Die Säge des Todes (1981)

Directed by Jesús Franco [Other horror films: Gritos en la noche (1962), La mano de un hombre muerto (1962), El secreto del Dr. Orloff (1964), Miss Muerte (1966), Necronomicon – Geträumte Sünden (1968), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), Der heiße Tod (1969), Marquis de Sade: Justine (1969), The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969), Paroxismus (1969), De Sade 70 (1970), Il trono di fuoco (1970), Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht (1970), Les cauchemars naissent la nuit (1970), Vampyros Lesbos (1971), Sie tötete in Ekstase (1971), Jungfrauen-Report (1972), Drácula contra Frankenstein (1972), Der Todesrächer von Soho (1972), La fille de Dracula (1972), Dr. M schlägt zu (1972), Les démons (1973), La comtesse noire (1973), La maldición de Frankenstein (1973), La nuit des étoiles filantes (1973), Los ojos siniestros del doctor Orloff (1973), Al otro lado del espejo (1973), La noche de los asesinos (1974), Les possédées du diable (1974), La comtesse perverse (1974), Les gloutonnes (1975), L’éventreur de Notre-Dame (1975), Sexorcismes (1975), Frauengefängnis (1976), Jack the Ripper (1976), Un silencio de tumba (1976), In 80 Betten um die Welt (1976), Die Marquise von Sade (1976), Greta – Haus ohne Männer (1977), Die Liebesbriefe einer portugiesischen Nonne (1977), Die teuflischen Schwestern (1977), Der Ruf der blonden Göttin (1977), El sádico de Notre-Dame (1979), Mondo cannibale (1980), El caníbal (1980), La tumba de los muertos vivientes (1982), La mansión de los muertos vivientes (1982), Revenge in the House of Usher (1983), El tesoro de la diosa blanca (1983), Macumba sexual (1983), Sola ante el terror (1983), Sangre en mis zapatos (1983), Mil sexos tiene la noche (1984), El siniestro doctor Orloff (1984), Lilian (la virgen pervertida) (1984), La esclava blanca (1985), Faceless (1987), Killer Barbys (1996), Tender Flesh (1997), Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula (1998), Lust for Frankenstein (1998), Vampire Blues (1999), Dr. Wong’s Virtual Hell (1999), Helter Skelter (2000), Vampire Junction (2001), Incubus (2002), Killer Barbys vs. Dracula (2002), Snakewoman (2005), La cripta de las mujeres malditas (2008), La cripta de las mujeres malditas II (2008), La cripta de las condenadas (2012), La cripta de las condenadas: Parte II (2012)]

Commonly known under the title Bloody Moon, Die Säge des Todes is a tedious film. Aspects of it are worth seeing, such as the generally decent kills, but boy, do the plot and characters really grate on me after a time.

There are so many plot issues that it’s hard to fully delve into. For instance, a young woman is running and screaming that a killer is after her, and her friends laugh it off. Or that same girl running from the killer again, only to see a silhouette figure in front of her – she should know it’s not the killer, as, well, the killer is behind her. So you would think she would run to the figure for potential safety.

She doesn’t.

So part of the issue is that the central character, Angela (played by Olivia Pascal) very quickly becomes hysterical at everything. She sees a friend get murdered, but when she tries to show someone else the body, it disappears, so for a time, she was convinced she was dreaming. She spends much of the next day searching for the murdered girl. Then someone saves her from a snake, but because she didn’t see the snake, only a bloody pair of shears, she’s convinced that guy is the murderer.

My point is that it doesn’t take long for this character to become scared and suspicious of every little thing, and it sort of gets old, especially when it leads to terrible, illogical decisions that keep happening throughout the movie. It’s hard to state just how many times in the movie I was bothered by plot points like this, and that goes a long way to making this not as fun an experience as you might hope.

I can’t hold that too much against Olivia Pascal. I’m sure she did what she had to do with her role. Nadja Gerganoff was a more interesting character, but we never really get to understand that much about her. It’s similar with Christoph Moosbrugger, and while Peter Exacoustos’ character was perhaps one of the most sensible in the movie, even he made more mistakes than you’d hope for.

Obviously, this isn’t a problem with this movie alone, as plenty of horror films have characters that make bad decisions. It just seemed so much more prominent here, and it’s quite possible that wasn’t helped by shoddy dialogue and a somewhat poor dubbing job. On the plus side, the setting of this movie is rather beautiful. I’m not sure where this was filmed, but it had a unique look to it, and the scenes on the dock were quite lovely.

What the film tries, and mostly succeeds, in doing right would be the kills. Centerpiece among them, I’d argue, would be the decapitation of someone with a saw blade (and in fact, the original title of this film translates to Saw of Death). It looked excruciatingly fake, but that’s half the fun. Someone was stabbed through the neck, another stabbed through the chest, and even another killed with a power saw (or at least that’s what I think it is – think an ultra-thin chainsaw). The kills here are decent, and if that’s your main interest, then Bloody Moon is worth seeing.

And personally, this is a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Being a Jesús Franco movie, I wasn’t necessarily expecting much, and ultimately, I may have ended up enjoying it about as much as I thought I would. Because of plot elements and characters that drove me up the wall (not to mention the least-surprising ending I’ve ever seen in a movie), it’s not a film I liked that much, but at least for the gory elements, it’s worth experiencing once.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

4 thoughts on “Die Säge des Todes (1981)”

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