Inspired by LeFanu's immortal story of blood lust "Carmilla", The Blood Spattered Bride is one of the better examples we have of Gothic romanticism, homo eroticism, & taboo desires which is readily available for purchase or rental. Vicente Arande directs this unflinchingly beautiful yet haunting film which will demand repeated viewings & your undivided attention. This is more than just a pleasant surprise for me this season. It was, by far, one of my favorite gifts & I've enjoyed this moody film immensely.
Sadly, no one makes this kind of film anymore & I daresay no one would even attempt a retread of familiar grounds without cramming their version with CGI effects that are completely unnecessary. Bride is heavy with atmosphere yet uses gore in moderation although there is enough blood here to satisfy the curiosity seekers or those who prefer their banquet of terror to be lightly brushed with ketchup. Arande obviously knew the desired effect he would have on his audience & puts to good use the lighting, Gothic castle settings, & liberal doses of sexuality which are neither too constrained nor overly graphic. Overall, it's a fine mixture indeed & the musical score is magnificent! There are about two or three scenes of female nudity but most of the sex scenes are basically implied as very little is shown rather than merely suggested.
According to what I've read on line, BSB was completely dubbed in English in hopes of cleaning the Spanish accents of the actors/actresses who attempted to speak English throughout the entire film. Sad to report, the English dubbed version may be the only known copy to exist at the present but who cares? If we like the film, why should it matter to us?
In many ways, I was reminded of Bunuel's Belle De Jour although the atmosphere here is far more creepy & even a tad more bizarre. The concept of being afraid to explore or tap into ones sexuality during a honeymoon may not be a new concept nor anything revolutionary given the films we've most likely seen by Bunuel, Kumel, or Rollin but Arande handles the script very professionally & still manages to obtain solid performances from his cast. Alexandra Bastedo is simply marvelous as the lesbian vampire Mircalla who tries to lure Susan (played by the beautiful Maribel Martin) away from her husband. As one can expect, murder cannot be too far behind.
Susan is a rather frigid if not uptight newlywed who seems to object to her husband's sexual domination & would appear to be more than just a bit uncomfortable. In a vain attempt to run from her husband, Susan becomes drawn inexplicably to a young woman completely draped in her bridal wear. At first, the woman appears only in dreams or nightmares but then somehow manifests in the flesh. Susan does manage to draw pictures of Mircalla while exploring the castle & finding portraits of all the women ancestors. Naturally, the face of the blood spattered bride is missing from the portrait.
Husband (Simon Andreu) notices wife has been acting rather strangely after he tells her the the legend of a blood spattered bride. Not knowing which direction to take with the unusual or bizarre recurring nightmares & a strange dagger which always seems to be appearing, he seeks the vital help of doctors as well as considering the possibility of a psychiatrist. Convinced that Susan does love him but may just merely be under a spell of terrible Freudian dreams which could use some professional assistance. What he fails to realize is Susan may be well past the point of no return.
While there are plenty of trashy European vampire flicks which capitalize on shocking their viewers which tons of explicit sex or gratuitous nudity, Blood Spattered Bride seems to be content with taking the feminist route with even a indirect hints of misogyny or spouse misconduct. It would almost seem that Arande wanted to make a statement about marriages which are failed from the get go or how hard we try to make relationships work that aren't meant to last. Then again, perhaps I am reading into this way too far. Who knows?
I've read that Blood Spattered Bride may not be completely faithful to LeFanu's legendary tale but I do not think that should alter your final decision on whether or not to watch. In fact, I'm surprised that more people have not grasped this one with the re-surging interest in the immortal Lilith. Orlok, are you reading this? There are pretty cool chicks here who I think you might want to check out.
Oh, special nod & thanks to Chris Blackshere. Hugs & happiest of holidays! Thanks for this piece of blissful holiday joy. Hope yours was something special as well. Wishing you well as always!
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I've spent years trying to make others happy & not really focusing on what's most important in my own life. Having said that, my own health & security are paramount so now I'm more … more
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A beautiful young bride marries into a family with a dark secret and quickly becomes haunted by dreams of a mysterious woman. When her visions become flesh, the newlywed finds herself drawn into a nightmare of unholy communion, violent murder and forbidden sexual desires.
Written and directed by Vicente Aranda (LOVERS) and starring Simon Andreu (BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN), Maribel Martin (A BELL FROM HELL), and Alexandra Bastedo (THE GHOUL), this haunting shocker of lesbianism and reincarnation is based upon Le Fanu's immortal vampire tale "Carmila." THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE has been restored from the original negative materials and is presented completely uncut and uncensored.