Monday, June 14, 2010

The Killing Of Satan (1983)

1983 – The Killing Of Satan (Cinex Films Inc./F. Puzon Film Enterprises Inc)

[Philippines release date 10th June 1983, original title “Lumaban Ka Satanas”; released in Spain as “La Furia de Satan”]

Director Efren C. Pinon Story/Screenplay Jose Mari Avellana Producer Pio C. Lee Executive Producer Conrado 'Boy' Puzon Associate Producer Francisco C. Puzon III Cinematography Ricardo Herrera Editor Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao Musical Director Ernani Cuenco Sound Supervision Rudy Baldomino Sound Effects Jun Martinez Field Soundmen Ruben Gatchalian, Ricardo Toralba, Albert Rima Opticals Supervisor & Animator Gerry Garcia Assistant Editors Willy Asuncion, King Casinao, Richard Aning Art Director Cornelio Ramirez Props & Setting Men Joseph Angelo, Erning Escobar, Jovani Lotivio Unit 1 Cameraman Culoy Salcedo Unit 2 Cameraman Freddie Medes Unit 3 Cameraman Roy Sangco Location Co-ordinators Boy Banaag, Manny Tibayan, Romy Misa, J. Janding Baritua Assistant Production Manager Glenn Parian Transportation Manager Leo Awatin Set Hands Arthur Amarante, Ding Arcilla, Loreto Malpas Assistant Cameramen Ver Duaz, Rene Pacheco, Oyet Capulong, Winny Abracia, Daniel Delena Prosthetic Makeup Cecile Baun Plain Makeup Medy Alpa Assistant Prosthetic Makeup Cora Ballesteros Assistant Plain Makeup Helen Santos Special Effects Jun Gapo Marvella

Cast Ramon Revilla (Lando San Miguel), Elizabeth Orospesa (Lagring San Miguel), George Estregan (Enchong), Paquito Diaz (Pito), Cecille Castillo (Luisa), Erlyn Umali, Charlie Davao (Satan)

Fred Adelman's review from his Critical Condition Online website:

Wild Phillipine horror/fantasy film which doesn't skimp on the gore effects. When Lando (Ramon Revilla) is shot in the head protecting his family from a gang of thugs, he miraculously recovers when the bullethole disappears. Meanwhile, half a continent away, Lando's uncle (who has magical powers) dies of a bullet wound to the head but not before naming Lando as his successor as protector of the village. Lando inherits his uncle's powers and he is going to need them, for as soon as he sets foot in the village his daughter is kidnapped by the Prince of Magic (Charlie Davao), who plans to give the girl to Satan for carnal pleasure. Lando follows the Prince of Magic into his huge underground lair where he must battle snakemen, the Prince's minions, the Prince himself and, finally, Satan to save the virtue of his daughter. Extreme gore (a face ripping, a chest bursting, a man crushed by a large boulder) and cheap optical effects somehow make this a highly watchable film. Viewing this film is like having a dream while running a 105 degree fever. It doesn't make much sense but it does pack a wallop. A cult classic begging to be discovered. Also starring Elizabeth Oropesa, George Estregan, Paquito Diaz and Cecille Castillo. Directed by Efren C. Pinon (ENFORCER FROM DEATH ROW and BLIND RAGE - both 1978).

Gunter Mueller's review from the Weird Asia website:

THE KILLING OF SATAN kicks off with a weird ceremony. We see a few men walking along a street, all the while their bare backs are whipped, littering them with bloody weals. One man is wrapped up into a sort of rag and a sharp knife is drawn across his side without hurting him. Big wooden crosses are carried onto a hill, then they are set up on top of it, all this accompanied by a monotonous, sad music tune. A man begins to speak, saying that they all have met here in order to thank God and ask for his blessing. They take off their charms and put them onto a rock. Suddenly a redclothed man appears on the scene with a few menacingly looking guys at his side. Without loosing any time he challenges the people and there’s a small battle at a psychic level. The redclothed man, known as the Prince of Magic, comes off a winner and later Miguel, the loser of the duel (who was spinned round and round at a breakneck speed), lying weakly in his bed, appoints his nephew Lando San Miguel as his successor. Much to the surprise of his son Renzo.

