Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Alucarda (Juan López Moctezuma, 1977)

In an abandoned monastery, a young girl gives birth to a daughter; after she allows a witch to whisk her away to a nearby convent, evil forces close in on the woman. 16 years later, innocent Justine arrives at the convent after her parents pass away. She befriends Alucarda, the baby girl from the prologue, all grown up, dressed in black, and a bizarre creature indeed. The two girls encounter a hunchback who introduces them to Satan worship, and after Alucarda unleashes the spirits which killed her mother, the forces possess the two girls, resulting in some of the most outrageous horror setpieces you'll ever see!

Juan López Moctezuma, a collaborator of Jodorowsky (who claims Moctezuma stole money from him to make his films!) and one of the creators of the infamous Panic Theatre, has created a minor masterpiece with ALUCARDA. Those who associate Mexican Horror with Santo monster pics are in for a rude awakening. But the film is still just as wild as those films and then some! As Michael Weldon points out in his review for the film in Psychotronic, you'd be hard-pressed to find a horror film with more screaming. There are bloodier horror flicks and of course those with more nudity, but ALUCARDA is so jam-packed with both that even the most jaded fan will be rubbing his eyes in disbelief! Satanic rituals, coffins filled with blood, sadomasochistic flagellation amongst priests and nuns, nasty decapitations, and a fiery finale complete with Satanic scripture and multiple instances of spontaneous combustion that must have influenced DePalma's CARRIE, this flick is simply never boring! Some viewers have found fault with the script not deciding who the villains are, the church or the girls, but this adds a schizophrenic element to an already delirious viewing experience! The cast varies from superb to over-the-top, but most turn in admirable performances. Tina Romero in particular creates a very memorable character in Alucarda, and Susanna Kimini is an acceptable Justine. Claudio Brook (also in Moctezuma's MANSION OF MADNESS and the awful THE BEES!) in a dual role as the hunchback and as Dr. Oszek, the man of reason, and Tina French as the overly protective Sister Angelica are both quite good. --dvd drive-in