Wednesday, March 16, 2005

ALUCARDA

Let’s kick this column off right, shall we, with the Mondo Macabro U.S. release of ALUCARDA (1975), a Mexican horror film by director Juan L√≥pez Moctezuma. I’m not well-versed in South-of-the-border genre efforts (beyond a Santo film or two), so I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. Turns out it’s a pretty cool movie.

When a young woman named Justine (Susana Kamini) is brought to a convent orphanage after her parents death, she meets her new roommate, the dark-haired beauty Alucarda (Tina Romero). Alucarda will remind you of that Goth chick you went to school with – the oddly attractive one with the pale skin, black clothes and morbid personality… who just might have been the daughter of the Prince of Darkness. You remember.

Anyway, before long, the girls develop an unnaturally – in fact, supernaturally – strong bond, and after a meeting with gypsies, make a blood pact with Satan. Needless to say, things get a little nuts from there.

Full of haunting, disturbing imagery, with nods to horror classics from Stoker to DeSade, ALUCARDA is a mind-trip of the first order.

Mondo Macbro’s DVD is a fine, full-frame transfer (which is probably the original aspect ratio). The print shows some age-related wear and tear, but for a 30-year-old Mexican exploitation flick, it’s more than acceptable. There’s a clear stereo English language dub and a mono Spanish audio track. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles, so I had to watch the English version. The sound is clear, though, with no noticeable deterioration – you’ll hear every scream (and there’s a lot of screaming in this flick) clear as a bell.

Along with the quality transfer, the MM folks have included a wide variety of extra features, including a great, informative documentary about ALUCARDA’s director, Juan Moctezuma, a text interview with Moctezuma from 1977, the original ALUCARDA theatrical trailer and a still gallery. A particularly nice feature is a brief video interview with HELLBOY director Guillermo del Toro who speaks about Mexican horror cinema and Moctezuma’s impact on both the genre and on del Toro’s own efforts as a genre director.

BUY: Alucarda