Ode to VHS: Alucarda

Just how do you solve a problem like Alucarda? She’s terrifyingly beautiful. She’s an orphan. She’s a homosexual. She worships Satan and sets people on fire. This epic ride also features demonic possession, orgies, exorcism,  convents, lesbianism, and vampirism. EL DIABLO! All of these things made the film controversial, especially for the time it was made. Because of its extreme violence, scenes of sacrilege, and perversely defiled religious imagery, it has gained notoriety among fans of the horror genre. The imagery is brilliant, intense, and creepy.  It’s also an interesting approach to satanism. Director Juan Lopez Moctezuma uses the genre to manifest radical and incendiary views. Alucarda takes the theme of female sexual progression to it’s incongruous limits, right down to having the nuns of the convent draped in what materialized bloodied menstrual rags. There is almost a constant flow of blood and nudity entwined throughout the course of the film. It’s both a work of art and a vivid entertaining exploitation freak show. It’s not necessarily a vampire film though. While there is no sex in the film, we are given fabulous full frontals from a couple of beautiful broads. Honestly, when I think of Alucarda, Carrie comes to mind. The two are similar on so many levels, right down to the ending with Alucarda going on a revenge rampage.  Often when a gay person is going through a tough time. Believe it or not Guillermo del Torro is a big fan of Alucarda. I am a huge fan of the film and own the t-shirt.

Alucarda begins with a woman giving birth to a baby. You hear scary noises and after the woman in labor looks at a statute she screams her head off. Cut to credits. You get to know two beautiful orphans at a convent. The girls come across the bizarre building from the opening with that freaky deaky statue. The building is daft with lots of coffins,  cob webs, and torn dirty old red curtains. Alucarda opens a coffin that’s most likely her dead mother’s from the beginning. She inhales something out of the ordinary and starts to freak out. When I say freak out….I mean this broad is fit for a straight jacket. She’s spinning while pulling her hair and freaks out over crosses. At one point she starts to bend backwards naked and chanting with a knife. Her bush is massive. The girls then become Sisters of Satan and drink the blood of their titties. Then proceed to make out. Cut to them walking around with gross naked old people circling around and chanting. (I’m trying to explain this as quick as possible.)

During this Satanic freak show the nuns in the convent are freaking out and praising God. One nun even bleeds through her own eyes and floats in the air after casting one of the Satan worshiping orgy freaks out. The next day the girls start acting out in the convent chanting and screaming SATAN in front of the nuns. Because of this rebellious action the priests and nuns hang the girls on crosses to perform an exorcism. Feeling that the place has been contaminated by evil, Father Lazaro and the nuns engage in self-flagellation…whipping themselves into a frenzy. Unfortunately, their exorcism kills Justine.  While being prepared for burial, Justine’s body disappears. The nun who was attending her is found burned to death. Father Lazaro decapitates the corpse just as it is coming back to life. To be fair, the decapitation scene was a little gross. Dr. Oszek sees this and realizes that something supernatural has been occurring all along. Nuns go into that evil place where Justine is in a coffin covered in blood. It’s actually a very effective scene in my opinion. Justine starts scratching the nun and tears into her neck. Soon after Justine melts away when drenched with holy water. Alucarda returns to the convent for revenge, using her power to set priests and nuns on fire. She is finally destroyed when Sister Angelica’s body is brought to her. The nun opens her eyes for one last time and uses her faith to eliminate the girl that she once fought to protect… Not the ending I wanted but fair enough.

Fun facts about the film: It was released in theaters across Mexico on January 26, 1978. The film has been often compared to Ken Russell’s 1971 horror film The Devils, and William Friedkin’s 1973 film classic The Exorcist, because Alucarda was released within five years of both of them, and because they share similar plot themes. After the film’s release in January 1978 in Mexico, it never received much attention from critics nor audiences, but over the years became something of an underground film and a B-movie cult classic. While it is not widely known by horror fans, many fans who have seen it consider it an unrecognized gem. Tina Romero (Alucarda) is still active in the acting world of foreign films that I know nothing about. If only I could of seen her in more roles like this. I felt like both of the girls put on an amazing performance. Tis’ a shame.

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