6.7/10
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La Maldicion de la Llorona (1963)

A young woman inherits a mansion, only to discover that it is haunted by witches and evil spirits.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Rosita Arenas ...
Amelia
Abel Salazar ...
Jaime
Rita Macedo ...
Selma
Carlos López Moctezuma ...
Juan
Enrique Lucero ...
Dr. Daniel Jaramillo
Mario Sevilla ...
Police Captain
...
Female Stagecoach Passenger (as Julissa del Llano)
Roy Fletcher
Arturo Corona
Armando Acosta ...
Laughing Stagecoach Passenger
Victorio Blanco ...
Bearded Peasant
Beatriz Bustamante ...
The Witch
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Storyline

They say the old woods are haunted. If anyone dares to go through them at night, they will be killed. At night you can hear the screams as if it is a woman crying. Could the one who is committing these horrible murders be the old woman crying in the night? Written by amscray

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Plot Keywords:

mansion | la llorona | witch | haunting | See All (4) »


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Release Date:

9 April 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Curse of the Crying Woman  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Edited into Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 9 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN (Rafael Baledon, 1961) ***
13 October 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

While not quite in the same league as THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (1958) or THE WITCH'S MIRROR (1960), this is yet another fine addition to the great - and largely unheralded - series of classic Mexican horror films. This was actually the fourth of at least five vintage films about the titular creature (in the last of these, she was even pitted against another Mexican legend - Santo the wrestler!): it would be great if the others were revived - no pun intended - as well somewhere along the line by Casanegra or whomever.

Again, the film positively drips with atmosphere and style (belying the miniscule budget on hand) - generally coming off as unmistakably Mexican but also borrowing freely from other horror titles, most notably Mario Bava's seminal BLACK Sunday (1960). As in THE WITCH'S MIRROR - which, incidentally, shared with this film its star Rosita Arenas, producer Abel Salazar (here he essayed the role of the male lead as well) and composer (the ubiquitous Gustavo Cesar Carrion) - weird mirror imagery plays an essential part in the narrative, as does witchcraft, for that matter. The scarred 'monster' of that film as well as THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M, then, is incarnated here not by one but three different figures - The Crying Woman herself, decomposed and awaiting re-animation; her disciple Rita Macedo's hulking and club-footed henchman; and Macedo's once-distinguished husband, whom she has kept locked up for years and who has consequently regressed to a subhuman, animal-like level. Also on hand is a trio of rather skinny-looking Great Danes, which are unleashed from time to time to attack unsuspecting villagers or intruding police officials.

Two of its most compelling sequences are those in which Macedo recounts to Arenas and Salazar (individually) the tale of the "Llorona"; the latter has little real purpose, but its depiction of the events is done through brief snippets of scenes (shown in negative) from other Salazar-produced horror films - I immediately noticed the only shot I'm familiar with up to this point, from THE WITCH'S MIRROR, but shots from THE BRAINIAC (1961; which is next in my Halloween horror marathon!) are included as well, as per the Commentary; besides, here we get an unexpected but effective display of sensuality - which is felt again when Arenas (already in the process of replacing the "Llorona") notices Salazar's bloodied hand. Among the film's indelible images are all the scenes in which the eyes of The Crying Woman's disciples turn completely black - an effect seen in the very first shot and which was later lifted by INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973); Macedo's bat-like swoop towards the camera and Arenas' hallucination (which is as expressionistic as they come, with the night sky being crammed with staring accusing eyes) are also worth mentioning and striking, too, is the distinctive make-up design for each of the 'monsters'.

The busy climax - in which Salazar and Carlos Lopez Moctezuma (the henchman) engage in a lengthy and energetic fist-fight, and the long-suffering husband Domingo Soler finally gets even with Macedo, as the hacienda collapses around them - is quite splendid. Also notable here is the lighting when the 'possessed' Arenas attempts to liberate the "Llorona" by removing a stake from her body (a scene which, unfortunately, is absurdly over-extended so as to allow the huge bell in the impressive bell-tower set at the top of the mansion - as important to this film as it was to Hitchcock's VERTIGO [1958] - to chime 12 times!). The film features a generous number of effective shock moments and some rather graphic violence for the time: the scene where a girl - played by Macedo's real-life daughter, billed as Julissa del Llano - is trampled by a carriage; one where the pitiful and half-crazed Soler is brutally whipped by the sadistic Moctezuma, until he retaliates (a scene which is heavily reminiscent of Dwight Frye's tormenting of Boris Karloff in James Whale's FRANKENSTEIN [1931]); and especially the dogs' vicious attack on the two constables (sections of which were reportedly trimmed for export versions).

Regrettably, the Audio Commentary for this release turned out to be a major disappointment: not only is there a great deal of dead air on this track, with Michael Liuzza (Casanegra's Vice President, no less!) allowing several of the best scenes to go without comment but, when he does speak, he mainly resorts to biographical details of the various personnel involved!!


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