Cut to a small town far away and we meet said Lando San Miguel (played by an overweight, mustached Ramon Revilla) who doesn’t know anything of his luck yet. Lando has a dark past: after killing a man in self-defence he was sentenced to a few years in prison. However, the brother of the man Lando has killed thinks that he has got away too easily and plans some revenge. Then we see Lando strolling through an inhospitable, rough landscape when suddenly a huge boulder comes loose and rolls straight at Lando. But there is another man, his uncle Miguel, and he notices the lethal danger immediately. Yelling loudly he desperately tries to warn Lando, and in a moment of incomparable insanity he lays down in front of the approaching rock (which doesn’t make any sense at all as the rolling stone is still incredibly far away from Lando!). I guess Miguel wants to stop the boulder but the rock is not the least bit impressed by his efforts. It rolls over the screaming uncle who is literally mashed into the stony ground. His head seems to be fully intact though and so he shouts at Lando to stop the rock, ignoring the fact that his body is a crushed mess. Lando looks bewildered as the boulder rolls at him in slow motion! Then he wakes up from this horrible nightmare...

A short time later the vindictive brother pays Lando a visit, accompanied by three trigger-happy killers. Lando’s young son spontaneously thinks it’s a good idea to go outside and is promptly shot to death. Lando, not amused at all, shoots two of the intruders but catches a bullet in the head for his trouble. The police arrive on the scene and kill the other two gangsters, but it’s too late for Lando who dies from his fatal injury. At the very same time Miguel dies too - seemingly from a bullet in his head, although no one has shot at him. Yes, he has sacrificed himself for Lando, who - to the amazement of all around - opens his eyes and returns from the dead as if nothing has happened. His son stays dead though. Lando is attracted to the small island where his uncle was living and together with his beautiful wife Laura and his daughter Betty he starts off on a journey. They are welcomed by a young boy who disappears without a trace when an avalanche of stone (caused by a spectacular explosion of a mountain peak) nearly buries the family under it. Later, the village community meets them with a friendly reception.

Next day, Renzo (the late uncle’s only son) takes Lando to Miguel’s grave... which is not so easy as his body was put to the sea. So Lando takes a small boat and searches for the uncle’s resting place. Don’t ask me why. Without warning the boat’s motor fails and he continues paddling in the direction of the shore. Strange noises rush at him and he collapses unconsciously. He wakes up to the sound of a piece of wood knocking against the side of the boat. Lando grabs it and throws it wide away. Moments later, the knocking sound can be heard again, and yes, it’s the same piece of wood. Irritated at this stubborn log he reaches for it when all of a sudden - in an ingeniously effective shock moment - a horrendously looking living water corpse jumps out of the water right at him, one of its eyes creepily hanging out of its socket. The thing (which obviously once was Miguel) croaks something and sinks down into the deep waters again. Lando returns to the village...

Meanwhile a bunch of sleazy men invade the village and attack Laura, Betty and Luisa, Renzo’s wife. Laura is brutally hit in the face and the village people have got no chance against the supernatural powers of the villains. Weird, psychically produced beams make the helpless people slump down unconsciously. Renzo and Lando return in time to see the villains kidnap Betty and Luisa onto a boat, but they can’t prevent it from happening. But then Renzo orders Lando to raise his left hand, which he does, and suddenly a sort of shield appears in front of the two, protecting them against the supernatural beams of the criminals. Even bullets can’t penetrate the shield. The attackers beat it, since they have already got what they came for. With his new-found powers and a spell Lando is able to heal Laura’s disfigured face (which is quite an achievement as she looks like a freak). And then, together with Renzo, he takes up the pursuit of the criminals, searching for his daughter Betty and Renzo’s wife Luisa. What he doesn’t know is that at the bottom of all these strange goings-on is none other than Satan personally (Charlie Davao has the great honor to portray Beelzebub) who has chosen Betty as his bride...

