The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)
User ReviewsReview this title
Unlike most lesbian vampire films, this one actually has a point beyond the obvious lesbian vampire theme. The theme is a battle between the sexes; with the husband and seductive lesbian vampire battling it out for control over his wife. This theme is laden with various images and symbols that help to portray it. Compared to other genre entries - both classy and trashy ones - this one doesn't have a great deal of blood or naked women, which is a shame - although director Vicente Aranda does give us a couple of excellent death scenes - both of which involve the sexy Maribel Martín wielding a knife. The Blood Splattered Bride seems to be a film of two halves - with most of the exciting stuff coming in the second half. This is not a problem, however, as the two sides of the film join together well and while this is not quite a classic; I'm sure that most people who bother to track it down won't be disappointed. The final fifteen minutes are excellently executed and bring good closure to a lovely slice of lesbian vampire cinema. Recommended viewing!
Susan notes that there are only paintings of his male ancestors and none of their wives and she learns that the pictures are kept in the basement. When she sees the painting of Mircalla Karstein (Alexranda Bastedo) without her face, her husband tells that Mircalla killed her husband in the honeymoon. During the night, Susan has dreadful nightmares with Mircalla.
When Susan's husband finds a naked woman buried on the beach, he brings her home and finds that her name is Carmilla. Susan is seduced by the woman and they have a lesbian relationship. Meanwhile her husband realizes that his life is in danger and Carmilla is a vampire.
"La Novia Ensangrentada", a.k.a. "The Blood Spattered Bride", is an erotic and gore vampire film with an ambiguous story developed in a nightmarish atmosphere, but having a weak conclusion and lack of chemistry between Simón Andreu and Maribel Martín.
It is not totally clear that Mircalla Karstein is a vampire indeed and based on the news in the disappointing conclusion, the plot may be understood differently, with the disturbed and dysfunctional Susan meeting the deranged stranger and having sexual attraction and making lesbian love with her. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "A Noiva Ensanguentada" ("The Bloody Bride")
It's based on the classic novel Carmila by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and while I have not read that work, I get the impression that the themes of lesbianism and female sexuality have been tweaked a bit for this film. It has to do with a young virgin bride, Susan (Maribel Martin, who bears a striking resemblance to Catherine Zeta Jones!) living in the family home of her slightly older husband (Simon Andreu). Her husband is almost obbsessive about seeking sexual pleasure from his young bride, and she begins to grow repulsed by his overt sexual dominance. She is also growing fascinated by the family legend of Mircalla Karstein (Alexranda Bastedo), an infamous ancestral figure who killed her husband on their wedding night. Susan starts to have violent (and I mean REALLY violent!) nightmares about Mircala, and becomes convinced that her ghost is attempting to push Susan towards killing her husband.
The main "problem" with The Blood Spattered Bride is that the first half and the second half are quite different. The first half of the film is reminiscent of Hitchcock's Marnie and Polanski's Repulsion, the tale of a woman's sexual frigidity and its ensuing effect on her life and mental stability. The first half of the film is easily my favorite, for it manages to be probing AND erotic at the same time...not to mention extremely violent. Although The Blood Spattered Bride is not actually a "gore movie", some of Susan's sexual nightmares are among the most graphic sequences captured in cinema. They are also fascinating to watch, and there is something strangely sexy about the execution of these scenes...which is perhaps symbolic of Susan's sexual frustration and fear of insanity.
(MINOR SPOILERS in the next paragraph!)
The second half of the film involves the appearance of Carmila, a strange woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the woman of Susan's nightmares. I don't want to give too much away, but anyone with a familiarity of the film knows that it was one of the early films in the "lesbian vampire" subgenre, so you can probably guess where it's headed...
The second half of the film is probably more erotic and almost as violent as the first half, and it pushes the female sexuality exploration in a whole new direction. However, this is where the vampire aspect comes into play in a big way, and the film at times feels more like a Hammer film than it does Repulsion (which is the closest parallel for the first half).
(The next paragraph contains MAJOR SPOILERS as I disucss the ending of the film...please skip over this paragraph if you have not yet seen the film!)
