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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2007
I won't go into the movie's worth as entertainment here - suffice to say that I think it's probably Tigon's best horror film, one of the best British horror films and well worth 5 stars. But in this review I'm focusing on the technical aspects which I feel detract from the DVD.

This DVD (ASIN: B000163SAW) features a poor transfer from a film print which, although relatively rich in terms of colour has quite a lot of dirt and scratches. Worse news is the fact that the transfer is a 'matted widescreen' which works fine on smaller 4:3 TVs, but which looks awful on larger screen or widescreen TVs. I believe that every DVD today should be made in 'anamorphic widescreen' format so that the image is enhanced for viewing on a larger screen. If it's not then I think that the low image quality should be clearly marked in some way, as the lack of an anamorphic transfer makes a big difference in quality. In the case of this particular movie the image is very poor mostly due to the matted widescreen format that results in what's known as 'gutterboxing' (black bars all around the image) when the movie is played on widescreen TVs. Some TVs allow zooming in to fill the screen in cases like this, but then the image becomes very grainy - so much so that it's probably better to watch it in the 'gutterboxed' mode.

So in conclusion, those with standard 4:3 TVs under 30 inches probably won't notice any loss of resolution. But for folks with big screen TVs I advise waiting until this movie gets an updated DVD treatment. Sadly there is no anamorphic transfer of this movie at present. Hopefully at some point we will get a restored and remastered version of this classic film.
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on 15 November 2014
As a teenager in the 70's I watched nearly all the Hammer, Tigon and Amicus movies though 'Blood on Satan's Claw' passed me by completely. There's a dark, folkloric quality to the film enhanced by Marc Wilkinson's alternately unsettling/idyllic score. Apparently 'Blood on Satan's Claw' was based on three separate stories and this is reflected in the film's fragmented structure. In my opinion, however, this only serves to make it more engrossing. There are also some fine performances here, notably from Patrick Wymark as the resolute judge and Michele Dotrice as the obsessed yet vulnerable Margaret.
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on 6 December 2015
I won't go into the various qualities of the film itself.I saw it at the cinema in the 70's and was very impressed.
No want I wanted to comment on what at first seems a poor Blu-ray transfer.
There appeared to be artifacts (crushing I think it's referred as) and heavy grain,particularly in many of the darker scenes.
I expected a lot more from this.I was surprised others had not commented on it.
It was as if details were trying to be drawn from where there were,nt any.
Surprisingly the DVD released in 2004 by Anchor Bay,although unfortunately non anamorphic at least gets this aspect of the film correct.
This impression however was only half right.Yes there is some grain,but by turning down the brightness,the grain becomes far more unobtrusive.and indeed restores the film to I think more as to how it should ordinarily appear,as was the case in the first Anchor Bay DVD.
So yes,probably the best this film will ever appear.A worthy purchase of what is a very original,well crafted and multi layered horror film that has drawn more admirers each passing year.For those of us that appreciate this film,we understand what is meant by the tagline a beautifully crafted horror film.For such it is,able to generate much genuine and deep discussion.
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on 27 January 2014
If you enjoyed the likes of The Wicker Man and Witchfinder General then you have to watch this! Basically, a towns children seem to get possessed by a/the devil and murderous rituals start taking place, led by gorgeous Linda Hayden. It has a realistic feel at times, is creepy, disturbing and, at the time, was controversial. If you are a horror fan, this is a must see.
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on 13 November 2014
Excellent transfer, stunning bluray quality. All other formats and releases have been somewhat dark. Since the first time I saw this film on television ages ago, I just assumed it was supposed to be dark, gloomy 'mood lighting' because of the subject matter. After watching this bluray, I see realistic daylight luminosity, in full sun and cloud-cover. The all-important ritual nude scene at the end of the film reveals ALL which had previously been obscured in shadow. In all other releases I have seen, VHS and DVD, the nude dancer had always been visible only in silhouette; now we see her in the flesh. I suspect this key scene was darkened intentionally in the past, so it could be broadcast on television without needing to edit out the scene entirely. Later, that darkened version found its way to almost all (if not all) subsequent VHS and DVD releases. This bluray, however, has excellent light, dark, contrast, sound and color... and all of the naughty bits, as the film makers intended. Let's face it- with a title like 'Blood on Satan's Claw, aka Satan's Skin', this is not Disney. It's a raw, moody, atmospheric, gothic horror film in the best sense of those terms. The disc comes with a fairly good set of extra features. I am extremely happy that this UK release is truly region-free. It plays on my Samsung and Phillips players in North America fine... BUY IT. WATCH IT. LOVE IT.
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IF your buying this or even clicked on the link this is probably a film you've heard of or maybe 'Satan' in the title lured you here.

