He indulges himself this way for quite some time, eyes shut in ecstasy while the poor girl writhes helpless under his touch. Finally he stops, only to hurry to the other end of the altar, tear away her skirt, and start palpating and kissing her legs and crotch! I was agog, and already felt my defenses slipping.

Worst. Massage. Ever.

Finally the corrupted priest mounts the altar and the girl, raping her for his unholy sacrament. Just when the horror has apparently reached its apex, the priest pulls out a sacrificial dagger (and that's all he pulls out, iykwimaityd) and stabs the girl in flagrante de demonio! She expires, the hairy villain still thrusting away on top of her! Awash in wickedness, it took all my spiritual restraint to keep my finger off the "rewind" button.

After some nicely designed opening credits (containing such infernal names as "José Pagán" and "Luis Bar-Boo"!), we find ourselves in the apartment of Anna and Andy, a young married couple just as precious as their alliterative names would suggest. Anna is trying to convince Andy to take her out dancing, but he refuses, warning her "No dancing! We could lose the baby!" Yes, Anna is four-months knocked-up, and like many young fathers, Andy is fiercely protective of the still-developing fruit of his loins. So instead of dancing, they go take in a flick (Star Wars! +2 Geeky Bonus Points!), then discuss it afterward over a cup of strong coffee and a pair of cigarettes! Wow, thank God they didn't go dancing!

After an idyllic stroll in the park with their dog Blackie, Anna and Andy are driving around looking for action when a strange car pulls up beside them at a stoplight. The man in the car and his intense-looking girlfriend stare at them disconcertingly, making the young couple nervous. At the next stoplight, though, the man rolls down his window and calls Andy by name, claiming to be an old school chum. They pull over at the first opportunity and get out to socialize. The man, Bruno, remembers Andy quite well, naming their old school buildings and teachers, but Andy can't remember Bruno to save his life. Easygoing Anna teases that he's just getting old and loses his memory, and quickly assents when Bruno and his wife Berta (though she's called "Mary" on the dubbed track) invite them out to their place for drinks and nostalgia.

They follow the couple into the wilderness for nearly an hour (?!), giving Andy time to grow more and more uncomfortable with inconsistencies between Bruno's "memories" and his own. Finally they arrive at Bruno's palatial summer home, enclosed entirely by a tall iron gate and guarded by a first class Creepy Old Dude. Meanwhile, a dirty hobo somewhere is preparing to leave his shotgun shack with robbery on his mind. Before you can shout "Hey, where'd that dirty hobo come from?" we're back at Chez Bruno y Berta.

Thank God! I thought it was Liverwurst!

The decor at the house is as sumptuous as it is unsettling--the parlor boasts deep mahogany furnishings, a full library of esoteric books on the occult, a hand-carved Ouija board/table, and one of the creepiest antique porcelain dolls a pediophobic vicar could hope to meet. Blackie doesn't like the place, and is quickly shuttled outside by a furious Berta.

While the men look over a handsome leather-bound edition of Satanism for Dummies in the parlor, Anna goes to help Berta with the food--only to find her hostess hunched over a plate of raw meat, snarling like a beast as she gnoshes! Berta plays it off admirably though by handing Anna a knife and asking, "Why don't you cut the cheese, huh?" Doubtless busy trying to contain her giggles, Anna neglects to criticize Berta's eating habits.

Things get weirder and more disturbing from here. Bruno shows Andy a class photo with both of them in it, but Andy doesn't remember posing for the photo, and further is sure he never wore a uniform of the type depicted there. Unperturbed, Bruno suggests they dust off the Ouija board for some paranormal party tricks, and the curious couple readily agrees. Hey, it's a party--what could possibly go wrong?

"The spirits say you can save lots of money
on your car insurance."

If you answered "EVERYTHING!" then give yourself a bonus point. The spirit of the Ouija wastes no time in airing both couples' dirty laundry--not only does it reveal both Bruno and Berta have tried suicide in the past, it also blabs about Anna's extramarital indiscretions with Andy's brother Louis! Bruno says a chilling prayer to the Prince of Darkness, the board predicts the host will die by his own hand, and a thunderstorm out of nowhere forces Anna and Andy to stay the night with their increasingly creepy new friends. What are the chances, huh?