Like many other people, I could not help but feel that the ending was a bit of letdown. It's not a bad ending by any means-it's definitely a major shocker-but it was also quite abrupt, and the final shot did not exactly fit the mold for the preceding film. However, looking back at the film after seeing David Lynch's Mullholland Drive....I almost wonder if perhaps the second half of the film was actually one of Susan's nightmares?? Since it was based on a classic novel, this might not have been the intent, but clearly it could work: the turning point in the film is her husband's discovery of Carmila on the beach, easily the film's weirdest and most surreal scene. And for the rest of the film, when the vampiric themes come into play (vampirism was only referenced in her dreams prior to this), the film is NOT told from Susan's point of view. In the beginning everything is seen through her eyes, while the second half is about her husband discovering her latent lesbianism and relationship with Carmila. As such, it could easily be interpreted as a nightmare about killing her husband and then being killed...hence the abrupt, seemingly misogynistic ending.
The Blood Spattered Bride is not a perfect film, but in my opinion, it is a great one. The performances are all wonderful (this is some of the best casting I have ever seen in a European horror film), and it's one of the rare EuroHorror films in which the performances are crucial to the effectiveness of the film. I don't think that interested viewers will find the film scary at all, but that's not a reason to avoid the film...as fans of EuroHorror know, there's more to a horror film than just being scared. And this film clearly exemplifies the use of a "horror" film to explore human psychology in a unique and thoroughly fascinating manner.
High praise goes to Anchor Bay Entertainment (as usual!!) for offering The Blood Spattered Bride on DVD in its uncut form, for the first time ever on home video. The DVD restores 20 minutes of footage previously cut from home video versions in the US (I have never seen the old video versions, but am told that the cut film is, understandably, quite awful). Furthermore, the DVD presents a goregous anamorphic widescreen print of the film that makes the experience all the more pleasing...you might want to think twice before purchasing a film as unusual as this one sight unseen, but I would highly recommend seeing the DVD incarnation of the film if at all possible.
My Grade: A-
Inspired by Le Fanu's story Carmila. Pretty much the same old story: a castle, a curse, Karsteins...but BSB is artfully told.
Mandatory viewing for fans of the genre.
A couple of things set Blood Spattered Bride apart from the garden variety T&A vampire flick.
One: The "vampire" experience in this film is tied to themes of virginity and rape - most other vampire flicks sort of hint at this but none that I can remember spell it out so clearly. Tons of Freudian stuff to unwrap in this film.
Second, the lesbian vampire motivation this film is fueled more by hatred for men (well...a couple of specific men at least...) than a hunger, a need for blood. The killing is revenge, the blood drinking is an aside. Very interesting. Especially unsettling is Mircala Karstein's rant to Susan about her husband violating her, spitting inside her. A genuinely creepy man-hating rant that would make Valerie Solanas proud.
Other than that the film does a good job of keeping the audience off balance by cleverly smudging the line between reality and Susan's fantasies/delusions. Kept me guessing until the end. Watch the movie yourself. I don't want to completely spoil the story. There is a lot of great Freudian stuff for all you English Majors out there.
BSB is a little long, but the plot is complex. After all is said and done the film actually makes sense (unlike many films in the genre). It would be great if someone remade this film - tightened the pacing a bit. BSB couldnt be made today today without probably softening the tone and cramming the film full of pointless cheesy CGI scenes.
A coven of man-hating, man-hunting, man slaughtering, psychotic lesbian vampires - plenty there for a movie - maybe shoot it in black and white? Make sure the chicks win this time around.
Susan notes that there are only paintings of his male ancestors and none of their wives and she learns that the pictures are kept in the basement. When she sees the painting of Mircalla Karstein (Alexranda Bastedo), a.k.a. Carmilla, without her face, her husband tells that Carmilla killed her husband in the honeymoon. During the night, Susan has dreadful nightmares with Carmilla.
When Susan's husband finds a naked woman buried on the beach, he brings her home and finds that she is Carmilla. Susan is seduced by the woman and they have a lesbian relationship. Meanwhile her husband realizes that his life is in danger and Carmilla is a vampire. "La Novia Ensangrentada", a.k.a. "The Blood Spattered Bride", is an erotic and gore vampire film with an ambiguous story developed in a nightmarish atmosphere, but having a weak conclusion.
