La novia ensangrentada Film Details
Overview: Newlywed Susan is haunted by visions of Mircalla Karnstein, a centuries-old bride who murdered her husband on their wedding night.
Tagline: Till death do us part!
Review: ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** When I first watched The Blood Spattered Bride nearly a year ago, I was truly wowed. The film was powerful, violent, symbolic, and, in its own bizarre and often twisted fashion, extremely erotic. 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-
Duration: 82 min
Also known as: La mariée sanglante,La novia ensangrentada,Den blodbesudlade bruden,Tromos sti villa tis anomalias,Till Death Do Us Part,Un abito da sposa macchiato di sangue,A Ensaguentada Noiva de Drácula,The Blood Spattered Bride,Bloody Fiancée,Verentahrima morsian,A Noiva Ensanguentada,Кровавая невеста,Blood Castle,鮮血の花嫁