Directed by Efren C. Piñon (whose filmography includes ENFORCER FROM DEATH ROW (aka THE NINJA ENFORCER, 1978), BLINDE RAGE (1978), and KRIMINAL (1984)) the legendary THE KILLING OF SATAN is an incredible, almost delirous piece of trash that is played totally straight from start to finish. None of the cast members batts an eyelid when confronted with some of the most insane and most ludicrous goings-on imaginable. They keep their faces totally straight while muttering crazy lines and/or fighting silly monsters. The flick is based on a story and screenplay by Jose Mari Avellana, and frankly speaking I can’t help but wonder if he was on a bad trip when he started writing it. Including as many symbols of Christianity as he could possibly think of, THE KILLING OF SATAN is a mysterious if laughable fantasy adventure that has our hero fighting against the most imaginable evil of all time, the devil himself. In its best moments this hilarious flick has a truly peculiar, strange atmosphere that has to be witnessed as I can’t describe it with words. The story moves along rather slowly, particulary in the first half of the movie. The music score by Ernani Cuenco is quite good and manages to intensify the weird mood without being too obtrusive. The camerawork by Ricardo Herrera is also thoroughly okay for such a low budget fantasy film, as is the fine lighting (the standout setpiece is an eerie cave that is red-lit).

Truth be told, I can’t think of any movie in cinematic history that is comparable to this one relating to its sheer hilarity and stupidity. There are so many moments of insanity that I have a hard time naming them all. Here are just a few. The Prince of Magic’s speciality seems to be making his victims spinning round and round until they loose consciousness. There are innumerable laser-beams on display, accompanied by incredibly cool sound effects. In one sequence Lando literally blows his opponents away like the evil wolf in the story of the three piggies. The water of a waterfall turns to bloodred in a crucial moment. Most of the cast members overact so desperately as if they get money for it. Watch out for a snake woman called Eva. In a cave Lando is attacked by a snake that jumps at him from a hole. He catches it, hits it on the head, knots it (!) and hurls it against the wall of rock. There’s a bit of nudity (lots of naked girls locked up in an electrified cage) but nothing you want to write home about. The effects are cheap but cheerful, and although they look very dated by today’s CGI standards they have a certain charm that’s missing from most of the comtemporary movies.

The violence against animals is not nice at all, but thankfully those scenes are kept quite short. The first half of the film drags from time to time, but the moment Lando and Renzo start searching for their loved ones the pace increases and there’s always something going on so there’s hardly a boring second amidst the strange happenings. The evil characters are a pretty pathetic bunch of losers, like the stupid Prince of Magic and his no-good henchmen. Special mention must of course go to Satan who looks a bit like a pathetic version of Count Dracula with a plastic pitchfork in his hands. At least he can change his form, is able to dematerialize into thin air, plus he can beam himself through the scenery, throws people around and shoots laser beams (although more often than not he misses his target spectacularly). And, of course, he can laugh malicously, a real ‘must’ for something so unspeakably evil. Apart from that he doesn’t seem to have any further abilities (he doesn’t like to be called ‘yellow’ though) so it’s no wonder that Lando has not much trouble killing him. He dies most unspectularly, vanishing into thin air, together with his followers. I bet he regrets that he has chosen Betty as his bride...

There also is a little bit of gore to spice things up, but this is so cheaply made that it’s almost impossible to take for real. I’ve already mentioned the smashed uncle Miguel (this scene clearly borders on the surreal), but another highlight involves a ripped-off cheek and an exploding breast. As you might expect there are countless fights, mostly Lando against Satan’s followers: snake-people, cat-people, and the likes. Unsurprisingly, Lando defeats them all. But it’s fun to watch and I like the cheap make-up on the monster’s faces. All in all I can honestly say that I have had a very good time watching this mind-blowing Filipino trash epic. And, frankly speaking, how many films are there where a human hero defeats the devil himself? Not too many, I reckon. Besides, God also makes a memorable cameo appearance, helping Lando on his tough way. Lando, not knowing who the white-haired old man can be, is quite stunned when he says “Those who love me call me their father!” If laughable Filipino fantasy trash is your cup of tea than THE KILLING OF SATAN comes highly recommended. This reviewer at least enjoyed it very much.

