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BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW / AKA SATAN'S SKIN in the USA


This is the first ever release of this film music. I could stop there but I'll carry on a bit longer.

Yes, right, I'll tell you what I know. This is a classic Tigon release directed by Peter Haggard and is often seen as a companion piece to Witchfinder General. The story here is simple, a village in 17th Century Great Britain is overcome by a Satanic plague, manifesting itself as a dark, hairy patch on the skin. I've got one in fact. Anyway, the children and village youth fall quickly under the devil's spell and soon Satanic rituals, witchcraft, sacrifice and sorts of weird hanky panky is everywhere. The film is notable for many reason, the music of course, that bloke "Fred" from Ragtime, and the kinky Linda Hayden, playing the part of Angel, the sexually driven teenager of evil. Or something like that. She gets her kit off, which may well have added heavily to the cult status of the movie. I believe Linda Hayden has a bit of a fan base.

Musically it is totally beautiful, the score written by Marc Wilkinson. He had spent a considerable time as music director of the National Theatre and also went on to score for many TV productions and films including Tales Of The Unexpected and Quatermass.

Here are his brief sleevenotes for Blood On Satan's Claw: I first met Piers Haggard at the National Theatre. At the time I was Director of Music there and Piers was an assistant director. It was the first feature filmwe collaborated on but later we worked often together. The film was made on a very tight budget, and I was rather proud that I managed to record everything just #5/3/0 under budget! The orchestra was pretty classical in line-up, except for the two unusual instruments which were 1) the Ondes Martenot which provides the big swoops and many other unusual tone colours of various fiendish types. It was without doubt the first really successful electronic instrument; it was developed before the last world war. 2) the cimbalom, an east European instruments a bit like a piano, but played with various types of mallet, provides very pungent sounds. It is sometimes associated with the devil, thereabouts. The descending chromatic scale which features throughout the music omits the perfect fifth (the only true consonant in the chromatic scale) and therefor highlight the diminished fifth, which ever since the middle ages in Europe has been known as the Devil's Interval!! The principal melody (which sounds like an English folk song, but is not) was added later by me because the producer considered that the music was too austere. In hindsight, I agree with him. It was great fun writing the score

After a long search for stills from this film, I stumbled across these images, which are ruder than most of the other images I found and are also way better than the original poster, which is absolutely rubbish and features a very poor drawing of the devil who, incidentally in the film, was played by the director wearing a mask and cloak.

Over many years the film has slowly gained a cultish reputation, and there are rumours that good old Tim Burton is a very big fan and used it as an influence for his Sleepy Hollow production. Over the last few years several people have mentioned this film and score to me - Whitaker Malem (groovy film collectors and film fashion designers) and Joel Martin, that loony who brought Dawn of the Dead to my attention. I'd come across Marc Wilkinson before, as I'd found his score for Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and thought it was full of pastoral surprises. This score has taken bloody ages to sort out, and special thanks must go to Marc Wilkinson for his help and patience, and Newyattsounds for remastering the reels with enthusiasm and style.

There will be a CD issue of this soundtrack and a limited run of 500 vinyl only. Hopefully with a bum on the front.

Track Listing
01 Fiend discovered and titles
02 Peter & Rosalind in attic
03 Rosalind's madness
04 Angel's Claw
05 Claw in classroom
06 Judge by fireside
07 Peter fights devil, severs hand
08 Judge drives off
09 Mark alone
10 Death of Mark
11 Angel naked
12 Angel's first curse
13 Angel's second curse
14 Return from the graveyard
15 Return from the graveyard
16 Kathy crowned
17 Children into church
18 Kathy's ceremony
19 Kathy's rape and death
20 Peter's ride
21 Ralph chops tree
22 Ralph saves Margaret
23 Margaret escapes
24 Ralph's wound
25 Ralph bewitched
26 Finale and credits