The story is never clear that Mircalla Karstein is a vampire indeed and based on the news in the disappointing conclusion, the plot may be understood differently, with the disturbed and dysfunctional Susan meeting the deranged stranger and having sexual attraction and making lesbian love with her. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
I know this opinion might not be popular, but I was rather disappointed with this particular tale based on Carmilla. I didn't find it particularly erotic, although there is some nudity(Martin's gown and bra are ripped away by Andreu in both a rape fantasy, with him wearing a stocking over his head molesting her, and the real sexual confrontation which occurs with a much closer view of the event). The height of this film should be the budding sexual relationship between Carmilla and Susan, but this seems rather abandoned with director Vincente Aranda instead focusing more on bloodshed. The dagger stabbings are rather bloody and intense with Susan plunging the blade in multiple times with red going all over the place. The setting is of course atmospheric(..what is it about these European locales that adds so much to horror films?)and the particular season seems to be Autumn with Winter on the horizon. I have no problems with the "slow burn" approach and consider myself a patient movie viewer, but I have to admit to looking at my watch a few times..the film often crawls. I felt that the husband waits a bit too long to move into action, and why he allows Susan to fall under Carmilla's spell instead of leaving the estate or seeking proper guidance(..he obviously is wealthy and could probably get his wife the best psychiatry money could afford)bothered me. He sits idly by and lets Susan slowly sink deeper into the abyss, Carmilla's hypnotic grip tightening. I do believe others will rate this film much higher than me based on how nice it looks visually, but I found the story a bit padded and this should've been more erotic than it turns out to be. Most of Carmilla and Susan's love-making is hinted at through the dialogue of the doc than elaborated on screen. Aranda instead opts to show Carmilla biting her on the neck pulling away before they embrace in lesbian passion.
As the British Hammer Studios' great "The Vampire Lovers", which is the first part of Hammer's 'Karnstein' trilogy and one of the films that started the Lesbian Vampire trend, "The Blood Spattered Bride" is based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's brilliant Gothic novel "Carmilla". This film transfers the plot to the present day (1972); when a newlywed couple move into the huge mansion belonging to the husband (Simón Andreu), the young wife (Maribel Martín), who is somewhat frightened by her husband's sexual fantasies, soon becomes disturbed. When looking through family portraits in the cellars, the wife stumbles across a mysterious portrait of a woman, the face of whom was cut out of the painting. The painting says "Mircalla Karnstein"...
While "La Novia Ensangrentada" isn't the best adaptation of Sheridan LeFanu's novel ("The Vampire Lovers" is, no doubt), it is yet another very good film based on this classic of Gothic literature. Plot-wise, the film has some small holes; the narration is sometimes slow and then seems rushed again. These minor faults are easily made up for by the hauntingly beautiful imagery and wonderfully creepy atmosphere. The family mansion, which is set in a forest estate, makes a magnificent horror setting and the beauty and variety and of the colors of darkness in this film is amazing. "The Blood Spattered Bride" has a nice cast, with actors that should be known to Eurohorror fans. The husband is played by cult-actor Simón Andreu, who was the leading man in many Spanish and Italian Horror productions (including Luciano Ercoli's Gialli). The very beautiful but very young Maribel Martin (she was 17 at the time the film was shot) is great in the role of the wife and ravishing Alexandra Bastedo is wonderful in her mysterious and seductive role. Great praise also has to go to Maria-Rosa Rodriguez, another child actress who proves that children actually can be good actors. Rodriguez, who I estimate was about 13 when this film was made delivers a great performance and some genuine eeriness. Overall, "La Novia Ensangrentada" is a very good addition to the Lesbian Vampire sub-genre that should be seen by any Eurohorror fan who has seen the genre-masterpieces like "Les Lèvres Rouges" and "The Vampire Lovers". My rating of "La Novia Ensangrentada": 7.5/10
It's a creepy tale about lesbian vampire issue ; being plenty of thrills , chills , eerie events and lots of blood and gore ; including nudism in double version . Enjoyable version about the famous personage ¨Carmilla¨ with a good cast , brilliant cinematography , glamorous gowns , adequate production design , including evocative sights on palaces , beaches and rotten churches . Surrealist and fantastic images as as when the husband meets a naked woman buried on the beach, he brings her home and finds out that she is Carmilla , as well as the scary frames when Carmilla along with the bride kill their victims . This is based on Sheridan Le Fanu novel titled "Carmila" and on a story by Mathew Lewis , being written by the same director Vicente Aranda. Carmilla was born into the aristocratic Karnstein family in 17th-century Austria , she was originally called Countess Mircalla . Eerie as well as evocative musical score by Antonio Perez Olea . Colorful and luxurious cinematography by Fernando Arribas , being shot on location in Isla De La Toja, and Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain ; adding a decent set production by Juan Alberto Soler.