For this review I’ve watched the Dutch tape release on the Empire label which comes in the full screen format and in a surprisingly good picture quality, considering both the low budget and the obscurity of this flick. The language is English (the dubbing is terrible) and there are Dutch subtitles. As far as I know the movie was also released on tape in the United States (from Paragon Video) so take your pick if you want to see it.

Ninja Dixon’s review from his blog:

The coolest thing with The Killing of Satan is the poster, or DVD-cover. It's to cool almost. A perfect example how to make a cheap exploitation movie interesting. But the nicest thing with this movie is that it's quite good. It's wacko of course, not to mention weird and naive. But it's one hell of a ride. I bought the Substance bootleg-DVD much because of the cover, so... I'm guilty to being a dead fish ("döda fiskar flyter med strömmen" as we say in Sweden).

Storywise it's just a revenge thriller that quickly evolves into a fantasy-horror-action-hybrid wich involved Satan himself (no surprise really), snake people, some minor but nice cheapo-gore, primitive visual effects, magic, religion and a manly mustasche-hero, Lando (played by nowdays Senator Ramon Revilla, who where attacking Alec Baldwin recently because of some joke he made about mail-order brides from The Philippines!). There's something special with these very local movies, they feel extremly exotic, and especially mixing religion and traditional beliefs into the story. I felt the same thing, but stronger, with Queen of Black Magic. This is something that never could have been done these asian countries.

The Substance-release was better than I thought and boasts a good VHS-rip that still shows some of the amazing colors and (most of the time) great cinematography. The visual effects is primitive, but works better than some of the stuff I seen in other movies from this time. The elbow/arm-shield is quite cool. Acting is... yeah, it's okey. Seen worse. The hero is a bit stiff sometimes, but but handles the action well.

It's nothing wrong with naive movies, as long as they are made with love. Here we have Satan, dressed in red and with horns and black widows peak. He's played by a young man, but sometimes he's also acted by an older man. The first incarnation of Satan is quite creepy, if you try to look beyond the silly costume.

Andy Copp’s review from his website:

This is one bizarre ass movie, and I love it! There is no discernable reason this should work, but it does. This Indonesian, pro-Christian, fantasy, horror action film has it all. Women that turn into snakes (I have an ex-girlfriend who did that), oodles of gore, nekkid babes, a hilarious red underweared Satan who turns into a much larger different actor between cuts and a handy hurricane that I think just really happened and the plucky crew kept the camera's rolling.

Oh yeah, God shows up too! He and his little kid (Who I do not believe is supposed to be Jesus. Oh no, the Christians are gonna burn this movie now!) give our hero a magic staff that can whoop Satan's tutu wearing ass! This is the kinda movie that keeps us sleaze mongers searching. It sure as hell isn't perfect, maybe not even good, but it is endlessly entertaining and gives you the wherewithal to keep searching through the video Sludge in hopes of finding more rough edged gems like it.

Mant’s review on the Bad Movie Mecca website:

"What Power Should a Man Possess to Challenge the Prince of Darkness?"

So, this evil guys rules this island. Next to it is an island of good people, protected by a good magician. He is shuffles of his mortal coil, and they go off to the city to get his nephew and replacement, Lando (Ramon Revilla), a big guy whose son has been killed. He takes his family to the island, and then goes out on a boat and gets attacked by the remains of the old magician, who bites his arm and gives him a magic elbow (I kid you not).

