Bloody Moon – original title: Die Säge des Todes [“The Saw of Death”] – is a 1981 West German slasher horror feature film directed by Jesús Franco from a screenplay by Erich Tomek [as Rayo Casablanca] (Contamination; Dracula Blows His Cool).
Miguel, a young man with a horribly disfigured face, fatally stabs a young woman with a pair of scissors after failing to have sex with her. He is institutionalised at a mental asylum for five years.
When his sentence is finished, Miguel is released into the care of his sister, Manuela. Along with their invalid aunt and countess Maria Gonzales, his incestuous sister Manuela operates a boarding school for young women called Europe’s International Youth-Club Boarding School of Languages, on the Spanish resort of Costa Del Sol…
“Bloody Moon may be almost too obvious to believe at times, but it is filled to the brim with nubile young naked women just aching to have sex, several rather spectacularly gory death scenes, and just barely enough plot to keep things ambling along from set piece to set piece. The film is also perhaps more of a giallo than has been traditionally thought, with several tropes lifted out of that Italian accented slasher genre.” Jeffrey Kauffman, Blu-ray.com
“The murders are set up nicely, delivering enough blood and guts to keep slasher fans happy. There’s also plenty of nudity, but what fans of slasher films will miss is the intense tone and the lack of attempts at making the film have any scary parts. The character development and acting is also lacking. The main character Miguel, sporting a horrible makeup for his disfigurement, is played very wooden and emotionless by Alexander Waechter.” Torstein Karlsen, Cinema Terror
“Rayo Casablanco’s illiterate screenplay could have been written on a napkin, the English dubbing is horrendous (it’s not even lousy enough for a laugh) and Franco’s direction is full of his usual weird camera angles (he likes to shoot a lot from overhead here), false scares (yes, a cat does jump into frame to scare our heroine) and zooms galore. There are a few bloody bits of gore, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times before (rock saw decapitation excluded).” Fred Adelman, Critical Condition
” …this would have fit very snug as a Xeroxed Halloween (right down to the masked POV at the start); but the Europeans don’t like to do things the easy way, so in Franco’s hands this becomes a tale of inheritance and incest and redemption oh and also some slasher stuff, such as: mammo-rific murder, mill saw decapitation, gas powered hedge clipper disembowelment, immolation, eyewitness road rash, and a none too subtle nod to Psycho.” Scott Drebit, Daily Dead
“Bloody Moon does maintain an ample amount of female nudity, though restrained in comparison to some of Franco’s softcore horrors of the period. The gory killings certainly don’t disappoint here, as one poor blonde is speared through the chest, another is clasped by the neck with a garden tool, etc.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
“The girls are being stalked by two of the reddest herrings imaginable. One is a burnt youth in a Mickey Mouse mask. The other is a gardener who is always laughing maniacally and coincidentally wielding the exact same implement that has just been used to kill the latest victim. The best thing I can say about this movie it is it is so over-the-top with its dumb victims, obvious red herrings, and ridiculously gory murders that it might have actually meant to be a parody of the slasher film.” Melon Farmers
“Completely ludicrous and entertaining from start to finish, Bloody Moon may resemble an ’80s slasher film in construction but is a wholly unique experience in practice. Franco’s beloved zoom lens and proclivity for wholly inappropriate nudity betrays the man behind the camera from time to time, but who knew he could pull off a body count film with such zeal? Other delights include the piecemeal music score composed of spooky stock music and catchy instrumental Europop…” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital
” …appallingly meretricious schlock which looks as if it has been slung together using discarded out-takes from a dozen different potboilers […] no visible means of support from either plot or characterisation, the action simply staggers from one lurid climax to next” Tom Milne, Monthly Film Bulletin, 1982
“Obviously, the one-two punch of this genre and Franco’s presence prepares you for the usual pitfalls, like spacey acting (made all the more extraterrestrial by the overdone dub jobs) and a somewhat languid pace, both of which are evident here. But when it’s time to get down to brass tacks (er, buzz saws), Franco dreams up some demented dispatches, as victims are stabbed, set aflame, and strangled with fireplace tongs.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!
“Some of the dialogue is silly, the characters aren’t very developed and not all of the actors are great, but Olivia Pascal as last-girl-standing Angela is a real gem. Her character likes to read murder mysteries and horror stories, and as creepy things start to happen at the school, all her (soon to be deceased) friends pull the old “it’s just your imagination” shtick.” Luna Guthrie, UK Horror Scene
Cast and characters:
- Olivia Pascal as Angela
- Christoph Moosbrugger as Alvaro
- Nadja Gerganoff as Manuela
- Alexander Waechter as Miguel
- Jasmin Losensky as Inga
- Corinna Drews as Laura
- Ann-Beate Engelke as Eva
- Peter Exacoustos as Antonio
- Antonia García as Elvira
- Beatriz Sancho as Nieto
- María Rubio as Countess Maria Gonzales – Monstroid
- Otto Retzer as Bueno
- Jesús Franco as Doctor
In the UK, Amanda Films submitted Bloody Moon for theatrical distribution and the BBFC censors cut it to 83m 27s for an ‘X’ certificate on 26/01/1982.
Vipco released the film on video with BBFC cuts (24/12/1993) of 1m 20s so that the running time was a mere 79m 45s.
Bloody Moon was finally released uncut on DVD by Severin Films in 2008 in both the US and UK. A Blu-ray release by Severin followed in 2014.
Image credits: Italo Cinema