This known character from Sheridan Le Fanu novel "Carmila" has been adapted several times , such as : ¨Twins of Evil" directed by John Hough , ¨Lust for a Vampire¨ (1971) played by Yutte Stensgaard , ¨ Daughters of Darkness¨ by Harry Kumel , Love for a Vampire""The Vampire Lovers aka "To Love a Vampire" played by Ingrid Pitt as Mircalla Karnstein and "Alucarda" and recently Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009) , among others .
The motion picture was professionally directed in his particular style by veteran filmmaker Vicente Aranda . He directed a series of award-winning movies firmly establishing him as one of the best Spanish filmmakers . His usual film editor is own wife , Teresa Font . Vicente is an expert on literary adaptations ,as he has adapted four novels by Juan Marsé Canciones Amor en Lolita's Club (2007), El Amante Bilingüe (1993), Si Te Dicen Que Caí (1989) and La Muchacha De Las Bragas De Oro (1980). Vicente often shoots strong erotic scenes , being ¨jealousy¨, a customary issue in his films . Vicente has been working from the 60s with ¨Fata Morgana¨ , Las Crueles¨ , ¨Novia Ensangrentada¨ , ¨Clara es el Precio¨ , among others . His greatest successes were intense dramas with plenty of sex such as ¨Amantes¨, ¨Pasion Turca¨ , ¨Si Dicen Que Cai¨ , ¨Intruso¨ , ¨Tiempo De Silencio¨ , ¨Carmen¨ , along with a delinquency tale : ¨El Lute¨ I and II starred by Imanol Arias , his fetish actor along with Victoria Abril (They have worked together 12 times) and specially the historical story titled ¨Juana La Loca¨ also dealing with jealousy and ¨Amantes¨, easily the best of the numerous films of Aranda .
Despite the supernatural elements in the story other than in "Valerie" one is prone to take the ongoings in the film literally because of its mundane visual style and the relatively coherent plot that wouldn't obviously suggest a symbolic reading although if one takes things on face value here it would be a rather ridiculous and unintelligently written film, but if taken metaphorically, always with the theme in mind, it's just the opposite. There certainly are quite a few surreal touches, though, both movies also include a good share of vampirism as well as lesbianism although neither of them really is a vampire, a horror nor an erotic movie, at least they aren't predominantly any one of those things.
Another prevalent theme (especially as "Bride" reaches its conclusion) is that of the inspirational power of history as well as having a certain responsibility to act upon sacrifices other people made in the past, in this specific case especially in regards to feminism. Carmilla, the vampire with lesbian tendencies who becomes increasingly more real, is like a figure conjured up by the bride's fears and desires and that figure is a resurrection of a person that really existed within the fiction of the film, most likely materialized in idealized form to fit the bride's purposes.
Although I think the film is feminist in its intent it interestingly has no qualms to come off as misogynist at times (especially in the first half) when showing the often violent male oppression and sexual dominance since, unlike "Valerie" or 'Repulsion', it doesn't choose a point of view, it's (almost) as much the husband's film as it is hers. I think the sympathies are clearly with the bride (which makes the ending all the more refreshing) but thematically the husband's male psychology is almost as fleshed out as hers and his psychological torture can at times also be felt.