This is a nightmarish period film. It's quite creepy and very well done. I highly recommend it.

What has bothered me for years is that this film is not on DVD/Blu-ray in the USA and that the Price of this Blu-ray never goes below £19.99
so I finally bought it at that price anyway...but with the BREXIT...i saved some cash as the $ to £ rate changed overnight.

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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 March 2012
Set in 17th century England this 1970 film opens with a young farm hand (Ralph Gower - Barry Andrews) is ploughing a field and unearths something deformed. His master is away so he has no option but to tell the visiting Judge (Patrick Wymark in one of his last film roles), except when they finally return to the field they find nothing but the local preacher (Reverend Fallowfield - Anthony Ainley) catching snakes.

*** Spoilers ***

Later on the same day the lord of the manor, Peter Edmonton (Simon Williams - upstairs downstairs), arrives home with a fiancé in tow. She is given a cold welcome by his aunt (who stands to lose her status of controlling female of the household should her nephew marry) and the Judge who is staying the night.

In the field 3 children are looking for signs of the body when one of them - the nubile Angel Blake (Linda Hayden) - claims to have found something in the soil and runs away with the children of the Edmonton's servant (Ellen Vespers - Charlotte Mitchell) following behind - Mark (Robin Davies - Catweazle) and Cathy (Wendy Padbury - Doctor Who).

When, as evening approaches, Peter insists that his future bride, Rosalind Barton (Tamara Ustinov - daughter of Peter Ustinov) must stay at the house. His aunt and her gentleman guest (a former suitor and the district judge) assume that she is pregnant, and so she is sent to the damp unused attic for the night.

As the night progresses Rosalind becomes terrified and starts to scream. Peter's aunt (being a caring soul) takes the opportunity to beat the girl, and the girl hits her back scratching her face. Suddenly the petrified girl is being nailed into the room until the wagon can come and cart her off to the asylum. Mind, with a future aunt-in-law like Mistress Isobel Banham (Avice Landone), and a prospective gutless husband like Peter, I'm not surprised the girl went loopy.

That's only the first few minutes of a 93 minute film.

*** Spoilers End ***

Please be aware (if you haven't seen the film) that as the story progresses we have female nudity (proving that Miss Hayden's long blonde hair was not natural), murders, along with the notorious rape and murder scene.

The film was seen to be so disturbing that there were attempts to have the movie banned. I will admit that I the last time I saw this was in the 1980s and until recently I had been unable to get a copy of the film to add to my collection of "old" horror movies.

Interestingly, Mr Wymark was not the first choice for the role of the Judge. Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Donald Pleasence were suggested, but the production company (Tigon) had worked with Patrick Wymark before on the "Witchfinder General" when he played Oliver Cromwell.

Compared to many of the more recent horror movies this could easily be seen as a poor film. It doesn't have the special effects or the splatter that more modern films have, however, it is the atmospheric feel of the film which makes this film one to watch.

"Witchcraft is dead and discredited" ... or is it?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 January 2011
Out of Tigon Productions comes Blood On Satan's Claw. Directed by Piers Haggard (who co-writes with Robert Wynne-Simmons) it stars Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, Barry Andrews, Michele Dotrice & Wendy Padbury. Story is set in rural 17th century England and sees a village fall under demonic possession after a living one eyed skull is unearthed by the local ploughman.

