Edge of the Axe – Spain, 1988 – reviews and Arrow Video Blu-ray specs

‘There is nothing silent about nights in Paddock County.’

Edge of the Axe is a 1988 Spanish slasher horror feature film about a psychopath on a killing spree in a rural Californian community. The original title is Al filo del hacha

Directed by José Ramón Larraz [as Joseph Braunstein] (Rest in Pieces; Black Candles; Vampyres; Symptoms; Scream – and Die!) from a screenplay co-written by Joaquín Amichatis, Javier Elorrieta and producer José Frade.

The movie stars Barton Faulks (Future-Kill), Christina Marie Lane, Page Mosely (The Jigsaw Murders; Open House; Girls Nite Out) and Fred Holliday (Lobster Man from Mars).

Plot:

The rural community of Paddock County is being rocked by the crazed exploits of an axe-wielding psychopath, who stalks the night in a black trenchcoat and mask.

As the victims pile up, the authorities attempt to keep a lid on the situation, whilst computer whizz-kid Gerald and girlfriend Lillian seek to unmask the killer before the town population reaches zero.

New release:

Edge of the Axe is being released on Blu-ray for the first time by Arrow Video in the US, UK and Canada on January 28th 2020. Special features include:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • English and Spanish language versions of the feature
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Spanish soundtrack
  • Brand new audio commentary with actor Barton Faulks
  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • Newly-filmed interview with actor Barton Faulks
  • The Pain in Spain – a newly-filmed interview with special effects and make-up artist Colin Arthur
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn

Reviews [click links to read more]:

The acting is ok but the twist ending is dumb. It’s one of those endings that doesn’t make any sense once you think about. The film features terrible country songs and one such song ruins what could have been a semi-creepy ending. Edge of the Axe is for the slasher completist only.” 80s Horror Central

“Slasher movie fans, particularly of the European stuff will find this one to be an enjoyable diversion. Deeply flawed as it is, it still offers some dumb fun and gore […] The kill scenes, though all done with an axe, are still gory enough to fit the shameless tone of the movie.” Bad Movies for Bad People

“[Larraz] injects some Argento-esque style into the murders to separate the film from its otherwise regional slasher trash roots. It’s sort of like taking a trip to northern California with a couple of schmucks, to one of these Redwood preserve towns, and occasionally a cut-rate giallo breaks out.” Cinema Gonzo

“The killer looks creepy in Michael Myers-like blank mask and rain slicker, and the movie transcends its budget. The beautiful summer-laden backdrops are visually picturesque and there’s enough plot expansion to relate to the main characters.” Hysteria Lives!

“This script and these characters are not good enough, and the computer business makes it harder to take seriously. But it looks good and the murder scenes are well done. I like the mask even though it’s basically a knockoff of Michael Myers minus hair.” Outlaw Vern

“The axe slayings seemed more visceral than I’m used to. The story has a soapy V.C. Andrews quality that I feel at home in. Doomed teen romances in California Mountain towns. Jose Ramon Larraz has arrived to the slasher genre and his vision of it is going to leave a lasting impression.” Scumbalina

“We get some grisly axe murders, regional hang-out horror, country music, goofy dialogue, ancient computer graphics, coca-cola product placement, booming synth score, I could go on forever. I love that our main character and his love interest communicate with each other almost solely via the only computers in the entire town.” Taylor Heider

“The kills are less graphic than most of the slasher ilk, but they pack some ferocity (particularly the novel opening one in a carwash). The film winds down instead of having a traditional slice and dice finale, but the conclusion is refreshingly cynical.” Teenage Frankenstein

“Larraz manages to create some tension from time to time but the film peaks with the opening axe ‘em up at a car wash and its climax appears slightly skewered once all of the red herrings are eliminated, with a motive so contrived and unlikely…” Vegan Voorhees

Cast and characters:

  • Barton Faulks … Gerald Martin
  • Christina Marie Lane … Lillian Nebbs
  • Page Mosely … Richard Simmons
  • Fred Holliday … Frank McIntosh
  • Patty Shepard … Laura Simmons
  • Alicia Moro … Rita Miller
  • Jack Taylor … Christopher Caplin
  • Conrado San Martín
  • Joy Blackburn … Susan Nebbs
  • May Heatherly … Anna Bixby
  • Elmer Modlin … Reverendo Clinton
  • Javier Elorrieta
  • José Frade
  • Christina Lane

Censorship:

The UK video release was censored by 26 seconds by the BBFC.

NB. Despite the film being listed online as a US-Spanish co-production, all the credits are Spanish and there is also no confirmation it was made for cable TV as is often stated.

Some image credits: 80s Horror Central | La Dama Rossa – the inferior quality reflects their VHS source prior to Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release

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