Friday, July 22, 2011

The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)

A reasonable companion piece to Daughters of Darkness (Blue Underground apparently thinks so), The Blood Spattered Bride depicts a newly married couple in which the bride’s anxieties about sex connect well to a ghost who killed her own husband on their wedding night and who’d like our heroine to do the same. The struggle between the sexes reaches a fever pitch in this movie which was based on the same Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu story as Vertigo- there’s a lot more bloodshed in this one, however.

"Husband" (Simón Andreu) and Susan(Maribel Martín )have recently been married and already she’s having hallucinations about being raped (not five minutes into the movie!) when they decide to stay at the old family estate. He hopes this will calm her fears about losing her virginity and they do have sex; but she starts having vivid dreams about a beautiful woman, Cordelia, who wants her to kill her husband before he takes away her freedom. In one such dream, she stabs him repeatedly in the chest and finally in his exposed heart, finally being covered with blood.

It turns out, of course, that there was a beautiful woman who once stayed in the castle and, wouldn’t you know it, stabbed her hubby to death on their wedding night for asking her “to do shameful things”. As she is drawn into a relationship with the ghost, her contempt for her husband grows making it increasingly likely that he’ll have to put her down in the cold, cold ground, and increasingly unlikely that he’ll get any pussy.

Is it really possession by a ghost or is it her deep psychological fear of being sexually possessed by her husband that’s driving her to madness? The movie is great at keeping both possibilities in the air and even bringing in Carmilla in the flesh, found nude under the sand on a nearby beach, to cause more trouble for the unhappy couple. Like Daughters of Darkness, what makes this work so well is that it’s both strongly psychological and very visceral. The body/mind split between the “psychological thriller” and the “horror movie” doesn’t apply here- minds are twisted and bodies are torn apart.

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