Category: Movie Reviews
Written by SuperNova
Published on Friday, 18 July 2003 00:00
Alucarda DVD Review
Written by SuperNova
DVD released by Mondo Macabro
Directed by Juan Lopez Moctezuma
Written by Alexis Arroyo (story), Sheridan Le Fanu (novella) and Juan López Moctezuma (screenplay)
1978, R1, 74 minutes, Rated R
Claudio Brook as Dr. Oszek/Hunchbacked Gypsy
Tina Romero as Alucarda/Alucarda's Mother
Susana Kamini as Justine
David Silva as Father Lázaro
“More blood, loud screaming and nudity than any horror film I can think of” was the intriguing quote that had been placed at the bottom of Mondo Macabro’s latest DVD release, Alucarda. A title that would have sounded familiar had it been spelled backwards and the extra “A” removed, (Dracula). This is my first review, so sit back and enjoy.
Alucarda opens with a woman (Tina Romero) giving birth to a child. Afraid for the child’s life, she asks a gypsy to protect her baby. We jump forward fifteen years and meet Justine (Susana Kamini), a teenage girl who's parents recent death leads her to join a convent. Once there she meets Alucarda (Tina Romero again) a mysterious young girl who seems to not fit in with the rest of the nuns. The two become very close friends in a short amount of time, and one day, while frolicking in the woods together, they come upon a gypsy (Claudio Brook).
The gypsy leads the two to his encampment, where he foresees a dream that upsets Alucarda. The two run off before arriving at a place that seems to remind Alucarda of her past. Inside, Alucarda commits her love to Justine by opening a coffin, which coincidentally unleashes an evil spirit.
After they return to the convent Alucarda finds herself possessed. She tells Justine they must make a pact and seal it with their blood. No sooner does the gypsy arrive, and the two are stripped naked, their breast cut into, and their blood exchanged. The film switches back and forth from a ritualistic orgy to sister Angelica who advocates by using a psychic ability to bring the girls back.
Doctor Oszek (Claudio Brook again) arrives to examine the girls and determines they are sick, but the Convent thinks otherwise and decides to perform an exorcism. The two are brought down stairs and tied to a cross, where they strip Justine of her clothes. Alucarda painfully watches on as Justine is pierced repeatedly with a needle until she dies. The exorcism is broken up by Dr. Oszek, who dismisses the act that the convent is performing and believes that there is no such thing as the supernatural. Before long Justine rises from her coffin and attacks sister Angelica. But that isn’t the last of their worries, Alucarda has returned to the convent to seek revenge on the wrongful killing of Justine.
Alucarda is, by all means, not an easy film to explain, especially for a first time reviewer like myself. I wasn’t for sure what to make of it when I first saw it, I just considered it to be a weird film, but upon further inspection I slowly understood the things I missed on my first viewing. The film is visually stunning, and quite amazing to watch. The set, which mostly consisted of the convent, had been constructed to look like it was inside of a cave, it added drastically to the overall atmosphere and the feel of the film. What I found to be quite interesting was the nuns outfits, which resembled mummified corpses, nothing that you’d associate with holy. On the lighter side, the dialogue is sometimes humorous and the acting is par at best. Alucarda succeeds, though, because it’s more then an average nunsploitation film, taking the basic elements of sex and blood, and adding keen visuals, chilling sounds, and disturbing moments that get under your skin to make it an overall must own for any fan of the genre.
Video and Audio:
The film is presented here in Full Frame, the way it was intended to be, digitally transferred from the original negative. I was impressed by how well the film looked, although some white specks and blotches appear throughout the film, they are minor and do not distract you from your overall viewing experience.
The English stereo track is a great improvement over the mono. The hisses and pops have been greatly reduced, leaving dialogue to appear more clear and easier to understand.
- An interview with Guillermo Del Toro
- Original trailer and still gallery
- Documentary on film’s director
- Text interview with film’s director
The interview with Blade 2 director, Guillermo Del Toro, is quite short, but I was impressed by how much he knew about Moctezuma’s work in the genre. The documentary entitled “Juan Lopez Moctezuma - A Culturla Maverick.” features clips from some of his earlier films, and adds insight on Alucarda and Moctezuma’s relationship to Jodorowsky and Arrabel and the Panic Movement that they created together. The stills are very few, but still enough to satisfy. The original theatrical trailer is presented here in its native Spanish language, and the disc ends with a great in-depth text interview conducted by J. P. Bouyoux and Gilbert Verschooten.
||– Both a guilty pleasure and a skilled work of transgression, this “nunsploitation” from Mexico blends artful visuals with pure sleaze.
||– Digitally transferred from the original negative, it’s stunning, to say the least.
||– The stereo option is a wonderful improvement.
||– I was very happy with the supplements.
||– Mondo Macabro has done a terrific job with this, possibly the best this film has ever looked.
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