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Santa sangre (1989)

NC-17 | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 27 June 1990 (USA)
A former circus artist escapes from a mental hospital to rejoin his armless mother - the leader of a strange religious cult - and is forced to enact brutal murders in her name as he becomes "her arms".


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sabrina Dennison ...
Teo Jodorowsky ...
Mary Aranza ...
Fat Prostitute (as Ma. De Jesus Aranzabal)
Jesús Juárez ...
Aladin (as Jesus Juarez)
Gloriella ...
Rubi (as Gloria Contreras)
S. Rodriguez ...
Zonia Rangel Mora ...
Joaquín García Vargas ...
Box-office Attendant (as Borolas)


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 armless mother. Against his will, he "becomes her arms" and the two undertake a grisly campaign of murder and revenge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Santa Sangre  »


Box Office


$787,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. 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 »


[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.
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 »


Featured in La constellation Jodorowsky (1994) See more »


Composed by Enrique Mora
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User Reviews

a masterpiece, indeed
13 December 1999 | by See all my reviews

This is a startling work, a truly artistic masterpiece, which did achieve some mainstream recognition for Jodorowoski but not what the film deserved. Filled with unsettling images, grotesque displays of violence and sexuality, and subtle but comic references, Santa Sangre is Jodorowoski's most coherent work. It is also a thoroughly artistic work, with a greater emphasis on representation than drama or morality. If you have not seen this movie, rent it. You will not soon forget it whatever your final evaluation might be. Too bad its not available on DVD (hint).

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