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Santa Sangre (1989)
"Santa sangre" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  27 June 1990 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 11,377 users  
Reviews: 83 user | 101 critic

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 »

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(story), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Axel Jodorowsky ...
Fenix
...
Concha
Guy Stockwell ...
Orgo
Thelma Tixou ...
The Tattooed Woman
Sabrina Dennison ...
Alma
Adan Jodorowsky ...
Young Fenix
Faviola Elenka Tapia ...
Young Alma
Teo Jodorowsky ...
Pimp
Mary Aranza ...
Fat Prostitute (as Ma. De Jesus Aranzabal)
Jesús Juárez ...
Aladin (as Jesus Juarez)
...
Monsignor
Gloriella ...
Rubi (as Gloria Contreras)
S. Rodriguez ...
The Saint
Zonia Rangel Mora ...
Trini
Joaquín García Vargas ...
Box-office Attendant (as Borolas)
Edit

Storyline

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 <martyc@vt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for several scenes of extremely explicit violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heilig bloed  »

Box Office

Budget:

$787,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Fenix crouches naked atop a tree trunk in his barren asylum room]
Doctor: [enters along with orderlies pushing a food cart] Fenix. Please...
[offers him a normal meal]
Doctor: Eat like a human being.
[pause]
Doctor: [puts the tray back down and offers him a raw fish]
Fenix: [howls]
[jumps down and grabs the fish]
Fenix: Grr!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

[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 »

Connections

References El pequeño Robin Hood (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Alejandra
Composed by Enrique Mora
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unforgettable, but not for everyone
1 October 2003 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

There's so much you can say about this work. Vivid characters, colours, and situations that practically leap off the screen into the theatre next to you. A wonderfully quirky, repeatedly startling story. Graceful low-key cinematography that turns slums and sideshows into an eerily beautiful netherworld, countless images that look like you could freeze them and hang them as inspirational totems for cults we have to hope don't exist. Jodorowsky paints with a heavy, vibrant brush, but it's the perfect tone for this primal-yet-humanizing tale.

But I should post a warning. As far as I'm concerned, my first viewing of this film was one of the more worthwhile two hours or so I've ever spent in a theatre, and I think based on my experience that this sadly neglected wonder deserves every bit of word-of-mouth promotion it can get. But I'm betting it's not to everyone's taste.

So this is my advice: if you found Storaro's green and red/jungle foliage and human remains canvasses in Apocalypse Now unsettlingly beautiful the first time you saw them, and wondered momentarily whether still prints were available for hanging before realizing what you were actually suggesting to yourself, here's a film for you. If you found Delicatessan's celebration of the paradoxical beauty hiding in human ugliness and stupidity a bit too sanitized for your taste, Santa Sangre's rather murkier depths await. You will love this work.

If, on the other hand, you have no taste for painters who work best in human blood as opposed to oils, and/or don't appreciate a bloody carnality mixed in with your religious metaphor, you will quite probably hate it with a passion that exceeds my affection. And I don't really blame you or judge you for walking out early. It takes all kinds.

Either way, fondly or with revulsion, you will remember it vividly, ten years later. I can say this confidently, as that's how long it was from the first time I saw this film to the day I wrote this review. Don't say I didn't warn you.


39 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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