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Santa Sangre

A movie directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Entering the circus as well as the "trip".

  • Apr 29, 2011
**** 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 you, I don't intend to spoil too many of them. However, as this is indeed a review for a film, I must respectively warn you when a film is not for all tastes, and people, do we EVER have a film that "isn't for all tastes"! Here is a gruesome, gory, and macabre horror feature that will not appeal to those with weak stomachs. You could stare at such imagery and interpret it as art, or you could just keep your barf-bag close and hope for the best.

The film tells a timely tale of a child who was born of parents who both worked in the Circus business. The boy was named Fenix, and during his youth, he grew up, fell in love, and witnessed his mother lose her limbs and his father commit suicide. Fenix saw some pretty bad situations in his time, but nothing could compare, or prepare, him for what was to come later on.

So Fenix grows into a semi-healthy young man, who is only really "semi-healthy" because his childhood has traumatized him and earned him a spot in the loony bin. It's evident that our hero is a whole lot more sane than anyone else in the "loony bin", although the doctors don't seem to care. One day, he escapes and returns home to momma.

And momma is pretty good when it comes to "welcome home" gifts. Fenix and mother begin to do circus shows together again, with Fenix acting as his mother's arms for an attraction. Fenix soon happens upon a horrifying discovering; his mother can now fully control his arms in place of her own. The worst part about this is mother's murderous tendencies towards the women who enter Fenix's life and pose a "threat" to him and his momma.

Yes, I know: this sounds like a slasher flick. And yes, I also know that it kind of is one. However, "Santa Sangre" is not what most would think of when they visualize the generic slasher flick, often times dealing with the darkly beautiful, the bizarre, and the grotesque. Instead of standard horror fare, we get a new classic; a bold, graphic, disturbing, and masterful portrayal of deep fear. "Santa Sangre" does not really care whether you want to watch it or not; as only the best art-house pictures can have such a twisted mentality. Who would want to make a film that ISN'T for everyone? Believe it or not, there are many filmmakers out there, and director Alejandro Jodorowsky is one who is not afraid of what others think.

I'll be honest: I loved this film. I love films that use gore as art (example: Argento's earlier works), and I love me a good horror film at any time. I wasn't sure how to approach "Santa Sangre", but maybe that WAS the approach in itself. This is a rare film which I would love to call "movie magic", although what's so magical about someone getting their arms chopped off? Also, what's so entertaining about a movie that keeps the blood flowing, and depicts unflinching acts of sorrow and violence? All I can really say for that is this: "Santa Sangre" is meant to entertain, surprise, and intoxicate; and that is what it does. It's a film unlike any I've ever seen, complete with dazzling and imaginative visuals and a timley performance from actor Axel Jodorosky, and helmed by a man who has taken obvious influence from past cinematic magicians such as Fellini. This film is just as good as a Fellini film; if not better than some. Again, not for everyone's taste, but for all its worth, "Santa Sangre" scared me, shocked me, entertained me, and left me in awe.

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May 01, 2011
I saw this in the store the other day..I think I need to go buy it now! Thanks!!
More Santa Sangre reviews
review by . November 20, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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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