Monday, April 25, 2011

Alucarda (Juan L. Moctezuma, 1978)

Hey, neighbour, what's up? You just heard a loud, thoroughly unpleasant screeching sound emitting from my basement? Are you sure? Yeah, wow, um, I'm sorry about that, my sexy girlfriend, Alucarda, likes to go down there to scream incoherently and hurl her no-nonsense body (her lower back is tramp stamp-free) around like it were a demented rag doll. Why? Aren't we nosy. Well, it usually happens whenever I refuse to partake in her nightly blood rituals. I've told her, straight up, that I'm not into killing farm animals, and that I'm averse to running through the park at night in nothing but a giant goat head (not only are they heavy and difficult to breath in, they make my ankles look fat), but she won't listen to me. We've tried to comprise: Blood rituals every Tuesday, Thursday, and on weekends (I'll be the first to admit, a Saturday night without a ritual killing is depressing), while Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the days we set aside for dispassionate, heterosexual intercourse (and, get this, if I do well, thrusting-wise, I'm allowed to brush her hair afterwards). But, I have to admit, it can be a tad exhausting at times (have you ever tried to remove blood stains from tighty-whities?). Stepping back into the world of "reality" (reality is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes) for a second, how awesome would it be if Alucarda from Alucarda was really your girlfriend? I'll tell you how awesome, if there was a chart that measured such things, it would be off it by a million miles. Anyway, back to the inner workings of our complex relationship. Even though spending countless nights out in the woods cavorting naked with her equally naked friends would inevitably get old after a while, the prospect of not be able to stare deeply into Alucarda's dark brown eyes after I've finished penetrating her pristine pussy makes my heart hurt. In other words, it's a (no pun intended) sacrifice I'm totally willing to make.

You could call it, "Bend It Like Beelzebub" or "Revenge of the Blood-Stained Sisterhood of the Nonexistent Pants," well, whatever you want to call it, that unnerving sensation you feel as you watch Alucarda (a.k.a. Sisters of Satan), Juan L. Moctezuma's gothic chiller about two possessed chicks living at a convent/orphanage in the 1860s, is hard to shake. Drenched in blood, filled with creepy religious imagery, boasting a veritable bevy of strangely dressed nuns (they wear outfits that look like Karen Finley's uterine wall smeared with Pepto-Bismol), and containing enough painful wailing to wake up someone who is in one of those long ass comas you read about in the wildly unpopular magazine, Coma Victim Weekly, the film has characters yelling things like, "The Devil!" and "Blasphemy!" But it's not campy at all. Oh, sure, it could have been–quite easily, in fact–yet the film takes itself and its subject matter very seriously.

The level artistry involved is evident early on, as we're introduced to Justine (Susana Kamini), a recently orphaned young girl with brunette hair. The world of Alucarda is hyper-colourful and replete with forbidden sensuality (outdoor orgies are always fraught with prickly complications). Sent to a convent to, I guess, live with bunch of nuns, Justine soon enters the realm of secrets. The realm of what? The realm of secrets, which is ruled by, you guessed it, a girl named Alucarda (Tina Romero), who just happens to be Justine's gorgeous, death-obsessed roommate. I loved the way the Alucarda character is introduced, in that, she kinda just pops out of nowhere (she emerges from the wall of their modest room). The two quickly become friends, and Alucarda shows Justine the aforementioned realm, which is basically the natural world. You see, the nuns, they frown upon activities that don't centre around praying (nuns are a real buzzkill), whereas, Alucarda, she's into collecting bugs, minerals, and paling around with hunchbacked forest dwellers who sell trinkets on the side of the road.

While a large portion of my mind was wondering what kind of frilly delights lay underneath those bulky, Victorian-style dresses Alucarda and Justine were always wearing, the part that wasn't thinking about that was rather impressed with the crisp greenery on display as the two girls frolicked.

Their meeting with the bushy-browed Roma hunchback (Claudio Brook) in the woods must have set off a spark, because later that evening, he shows up to help referee a late night blood ritual. Naked and armed with a knife (Alucarda contorts her body in a manner that accentuates the jet black temperament of her temple of ample minge), the two girls, kneeling in front of one another as it rains blood outside, cut each other–with some assistance from the bushy-browed Roma hunchback–in the chest region, and end up drinking a smallish amount of each other's blood.

I'm no expert when it comes to blood rituals, but I think the two girls have made a pact with Satan (a.k.a. "the accuser"). Now, why do think I it was Satan, you ask? Duh, I saw a guy wearing a goat head as a mask (at one point, we're whisked away to a clothes optional Roma hootenanny in the woods where animal heads are worn as accessories ). And, if I've learned anything watching horror movies over the years, it's that goats and Satan go together like, owls and hooting, or anal fissures and amateur fisting.

Truth be told, I knew something esoteric was about to go down the moment I saw that the wall overlooking Alucarda and Justine's beds was adorned with those ubiquitous symbols that are shaped like lower case 't's. Well, it turns out the 't'-shaped do-dads have nothing to do with the 20th letter in the alphabet, they're actually crosses, sometimes called "crucifixes," and they represent the suffering endured by the lord and saviour of the nuns who run the convent/orphanage. They worship a man named Jesus Christ, a teacher and prophet born in Bethlehem, and don't take kindly to folks, whether they be bushy-browed Roma hunchbacks or brunettes who love to frolic, who appear to contradict their warped interpretation of their saviour's teachings (from what I've read, this Jesus fella was proactive when it came to spreading benevolence and goodwill throughout the known universe, whereas the nuns come off as a bunch of brainless twits whose heads are impossibly hard to chop off).