Well it's quite a title the film has got, the sort that conjures up many a blood curdling image. Yet it's some what misleading, but in a good way. There is indeed claws involved, and definitely "Old Nick" is part of the equation, but Haggard's film is more moody and quirky than the title suggests. It has definite links to Tigon's flag bearer, Witchfinder General, tho not nearly as clever or as brilliantly cruel as Michael Reeves' film. We are in the company of Wiccan ceremonies and satanically influenced children, throw in some sexually charged dalliances and we are good to go. Hell there's even some smarts in the writing about class distinction and snobbery.

However, the first half of the piece is more rewarding than the last half. The atmosphere and eerie thematics give way to standardised jolts and gore, with a finale that just comes off as slow-mo silliness that doesn't befit the earlier build ups in the script. The music (Marc Wilkinson), photography (Dick Bush), costumes (Dulcie Midwinter) and the acting (particularly petticoat terror Hayden) are of a very high standard. It's such a pity that the director loses sight of the tone marker set and fails to see it thru to a satisfying conclusion. Still, it's definitely one of the better British horrors from the 70s; with eye catching period detail and a haunting poetic feel for the most part, Blood On Satan's Claw is a safe recommend to those that like a bit of Witchcraft and Satanism in their horror diets. 7/10
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on 24 April 2010
'Blood On Satan's Claw' deserves to sit alongside 'the Wicker Man' and 'Witchfinder General' as one of the truly great British horror films. Astonishingly visually beautiful considering it was intended as a cheap exploitation film, it combines exquisite shots of the English countryside and interiors reminiscent of the Dutch masters. The period setting makes comparisons with 'Witchfinder General' inevitable but while there is no supernatural element whatsoever in that film, 'Blood on Satan's Claw' has an open ending which leaves both the possibility of the events being caused by mass hallucination and of genuine demonic activity.

A note on the DVD transfer. Earlier DVD editions of 'Blood on Satan's Claw' were matted to suit 4:3 televisions, meaning that you either had to suffer a small rectangle floating in acres of black on a 16:9 TV or blow up the picture making it very grainy. The March 2010 reissue is, as described, a proper widescreen edition removing those indignities from the film. Unfortunately it also omits the very informative commentary and featurettes which accompanied older editions, but being able to see the film properly is the most important thing. I'll be keeping my older version for them, though.

What's it about? Well, a ploughman in rural England in the seventeenth century uncovers something odd. Is it something ancient and evil or are the peasants simply worrying superstitiously? The Judge, an excellent performance by Patrick Wymark, initially inclines to the latter view, but as more and more weird and nasty events occur his modern, scientific world-view is challenged. Especially as the ironically-named Angel Blake - a performance of astonishing power, subtlety, and eroticism by seventeen year old Linda Hayden - begins to lead the local youth into very sinister "games".

The film is an 18 certificate and there are one or two moments which are quite tough viewing, notably a rape scene featuring former Doctor Who assistant Wendy Wadbury (Whovians might also look out for Anthony Ainley as the local vicar/schoolmaster)and a sequence where Michelle Dotrice has "Satan's Skin" (the rather better US title for the film) s removed via primitive surgery.

It's not perfect: the screenplay was hurriedly put together from three short stories and if you look carefully at the plot it's easy to see the joins, but this is an extraordinary film which deserves to be much better known than it is.
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on 3 May 2005
A beautiful and atmospheric film set against a backdrop of isolation, susperstition and wild countryside. A semi-human set of remains are unearthed in a ploughed field, which set off a series of macabre goings-on between the young people of the village.
The story is very well acted, and the three characters of the Judge, Margaret and Angel are particularly effective. Presumably given an '18' certificate for one rape scene and various scenes of female nudity, the film is not as creepy as it could have been, given the story matter.
Some parts of the narrative are disjointed with some features having little or no explanation. For example, no tie-up between the frightened girl locked in the attic and subsequent discovery of her acquiring clawed hands was forthcoming, neither was the 'thing' that hid under the attic floorboards. Some actors were left hanging around, seemingly waiting for a part. The ploughed-up remains were never examined beyond the first couple of frames.
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