The first time I watched Santa Sangre, I was left scratching my head. My second viewing of the film had the same effect on me. But I believe that is the wonder of Santa Sangre (Holy Blood). When released in 1989, Santa Sangre became a huge success with critics and fans. It now has a large cult following and is often showed at midnight shows alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show and El Topo (another Jodorowsky film). The story line is simple, but it’s the visionary mind of Alejandro Jodorowsky that makes this film explode with some of the most memorable images even committed to film.
Synopsis: A young boy named Fenix who grows up as a child magician in his fathers circus witnesses the brutal mutilation of his mother Concha when Fenix’s father cuts off her arms. Fenix is then institutionalized for a good part of his life. When he is released, he becomes his mothers new set of arms, performing routine task such as knitting, playing the piano and committing murder.
Out of all of Jodorowsky’s films, this one is my personal favorite. Now don’t get me wrong, his other films are fantastic but I think that there is just something about Santa Sangre that his other films do not have. It takes horror to a whole new level in which it shows true emotions, feelings, terror and strips it right to the bone for all to see. Jodorowsky brings humor into this film and mixes it with horror so well that everything that is happening on the screen becomes so enthralling and beautiful and so real unlike any other horror film.
Do not go into this film thinking it is a straight up Friday the 13th type horror film because it is not. Yes there are plenty of gory deaths and creepy scenarios, but the real horror comes from the actions of the mother and her using her sons arms as her own. Jodorowsky’s unbelievable symbolism and imagery can having you guessing for hours at to what the true meaning behind them really is. You might have to watch it a few times, but things will start to click soon enough.
It is so rich with design and has one of the best music scores ever composed for a film. I highly recommend you give it a chance if you have not seen it. You might be surprised.
4 out of 4 stars