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Satan's Blood (1978) AKA Escalofrío

Ah, the Satanic Seventies. I call them that because there were just so many satanic movies coming out during that time. Satanism was big in Hollywood, the latest “thing”. So of course it would bleed into the work as well. Rosemary’s Baby was the first large scale film of its kind, but like all successful films, it created its own sub-genre and imitators, the good along with the bad and the truly disturbing. Such a film is 1978’s Satan’s Blood.

Satan’s Blood opens with a documentary style introduction where technical consultant Professor Vesio explains that Witchcraft and Satanism are real and flourishing in today’s society. Once you are sufficiently disturbed, the film begins proper and let’s just say that it starts off with a bang! A woman is dragged into an altar room and sexually sacrificed by a robed man as other robbed figures watch. It’s an odd scene but acts as both a punctuation to the docu-intro and a prelude of things to come.

Soon we meet Andy (José María Guillén), Anna (Mariana Karr), and their dog Blackie, who are out enjoying a day at the park. Anna wanted to go dancing, but Andy wasn’t too keen on that idea since Anna is 4 months pregnant. While driving home, they are stopped by a second couple, Bruno (Ángel Aranda) and Berta (Sandra Alberti). Bruno says that he is an old collage friend of Andy’s though Andy doesn’t remember. Bruno insists they follow them out to their place for a drink. Problem is that they live in the boonies. After nearly an hour’s drive, they arrive at the place. After some drinking they realize that their “old friends” are into witchcraft and Satanism. Strange things begin to occur immediately, and hey, where is Blackie? 

The film descends into a nightmare that is never fully woken up from. Thanks to a storm, Andy and Anna are trapped there and can’t leave till morning. We just don’t know which morning. Rape, orgies and strange practices ensue. The film isn’t just bold sexually; there is a slickness to the presentation that stays with you. Every deviant act is almost a violent assault on the viewer. Several scenes have double meanings and the end is not only typically horrific, but up to interpretation. 

Andy and Anna are a decent enough couple and their trip into Satanic sexual madness is as sad as it is unnerving. Everything in the house is to be feared. Bruno and Berta certainly, but there are other people at the secluded estate, lurking in the shadows, hell, the house and everything in it seems to have an agenda. 

The film seems to be a metaphor for lost innocence how Satanism is destroying modern values. Other things are seemingly set up with a purpose, but are never explored. The thing is, they don’t have to be. People have ticks; they have things that happen in their lives that isn’t necessarily a “plot point”. I admire that the characters have lives and histories that flesh them out but are not there for the purpose of serving the story. It’s also nice to see that Anna has the unfaithful past; it’s such a rarity in film. See ladies, it’s not always our fault. ;p

Satan’s Blood is a quiet film, sexy without being erotic, gory without being repulsive and scary without making you jump. It is a film designed to play on you physically as you watch it and mentally as you lay in bed later. There have been many forgettable satanic horrors over the years that only give you surface. This film gives all of what you expect and layers beneath it for those that wish to dwell deeper. This film gives you a choice. And for that I am grateful.


1 comment:

  1. You hit the nail on the head. This film is fucking awesome, as it is also one of my all-time favorites from the 70's. Not to mention because of how pleasantly surprised I was with this one (& La Novia Ensangrentada AKA The Blood Spattered Bride - another hidden gem), I give it an 8.5/10.