While this is happening the evil guys attack the island and make up with the women folk. So, Lando and his new buddy from island go off to rescue them. The have to face the evil magician, shape changing women and finally Satan (Charlie Davao) himself in ridiculous make up and outfits. Its OK though, because he has a magic elbow, Kirk-fu fighting skills, then God and baby (well, young child) Jesus show up too. God give him his righteous stick of whoop ass, and when the silly bugger doesn't keep misplacing it, it's pretty good with the smiting.

What's wrong with it?

It kinda reminds me of what we made in drama class in secondary school (that's high school for you yanks). Now, consider we had the world's crappist drama teacher who, in three years, never taught us any drama. It's a cheap mess made with much enthusiasm and little talent. Actually, thinking about it I think our stuff was actually better.

What's right with it?

Its enthusiasm and silliness makes it actually quite fun if you are in the right mood.

How bad is it really?

On a technical level it's just phenomenally bad and amateurish. On any others level, well it's bad there too.

Best bit?

Apparently inspiration failed here - The Prophet

What's up with...?

God gives our hero a stick, and he keeps losing it?

The devil changing actors, and bad outfits?

The devil's terrible eye make up?

The magic elbow?


Production values: No. Seriously it looks like it was done on a budget of "Ee will work for food. Cheap food". The costumes are laughable, the makeup spectacularly overused and the (really not) special effects are drawn on the film. I'd give it a 20, but a read the review of Ankle Biters, so I know worse does exist. 18

Dialogue and performances: Kinda hard to tell with a foreign film, still the evil guys were very campy, although I'm not sure it was intentional. The good guys were very wooden. I'll be generous and give it the benefit of the doubt, and only a 14.

Plot and execution: It starts off with a basic plot, guy looking for fresh starts, offer of being the magic savior of an island, and then needs to rescue the womenfolk from evil. When the rescue starts it just get weirder and weirder. Where do the shape changing women come from? What's the deal with the little statue and the storm effecting the island of good people? 15

Randomness: Magic elbows? God's smiting stick? The devil in lycra? Oh yes. 16

Waste of potential: Er. I'm not sure what the standard is for Filipino films about killing Satan. At the very least on the same budget they could have not looked so stupid. 12

Overall: 75%

Review from the Speculator website:

This is a Philipino effort, with lots of cheap OTT gore and very poor dubbing.

On a remote island, Uncle Miguel has a confrontation with the Prince of Magic. Defeated, Miguel summons his nephew Lando [short for Orlando] from the Big City to take over the good fight.

Lando brings his wife and daughter, and while he can hardly leave them in the Big City [where he is hunted by well-armed criminals] it seems a bit daft to subject them to all the mysterious goings on and life-threatening situations.

Lando's woman gets captured by the villain, and selected as the bride for his master ... Satan!

Review from the Channel 14 website:

Horror fantasy fight flicks don't get more lo-fi (or weird) than this trippy little number from the Philippines. A local lad must save his village from The Horned One

The production values of The Killing Of Satan are so low that it cannot fail to be more than the sum of its bargain basement parts.

Ramon Revilla plays Lando, an ex-con trying to make good in rural Philippines. When his uncle is killed by a satanic sect during a local power struggle, Lando inherits the old man's powers of sorcery and sets out to do battle with the occultists, their diabolical master (the Prince Of Magic), and ultimately Old Nick himself.

If your expectations of cinema are stuck in the slick perfection of the silver screen, you'll find it hard to enjoy The Killing Of Satan. The script is woeful, acting is atrocious and frankly they made better special effects on 'Blue Peter' with an old Fairy Liquid bottle and some sticky back plastic. But it comes from a wild imagination (witness the dwarves, the laser-firing demon, snake-women, spinning heads, exploding bodies and a cage full of naked chicks). And when you accept that it is what it is - a joyful cut of trippy lo-fi nonsense - then you realise that Piñon's film has more charm, chutzpah and laughs than an average week's cinema releases put together.

This is no better exemplified than when the Devil himself appears in all his satanic majesty dressed in a red spandex leotard complete with horns and trident.


It takes some getting used to, but this diabolical pic can offer a uniquely enjoyable experience that'll leave you in stitches. It will keep you off the acid for months.

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