A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the ... See full summary »
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert where this film was shot. It was there that Jodorowsky underwent an unhappy and ... See full summary »
A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre ("Holy Blood"), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother. Against his will, he "becomes her arms" and the two undertake a grisly campaign of murder and revenge. Written by
Marty Cassady <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The project was launched when Alejandro Jodorowsky was commissioned to write and direct a film based on real-life Mexican criminal named Gregorio Cárdenas. See more »
When the elephant is dying, all the close-ups of its trunk bleeding show the trunk to be clean. All the long shots of the elephant show it's trunk covered in blood. See more »
[Fenix crouches naked atop a tree trunk in his barren asylum room]
[enters along with orderlies pushing a food cart]
[offers him a normal meal]
Eat like a human being.
[puts the tray back down and offers him a raw fish]
[jumps down and grabs the fish]
[...] See more »
[over the final freeze-frame] I stretch out my hands to thee: my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land ... Teach me the way I should go, for to thee I lift up my soul. - Psalms 143.6, 8 See more »
I remember seeing this movie in 1990 in a tiny cinema in London, on a date. As we walked from the theater and got on the tube, neither of us said a word for 20 minutes. Finally, she said, "you have a strange taste in films."
Back then, I was heavily into Luis Bunuel. This was one of the few post-Bunuel movies that embodied the essential creepiness and odd humor of the Surrealists (the other one that comes to mind is "Videodrome"). There's the obvious Freudian stuff, the obvious shock stuff, but leaving all that aside, there are indelible moments of cinematic poetry. The elephant; the son's arms; the final shot. It feels, more than 10 years later, like a repressed dream/nightmare.
I don't consider this a "horror" movie, in the sense that there are no slasher, monster, alien, demon, zombie, cannibal, haunted house, supernatural, dread disease, or giallo elements. I don't remember this movie being particularly scary or gory; just creepy. Maybe it's in a similar genre to "Eyes Without a Face," but only in the sense that both movies deal with mutilation and revenge. (Then again, I remember seeing "Un Chien Andalou" and "In the Realm of the Senses" in the horror section of a video store -- a sign of either ignorance or insight, I could never figure out.) This one truly belongs in the Foreign Films section, but not just for being non-Hollywood.
47 of 55 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?