Satan War (1979)

Directed by Bart La Rue

Anything that begins with “Bart La Rue’s Satan War” is probably going to be awesome. What kind of awesome? You know what, it’s that kind of awesome that we don’t have a good word for…yet.

This is one of those films that I’d only heard a little about. It was sort of a vague title. I’d seen the awesome VHS cover. I knew it had something to do with a haunted house. It was British. And, it was around an hour long. Well, I was right, wrong, wrong on those three. I don’t know why I thought it was British. It seems to have been shot somewhere in Los Angeles. And, it’s around 74 minutes. And, there are two segments: the haunted house segment and the “Very Special” second segment.

I will not be saying anything about the second segment. I will say: Look at the opening credits. Look at the cast. You will see one credit that relates to the second segment and…it will make you shake. The second segment is astounding. Padding that becomes trippy. Images and a soundtrack that argue with each other. Music playing and a narrator talking…all vying for a different kind of storyline. All amazing. I feel asleep twice during the final fifteen minutes. That is my final recommendation.

Back to the haunted house…

It’s Amityville Horror in a small home on a Los Angeles street. And, it is very deliberate. Just two people, most of the time. The same five or so minutes of music play constantly. All the dialog is dubbed. It is one of those films that finds a very strange, almost Night of Horror groove, and then milks it for an hour. In fact, when stuff actually happens in the final ten minutes, it’s kind of scary. Mainly because you didn’t expect anything to actually occur.

One thing I really liked was the answer to the question: Why don’t you get out of the house? The couple move in. The first night, supernatural things manifest. The next night, it gets worse. But, it isn’t until three or four nights in before they leave. Why don’t they run? Because, they’ve put all their money into the American Dream: a home. They can’t just leave.

And, they’re right. They can’t just leave. They should be allowed to punch their realtor for not telling them about the house’s haunted past but leaving? Not that fast. You save up, you find the house, you go through the horrible tedium of escrow…you don’t leave immediately. In fact, this is taken directly from The Amityville Horror. But, since these folks are in a house more the size of mine, I sympathized with them more.

It’s nice to return to Bleeding Skull with one of these films. Is it good? Not really. Did I enjoy it? I did. Did it test my patience? Oh hell yeah! Would I watch it again? Yes. I’ve already watched it twice. Can I recommend it to anyone else? Yes. But, only to certain people. You know who you are.

The audio is a constant synth assault with some strangely dubbed voices and some very loud sound effects. The video is fine. Low budget-1979.

Bart La Rue is Dead. Long Live Bart La Rue!

Shock! Horror! says that the movie is from the US and it gives some information about Mr. La Rue. Why did I still think it was British? Who knows? Regardless, this is an obscure, strange film that has a few scares and a closing 15 minutes that might drive you mad.

It’s good to be back.