by Juan Miguel Martinez
Alejandro Jodorowsky shot “Santa Sangre” in Spanish using mexican actors and later dubbed over it in english. he said he wanted to give it a more off-putting effect in doing this, showing disembodied voices on people whom they didn’t match. “Alucarda” was shot in english, also using mexican actors, but actors that spoke english. This gives it an effect that adds to the eerieness of the movie, because the production looks purely 1970’s Mexico. There are fast zoom in’s on faces that growl and shriek, and it looks like the entire idea was born out of the discovery of a crypt that lay somewhere in a nondescript valley in the state of Mexico. The movie features 2 girls, Justine and Alucarda, who have entered the clergy to become nuns and one night participate in a twisted bacchanal, complete with a nymph with a goat’s head as the guest of honor. The girls take part in an orgy, and the creep who attended said bacchanal approaches them with an offer – be invincible through pledging their undying love for satan. The girls agree and cut each other’s breasts and drink each other’s blood, all while constantly screaming, as a blood rain pours outside their bedroom window. If this all sounds pretty tame by comparison to other horror films, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
This film was made by Juan Lopez Moctesuma in 1977, in Mexico, a country so deeply catholic that this film was considered an affront to decency and has long since been unattainable on home video. Mondo Macabro is a company that specializes in “the wild side of world cinema” and can be found on their website for $15. Moctesuma made a handful of other films, most about a person’s descent into hellish madness, but this one being the only one in the “Nunsploitation” genre. The rules of the genre are simple – nuns enroll in a convent and find themselves dedicating their service to the devil instead of christ, usually put under a spell by a minion. Sometime after the silver age of cinema, when dashing men like Pedro Infante had rode off into the sunset, before Chente took over with tearful musicals about rancho life, there was a limbo in mexican cinema. There were artsy, thoughtful films about tragedies and subculture and there were openly defiant horror films like this one. Alucarda’s strength lies in its sets and sound design, as well as the acting by Tina Romero, who completely steals the show as Alucarda. Fogs roll in over stone stairs adjacent to adobe churches, and there doesn’t seem to be any light beyond the town. Once her and Justine have professed their love for Satan, the convent is shocked and takes to flogging the two girls for their sins. This only angers them, as they have already made a blood pact with each other and the chamuco. They unleash a demonic force, burning priests and clergy members through demonic stares and snarls. The images are ones that stay with you. Justine emerges from a coffin where she floats in blood, and a giant effigy of christ burns viciously throughout the credits. It is a faceless figure, charred black before it is even ablaze.
You can bare witness to this film for yourself in its entirety for free HERE
Today’s musical accompaniment is Devil House by Shonen Knife
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