Anyway, back to the crucifixes, a friend of mine's house growing up was literally covered with them, and I always felt ill at ease whenever I went over there. One day, while sitting quietly in his kitchen, I couldn't help but feel that one of his Jesus portraits (a giant mural overlooking their breakfast nook) was watching my every move (it didn't help that his eyes seemed to glow in the dark). It kind of reminded me of the way Alucarda stares during Alucarda, a film that takes its staring seriously. Her constant creepy gaze was definitely my favourite aspect of the movie. Actually, I shouldn't call my imaginary girlfriend's gaze "creepy" (it's a surefire way to get your imaginary penis unloved). No, I'd say, the best way to describe her gaze would be have to be "hypnotic" (yeah, that's better). You feel as if you're slowly being put under her spell the longer you peer into her eyes. Be careful, though, you could burst into flames if you stare too long.

"And this is what the devil does" and with those words, plus, "Satan! Satan! Satan!" Justine and Alucarda are accused of being in the league with the devil. Their "strange and blasphemous behaviour" is taken seriously by the nuns ("you liars, repent!") and a bigwig named Father Lázaro (David Silva), and they soon find themselves in front a wall of crucifixes (each affixed with a likeness of their beloved saviour) and surrounded by a handful shadowy men wearing cloaks. The humourless staff of the convent/orphanage, hoping to avoid what happened in the 1500s (something about super-human nuns barking like dogs), go a tad overboard in their attempt to deliver the girls from evil. This flagrant disregard of the girl's rights (I had no idea promoting Satan in a convent was such a no-no) brings Dr. Oszek (Claudio Brook), a man of science and a skeptic when it comes to things like the devil, into the chaotic mix.

Grabbing Alucarda from their sinister clutches, the sensible doctor brings the traumatized brunette to his home to recuperate. Called back to the convent/orphanage to assist the sisters with nun problems, her lets Alucarda pal around with her blind and equally brunette daughter, Daniela (Lili Garza), while he's away. Of course, some might think leaving your daughter, blind or otherwise, all alone with Alucarda is a big mistake; after all, that priestly, self-flagellation enthusiast in the robe seemed pretty sure she was down with all things wicked. However, I don't see it that way. In my mind, Alucarda was the only sane character in the entire movie, and I'm not just saying that because I'm one of her minions. Unafraid when it comes to challenging authority and possessing a keen interest in the natural world (one that must have seemed alien in the 19th century), Alucarda is a free spirit in a universe that is stagnate and primitive.

All hail Alucarda! She is my lord and master. Bow down before thee, or feel the wrath of her fiery death stare.

When I first saw Susana Kamini appear onscreen as Justine, I thought to myself: She's an attractive young woman with sensible nostrils; I look forward to spending the next seventy or so minutes watching her do stuff (third act naked neck biting, anyone?). However, when Tina Romero and her harmonious eyebrows show up as Alucarda ("Hello. I'm Alucarda."), I was like: Yes! Now this is what I'm talking about. A flawless example of humanity if I ever saw one, Tina's overt loveliness will consume the souls of all those who are dare to be "with it." Hell, even the part in her hair was perfect (you could probably drive trucks up and down her part and still have room to spare for bike lanes). Giving a fully unhinged performance–the kind I cherish most, Tina, her dark brown hair with chestnut highlights shimmering in the moonlight, chants pro-Satan verbiage, throws demonic fits, employs a number of scowl-based head tilts, and thrusts her fleecy girl box like a seasoned professional. Oh, and just to let you know, Alucarda and I will be getting married in October. Don't tell her this, but the fact that can set me on fire at any given moment simply by looking in my general direction is driving me wild with masochistic anticipation.

It should be noted that everything I know about spirituality comes from listening to My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult records as a teen, and, of course, watching Jeopardy! (yeah, that's right, Alex, I'll take "The Bible" for 2,000) Sure, lot's of industrial bands ("Welcome To Paradise") and various techno tracks ("I Don't Need God...all I need is an amoeba!") have used samples that feature evangelical preachers over the years, as their dramatic line delivery is well-suited for electronic dance music, but MLWTTKK seemed to take it to a whole nother level of off-kilter godliness.

video uploaded by tonyheff



  1. An awesome review of an awesome movie. Dang, I love Alucarda.

  2. I'm a preacher's kid believe it or not, and I thought Alucarda seemed like a precautionary religous scare fable straight out of the middle ages with some gratuitous nudity thrown in. Oh, you might find this interesting: take the a off the end of the title character's name and read it backwards, and look at the name on the coffin the two girls open when they're playing in the crypt.

  3. @David: I hear that.

    @Richard of DM: Thanks.

    @Nine-Fingered Menace: Oh, yeah, it's "Dracula"! Good catch, man. I would never have noticed that -- you know, with me transfixed by the part in Alucarda's hair and all.