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Santa Sangre

A movie directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Santa Sangre - Boxing Helena meets Barnum & Bailey

  • Nov 20, 2000
Pros: Production was magnificent

Cons: A startling movie to watch

Whew, baby, what have I walked into now? A movie so entirely bizarre, I am not sure I can do it justice even though I have watched it three times!

The Movie
Story #1 - A traveling circus, a knife thrower married to an aerial artist with a son that is a magician, a tattooed lady (using THAT term loosely) with her mute tightrope walking ward, a bunch of clowns, a vertically challenged person, and a dying elephant.

Story #2 - A church (using THAT term loosely) in the middle of nowhere that worships a young girl who had her arms amputated when she rose up against the establishment, a group of servants that worship this ‘saint', led by the aerial artist from the circus, a large pool of paint they are passing off as blood and a bulldozer.

Story #3 - A marriage of these two stories in a most bizarre way. The aerial artist catches her fat, overbearing, bunghole of a husband sporting the tattooed lady and attacks. He uses those knives he is so skilled with to slice off his wife's arms and the tattooed lady runs away with her mute charge. The son, aged 10 at the time, ends up in an asylum and escapes 10 years later with mom's help and they begin a stage performance that perhaps is the most utterly ridiculous but perfectly choreographed piece I have ever seen!

Eventually the tattooed lady, now a low class ~whore, tries to sell off the burgeoning ripe body of her now 20 year old mute charge, gets murdered, and the mute girl runs away and finds her way to the side of the now older and much more talented magician/whatever he is to his mom friend she knew from her past.

Things to ponder
Now why I found their stage performance so bizarre was the fact that the lovely aerial artist, without arms, begins a singing act. Her son, the magician, stands directly behind her and supplies the ‘arms' for her act, as the entire act is centered around her beautiful hands. Her clothes are fashioned so that the arms open from the back, he slides his arms into the holes, and there you are - arms to go! What amazed me was their ability to move in complete coordination with each other at all times - walking, dancing, eating, etc. It was quite remarkable to watch, even if it was wholly strange.

The movie, itself, was just weird enough to be interesting, and was highly sexual in nature. That tattooed lady (Thelma Tixou) - should see her move. I didn't know the body could do the things that she did with hers, nor do I want to attempt some of the things she did. Her tattoos were fascinating also, covering her entire body, including her face. I would venture a guess that her body was manufactured in some plastics plant somewhere though cause she had a set of ta-tas that looked like bowling balls and her posterior looked like it came direct from Fredricks of Hollywood.

The clowns that are always at Axels side as a young boy, appear again in his life as an adult. I was a little aggravated when this happened because I thought there was a little loss of my ever favorite continuity, until the story progressed a little further, and I understood completely. When Axel is in the asylum, these same guys are around as his fellow inmates, mentally challenged adults, where he appears as the only person that does not appear mentally challenged, but is perhaps the only one that truly is!

The star of the movie, the boy magic genius, was played by Axel Jodorowsky, which leads me to believe he is the son of the writer. He also bears a startling resemblance to a young and fiesty Bronson Pinchot and at all times is highly erotic. When he first appears in the insane asylum in the beginning of the movie, he looks more like Ted Neeley of Jesus Christ Superstar fame, but as he cleans up and comes out, he makes a wonderful transformation. The mute tightrope walker played by Sabrina Dennison speaks not a word in the entire movie but portrays a good deal with her intriguing mime acting. She reminded me of Kere Sedgwick with her curly wind tasseled hair.

The aerial artist/turned singer mother makes her son so dependent on her he believes he has no life other than to serve as her arms. Again, it is amazing to watch their coordination as he does her eating, brushing hair, knitting, playing piano - everything for her. Actually I cannot describe it, it is something that has to be viewed to be believed. However, the mother (using THAT term loosely) convinces him he is so worthless, or as she says ‘invisible', that he devotes his entire adulthood watching the movie "The Invisible Man" starring Claude Rains. Mother tells him that without her no one sees him, no one notices him, he does not exist - he is just like his hero, the invisible man. What a wench!

Writer/director Alexandro Jodorowsky seemed very Roger Corman or Larry Cohen like in his production. There were a good deal of innuendos that a careful eye had to catch, but they added just a taste of camp to the movie (if you are familiar with the term ‘He has a monster in his pants', this would be one of the quirky things Jodorowsky plays on). Aside from the mesmerizing story line, the production and cinematography was first class and startling. The music was thoroughly Spanish but the singing - Lord, don't make me listen to that singing again! I'll never figure out how this bad boy snuck by with an R rating.

Also staring Bianca Guerra as Concha, the aerial artist/armless singing mother (quite fetching if I do say so myself), Guy Stockwell as Orgo, the obese tattooed lady chasing husband, Adan Jodoroswky as the young Axel (might as well make all the kids work!), Faviola Elenka Tapia as the young mute girl, Alma.

I really haven't done this movie justice here, but I made an attempt. In conclusion, I was left wondering - what did happen in the circus on that fateful day? And just who was the crazy one here..............


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More Santa Sangre reviews
review by . April 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     This is what I'm talking about. "Santa Sangre" is the surrealistic horror film that I never thought I'd see, and I never thought such a magnificently disturbing, whimsical, and psychedelic film could be made by man. And I never thought that such intense visual perfection could apply to a darned horror film, but here we are. Here we are indeed.    There are many, many special qualities to a movie such as "Santa Sangre", and luckily for …
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About this movie


A sadistic circus master mutilates his wife after she catches him with another woman, so traumatizing their son who witnesses it that he is committed to an institution. The armless mother and her son are reunited years later in an unholy alliance.
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Release Date: 1990
MPAA Rating: NC-17
Runtime: 2hr 3min
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