While I obviously think that thematically it's a great and intelligent movie it's certainly a minus that if taken literally the movie doesn't hold up well. Visually it's largely unremarkable although it does have its moment, especially one gory fantasy sequence in the middle section and the much talked about surreal beach sequence offer some notable visuals. The characterizations are coherent and believable but I wouldn't go as far as to call any of them well-developed. In one scene the movie's themes are actually blatantly spelled out with the characters reading out of psychology books that quote Plato and Jung. This being my first contact with Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla novel possibly helped my appreciation of the film, had I read the book or seen other films that were based on it things might look differently, but I haven't.
This Spanish production was written & directed by Vincente Aranda & I thought it was OK but a bit confused. The script is based on the novel Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu which I have not read so I cannot compare them. The plot is a bit of a mess in this one, lots of scenes come from nowhere & frankly go nowhere. There are some really strange scenes in it as well, the strangest of which has to be the bit when the guy finds Carmilla buried a few inches under the sand on a beach with just her fingers & snorkel sticking out of the ground. As he digs her up he discovers she has a pair of goggles on & nothing else as he pays close attention to unearthing her bare breasts. I'm sure she was grateful. Now, most of us in his place would find the whole situation somewhat odd but this guy just takes it in his stride & takes her home. There's all sorts of nonsense about the servants child & her putting the dagger in Susan's bed which she may or may not have but it's all very vague. I could go on like why does Susan fall under the spell of Carmilla so easily? Is it because she has been bitten & Carmilla is a Vampire? Well Carmilla is never shown with fangs, she quite happily walks around in the daylight & no mention of Vampires is ever made although she does sleep in a coffin, with Susan. Having said that I thought it was watchable in a strange sort of way.
Director Aranda does an OK job, the film is split between visually dull & extremely stylish. The scene set in a pigeon cage with the birds fluttering around is particularly cool although I can't get that bizarre beach scene out of my head. For some reason Susan's husband is never referred to by name during the film, not one person calls him by name, strange. There is some nudity & sex plus a rape in a dream, the gore was disappointing as a few stabbings is all we get. For the animal lovers out there there is a scene when a fox is snared in a trap in obvious distress which is then shot dead at almost point blank range.
Technically the film is alright, it's generally well made throughout. The acting seemed OK but it's pretty obvious that it was dubbed.
La Novia Ensangrentada is a strange film, it's something a bit different but at the same time I didn't exactly love it. Worth a watch if you like Euro horror but there are better films out there.
This dynamic vampire sleeper is inarguably the cream of the crop as far as the European horror of this era goes. Despite the film's oft-label of "Eurotrash", "The Blood Spattered Bride" is anything but—aesthetically, it does retain a grainy grindhouse edge to it, but the film's photography is overall lush and atmospheric, and the production values are high. Apt cinematography and a series of haunting visuals provide additional support to the film's ghoulish tone.
As many of have said, it's a film whose horror relies heavily on atmosphere, and it does a remarkable job doing it. The castle and its outlying surroundings are well-realized and legitimately eerie, lending the film a downbeat Gothic tone. A series of noteworthy sequences of bloodshed are present, and while the gore effects are elaborate and impressive, this is by no means an exploitation film. The plot hinges on unusually complex thematics and dances circles around lesbianism and misogyny, shaping itself into a double-edged dagger of early '70s feminist commentary. Considerable liberties are taken with the film's source material ("Carmilla" by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu), but it really is a masterful take on the story with appropriate tinges of the period.
I went into this film with the gaudy expectations I have of a Jess Franco picture, but was rewarded with something much darker and considerably more serious. "The Blood Spattered Bride" manages to take a hearty stab at classicism while juggling the postmodern social politics of marriage, virginity, and female sexuality. It's a lush and gorgeous film, and also a very dreamlike and complex one. Scraping the layer of social commentary off the top, what we have here beyond that is a surprisingly elegant vampire film that is rich in atmosphere and Gothic goings-on. Subtle but masterful performances bring the characters to life and provide another layer of legitimate interest. This is a wonderful, underrated film, and is a visual and intellectually stimulating piece of '70s Euro-horror. 9/10.
