After the death of her parents, a young girl arrives at a convent and brings a sinister presence with her. Is it her enigmatic imaginary friend, Alucarda, who is to blame? Or is there a satanic force at work?
A 10 year old girl convinces a lonely classmate that she is a witch, forcing the child to become her assistant. Though their games are initially rather naive, they gradually take a nasty and violent turn.
Carlos Enrique Taboada
Ana Patricia Rojo,
Elsa María Gutiérrez,
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[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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Lord, if I worshipped you because I feared Hell, then let me burn in Hell. If I loved you only in promise of Heaven, then exclude me from it. But if I loved you for yourself, then I am your daughter. Your daughter, Lord. Don't deny me your wonders.
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There's a bit of unintended notoriety connected with the title of this film. You have to see the 1996 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez writer-director collaboration From Dusk Til Dawn, an un-P.C. film if ever there was one, to get it. The movie's characters have set up shop at a trucker's and biker's bar, the Titty Twister, to cool their heels. The M.C. announces a new entertainer for the stage, a woman named Santanico Pandemonium. The voluptuous actress Salma Hayek steps out draped with a huge snake and little else, and proceeds to rock her hips to the delight of every man who can see her. It's a stunning moment toward the middle of a not very striking flick.
Satanico Pandemonium isn't only exploitation; it belongs to a genre called "nunsploitation." The place is Spain and the time is most likely pre-1834. Sister Maria (Cecilia Pezet) is a devoted nun who finds herself visited by visions of Satan, or Luzbel. The devil appears as a man to Sister Maria, and using obvious Biblical symbolism, tends to carry a bitten-into apple. Sister Maria is startled and horrified by the series of temptations that happen to her via the film's faulty special effects. As another user has pointed out, this is an obsession scenario by an external devil.
One important observation should be stated. The actress playing Sister Maria is very beautiful with warm, bedroom eyes, and many of us (meaning men) wouldn't mind watching her getting robbed of her virtue - as well as tormented by particular sins. But what happens is with a little influence from Beelzebub, Sister Maria soon indulges in lesbianism, child seduction and heresy. The film has a church-like quality to the way it moves slowly and harps upon moments of less-than-dramatic value, and with its fantastic logic, Sister Maria turns into hell in a headdress. One scene in particular is actually quite disturbing, with Sister Maria covering her naked, bloody body with her uniform.
The flick isn't entirely baldfaced exploitation though, and has interesting questions about faith in its dialogue. That aside, the flick's appeal seems rather obvious. In life, most of us want what we cannot have, and the fantasy of despoiling such a person (i.e., a nun) can be very powerful. Satanico Pandemonium uses its subject matter effectively, and despite an unsatisfying story resolution, it packs quite a wallop.
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