As a general rule, the term “television” is used in relation to a film with pejorative intentions, referring to the lower quality of productions created exclusively to be premiered on television. What today we call the “afternoon movie”. Of course, this connotation rules out the possibility of any truly creditable “TV movies.”
There is no need to resort to modern times with streaming platforms investing in large studio budgets. Filmmakers of great entity, such as steven spielberg either Michael Mannhad their first big efforts making movies for national cathodic broadcast – ‘The Devil on Wheels’ and ‘Free man‘ respectively-. Others, like ‘brian’s song‘, are considered classics regardless of their original broadcast. So this should not be an obstacle to appreciate ‘Satan’s Seal‘, an HBO Max original (formerly HBO) from 30 years ago starring the recently deceased Fred Ward.
a unique spell
Home Box Office decided to produce this peculiar script of Joseph Dougherty, which mixed detective film noir with magic and supernatural creatures. His references were so clear that Dougherty named his protagonist Harry P. Lovecraft (Ward), moving him in a alternate world in 1948 where everyone uses magic except him. That doesn’t make his job as a private investigator any more complicated, but it makes it a little different, although the dissatisfied with the darkness of the world that characterizes film noir it remains.
directs Martin CampbellNew Zealand that we have associated with the great action films that came later, such as the successful Bond ‘goldeneye‘ and ‘Casino Royale’ or the two installments of ‘The mask of Zorro‘. His sense of humor has appeared in a more timid way in these films, but here it is shown at full capacity, without stopping doing a dark film with the cynical touch that the noir genre requires.
It’s a tricky balance to strike, but she seems spurred on to try after the success of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Campbell doesn’t have as many means, but she opts for a few practical effects via very charismatic and effective puppetswhich maintain the cartoon sense of humor without requiring animated techniques.
‘The seal of Satan’: social decadence and black magic
Thus, ‘The seal of Satan’ is capable of casting a unique spell. A pure detective film, intriguing and capable of looking at the world with horror, even though he disguises it with creatures from other worlds and with black magic. Despite these fantastic elements, he maintains that critical spirit after the war, the decline of society and other elements to make a formidable noir film.
It manages to have that tone and, at the same time, make a funny, efficiently paced movie and good levels both in displaying action and taking out notable performances. An estimable and underrated film that shows all the versatility that a genre like noir has, which would be twisted even more with ‘Naked Lunch’ by David Cronenberg. A unique and magical film, which will give you a sea of entertainment.