The gore here is not that abundant but still delivers expectations. Violence is not in high amounts but it's still good. The acting is above good. The husband, Susan, and "the bride" are characters to remember. The performances are pretty good. I don't know if I should feel guilty but I think that Carol was very, very hot. Her scenes wearing a short skirt were candy for the eye. I wonder if she was really 14.
Anyways, this is the kind of the movie that confuses the audience because of it's dream/fantasy sequences but it's almost until the end that you understand everything. I must admit that the first sequence (the one in the hotel) really confused me and I thought that the movie was going downhill. I'm glad I was wrong. The movie starts slow, abuses of dream sequences but pays off with it's visuals, acting, and the typical exploitation death scenes. The ending is good and solves the movie's events really easily. I didn't know that vampires die for good if you cut their hearts.
Watch this Spanish exploitation flick but don't expect too much on the entertainment factor. There are minimal shocking situations or gory death scenes but in exchange you get stunning visuals and good acting. The movie tries to be very complex but fails. Overall, this shouldn't be watched as pure entertainment for a Horror fan; you should watch this movie for it's technical values and plot. Don't expect a gore fest or long sex scenes involving vampires.
The sultry Maribel Martin stars as Susan, a virginal newlywed rather uncomfortable about her new married life. The hunky Simon Andreu plays her unnamed husband, who becomes worried when he thinks that Susan is imagining the presence of a mystery woman (the intoxicatingly sexy Alexandra Bastedo). Well, "Carmila" (Bastedo) does exist, and with a subtle intensity, she worms her way into Susans' life and encourages her to think beyond being "trapped" by this male presence.
In general, the performances are decent, with Martin making for a reasonably sympathetic figure. Andreu offers a stolid screen presence, never changing his facial expression very much. Dean Selmier is superb as a well-meaning doctor who naturally does not put much stock in superstition. Bastedo is very easy to watch, and Rosa M. Rodriguez does a respectable job as a precocious youngster.
There's a mild dose of delectable female nudity, as a viewer would come to expect from the genre, and the violence is extremely effective whenever it takes place. (The film is not wall-to-wall gore, but still manages to live up to its title.) And the music score composed by Antonio Perez Olea is appropriately haunting. Director / writer Vicente Aranda also adds an appreciable amount of surrealism when Carmila is discovered under the sand at a beach - this is quite a memorable scene.
Recommended for lovers of the genre, who should also enjoy similar entries such as "Vampyres" and "Daughters of Darkness".
Seven out of 10.
The plot involves a man (Simon Andreu) and his young bride (Maribel Martin), who are on a seaside honeymoon. The woman suffers from a kind of sexual hysteria where she hallucinates strange men coming out of the closet and raping her. Interestingly though, it is the man who first discovers the lesbian vampire (Alexandra Bastedo). In what is undoubtedly the most arresting image in the film he digs her up from the beach sand where she is buried (for some reason) wearing nothing but a snorkel mask! (And demonstrating the film's exploitative pedigree, he first uncovers her sizable breasts). Of course, it isn't long before the lesbianism starts in earnest. The film is marred somewhat by a very ham-handed ending, but one that is also quite a statement (perhaps unintentionally so) on the reactionary machismo of Spain in the late Franco era.
This movie has an interesting if somewhat obscure cast. Simon Andreu was in a number of Italian giallo thrillers with fellow Spaniard Nieves Navarro (aka Susan Scott) and her Italian director husband Luciano Ercoli. He would stage a kind of comeback years later with a supporting role in Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". The young and beautiful Maribel Martin was in three classic Spanish horror films in the late 60's/early 70's--"The House that Screamed", "A Bell from Hell", and this one--so it's both strange and regrettable that she completely disappeared soon after. British actress Alexandra Bastedo had a much longer career, going back at least to William Castle's "13 Frightened Girls" in 1963 and as far forward as Freddie Francis' "The Ghoul" in 1975. But she was almost always relegated to supporting roles, so it's good to see a lot more of her here (both in terms of the size of her role and the sparseness of her wardrobe).
The ending of the available prints seems rather truncated, perhaps suggesting censorship (although it's doubtful even this print ever played in Franco's Spain). It would be nice if someday another print would turn up with a smoother ending (and maybe a longer nude, lesbian clinch between Bastedo and Martin). Here's hoping anyway.