The Blood Splattered Bride

Dir: Vincente Aranda, 1972. Starring: Simon Andreu, Maribel Martin, Alexandra Bastedo. Horror.
The Blood Splattered Bride

Feminist theory and the Sexual Revolution explode on screen for this fleshy and colorful vampire tale. It bends the rules quite a bit by allowing for vampires who roam around in daylight, as well as having a female lead and another who plays the vampire in erotic pursuit.

Susan (Maribel Marti­n) and her husband (Simon Andreu) are two newlyweds who decide to skip a hotel and take their honeymoon at his family's estate. Susan quickly becomes an admirer of his home and family until she realizes their attitude toward women. After noticing that the walls containing portraits of his ancestors only have paintings of men, she discovers that all the ones of the women in the family are hidden in the cellar. One in particular sparks her interest—the portrait of Mircalla Kerstein, a young bride with a blood-stained pearl dagger and a missing face, who murdered her husband on their wedding night, claiming that he requested she do despicable things.

Susan begins having nightmares that enter her reality, causing her to question and feel differently about her husband, who is part bully and part trigger-happy jerk. By tuning into her dreams and looking deeper into her relationship, it soon becomes apparent to her that his only interest is what he is able to do with her in bed. Thus Susan puts a stop to all physical contact between them and starts to turn into a stranger.

While outcasted for her behavior and hysterical fits, her husband finds a woman in distress named Carmilla (Alexandra Bastedo) and brings her to their home for dinner and rest. This new stranger resembles the bride from Susan's dreams, and within days she finds herself hopelessly drawn to her. But trouble arises as a gruesome battle of the sexes unfolds and their love triangle turns fatal.

This movie reminds me of so many wonderful characters and stories within cinema. The husband's character reminds me of the creep husband from Rosemary's Baby, only much worse, and the vampire bride reminds me of the elegant, but lethal leading ladies in various Japanese ghost stories and some martial arts films—especially because she uses a dagger more than her chops, which are more for eroticism than anything else. The aesthetics make the symbolism and vibe a bit more universal, which might account for the film's success. Apparently this is a Spanish film that was shot with the actors speaking English, and later dubbed for clarity. I'm not sure how they pulled it off, but I couldn't tell at all, and the dubbing was excellent, possibly because the actors were already trying to speak English.

The dialogue, once again a personal favorite because it's from the '70s, is rich with awesome taglines and feminist chants. The editing, while a bit out-of-sync with the music, is well-done and actually helps tell the story and add comedy—an artistic editing language that has almost disintegrated in the new "grammar of cinema." This weekend was Vampire-con at the New Beverly Cinema, and I certainly had my fill of the undead. But this movie stands out amongst them all and is truly a cult classic. I walked away without a single disappointment—only a thirst for some more movies that have chicks out for revenge…who just so happen to be vampires.

Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Jun 28, 2010 5:23pm
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