Not ones to let a little postprandial Satanism get them down, Andy and Anna share some playful sex in the bath (zang) before turning in for the night. Later, awakened by Blackie's howls, Anna goes downstairs and runs into--who else?--the dirty hobo! She foils his attempted rape with a swift kick to the juevos and runs to get Andy. But when they both come back down to confront the miscreant, what should they find in the parlor but
another Black Mass going on, with Bruno and Berta oiled and nude in the middle of a huge pentagram! Hypnotized by greasy evil and some more of Bruno's poetic prayers ("Father of Incest! Prince of Necrophilia! I invoke thee!"), the couple fall into a trance and the movie loses its last vestiges of restraint.

What follows is perhaps the most disturbing and arousing Satanic Orgy ever committed to film, as Bruno and Berta grease their guests up and go to town with blasphemous abandon. Twisted masses of writhing flesh, partner-swapping, graphic humpage and even a devilish DP scene batter the viewer with depravity, all to the tune of Bruno's evil incantations. Only depictions of explicit penetration and a money shot could have made this scene more dirty, and even then not by much.

If loving this is wrong, I don't want to be right.

The evil flies fast and furious from then on out--we see Bruno and Berta going at each other like beasts (alone for a change), snarling and growling most disturbingly while the hobo watches from an undisclosed location. The creepy doll makes a memorable appearance, strolling into Anna's room bleeding from its eyes! (Note to self: never sleep again.) Anna dreams of being lesbo-raped at knifepoint by Berta, Blackie turns up torn to pieces, the hobo is perforated by an unseen assailant and tossed into the freezer, and Anna and Andy find suspicious photos of themselves in an abandoned wing of the house when their hosts go missing a few hours. And we've still got 20 minutes to go!

Satan's Blood is a movie that just keeps topping itself. You think it couldn't possibly get wilder, then Bruno commits suicide (successfully this time), Berta tries to follow suit but recuperates in time to fling a few bullets at Anna and Andy, Bruno's corpse gets up and goes on a zombie rampage, and the Creepy Doll comes walking in again only to have its head explode in a bloody mist! Traumatized and in permanent wig-out mode, Andy and Anna finally escape and return to their apartment for a shocking, disturbing, and altogether awesome denouement that recalls Rosemary's Baby in the best way possible. After that, the coda in the streets of Spain is just icing on an evil, awesome cake.

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?

Looking back, I probably should have started with something less taxing before taking on the evil insanity of Satan's Blood, but the important thing is that I survived. Maybe because the opening Mass had nothing to do with the rest of the movie, I could hang on to the tatters of my sanity. Maybe because the frequently naked Anna (Mariana Karr) looks a lot like early Vicar-horror-crush Jenny Agutter (Ahwoooo!), I could stay somewhat centered. But by the time the end credits rolled and the creepy doll once again peered out at me from behind the gaffer and best boy's names, I was shaken and truly spent.

Sex, blood, dolls, zombies, more sex, more blood, cults, dog murder, questionable prenatal care, suicide, cannibalism, even yet MORE sex, and a heaping helping of SATAN make this movie one of the more powerful packages of madness I've ever matched my wits against. 3+ thumbs, and may God give me the strength to go on!


Watch for the next two entries in the Vicar's Satanpalooza soon to come! And thanks to Karswell once again for sharing this glorious slice of Spanish blasphemy.

5 comments:

Karswell said...

Ha ha, had a feeling you'd like that one. Now go take a blood bath to wash away a little bit of the evil you have become saturated with!

The Vicar of VHS said...

It's in my bones now, it's too late for me! Save yourselves! :)

Karswell said...

Also, it looks like one of your images isn't opening... the first one. I see the caption but no pic.

The Vicar of VHS said...

April Fools! It's really not there! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

No, seriously, I can see it no prob.

Karswell said...

Weird, never opens here on my end. And actually now that I look at it all again, aside from the poster art I only see two screen captures when there should be what like 5? I only see the 4 way orgy and the doll head.

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