7.7/10
15,898
92 user 118 critic

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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(story), (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Fenix
... Concha
... Orgo
... The Tattooed Woman
... Alma
... Young Fenix
... 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)
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Storyline

A young man -- starving, nearly catatonic and barely responsive -- is confined in a sanitarium. He is taken on a field trip along with other residents to the city's red-light district. There, he encounters by chance a woman from his past, triggering a series of flashbacks. We see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers, and when he witnessed a murder/suicide: his father -- an American expatriate living in Mexico under suspicious circumstances -- cuts off the arms of his beloved mother, a possessive wife and religious fanatic who led a heretical church called "Santa Sangre (Holy Blood)," the members of which worshipped a martyred girl whose arms were severed by her father following her rape, and then commit suicide. Back in the present, buttressed by shock of his remembrance, he escapes the sanitarium and, in a series of hallucinations and dream-fulfillments, believes he has rejoined his armless mother. He "becomes her arms" and the "two" ... Written by Hallow Looyuh

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Santa Sangre  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$787,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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!
[...]
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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 »


Soundtracks

Dead March
from "Saul" (as "Marcha funebre")
By George Frideric Handel
Arranged by Luis Magaña
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User Reviews

 
You can't atone for your sins with nightmares.
2 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

It is fitting that the circus plays a prominent role in this film, as the entire film is a circus under Ringmaster Alejandro Jodorowsky.

It is a kaleidescope of color, and fanciful imagery. What is real and what is imaginary? That is your mission in watching this film.

Felix is crazy and the story is told in flashbacks. It is no surprise as his father committed suicide after being caught with the tattoo lady, and his mother had her arms cut off. But, did this really happen this way? He is in an insane asylum, after all.

The film is filled with psychological themes and surrealistic imagery with heavy influence of Federico Fellini and Luis Bunuel. The graveyard scene is fantastic! It is an original in a mass of copycats.


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