E8 Queer Horror: 'Alucarda'
Prepare yourself for lots of screaming and vibes on vibes
"Alucarda" (1975) opens on a woman (Tina Romero) who has just given birth and knows she’s not long for this world. She asks an old man who is with her to make sure her child, named Alucarda, goes to live in the local convent. The mother, presumably speaking of the devil, says, “Don’t let him take her away.” After the old man leaves with the baby, the scene that transpires suggests that an evil force has come for the mother. Slithering, death rattle-like noises intensify and there are quick edits between close-ups of the mother’s face and the faces of cobwebbed statues in the room.
After the title cards, the film jumps forward 15 years. Alucarda (also played by Tina Romero) has been living at the convent. When Justine (Susana Kamini), another orphan around the same age, arrives, Alucarda bonds with her instantly. When the two stumble upon the place where Alucarda’s mother died, they release a satanic force that possesses them and wreaks havoc upon the convent. The film, directed and co-written by Juan Lopez Moctezuma, has become a cult classic over the years, especially following the 2002 DVD release from media distributor Mondo Macabro. Underlying themes are breaking free from tradition (the Catholic Church, heteronormativity) by burning it all down in an attempt to embrace individuality (queer identity, atheism, feminism).
Here are some things we mentioned during the episode and/or that we think you should check out:
- This piece on the history of nunsploitation films by James Newton
- Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" (1872), edited by Carmen Maria Machado (2019)
- This bizarre/incredible interview with Carmen Maria Machado
- A tiny bit of information on "Alucardos: Retrato de un vampiro" (2011), the fan-made documentary about Juan López Moctezuma (kinda)
Here are some other films we mentioned during the episode:
- "The Devils" (Ken Russell, 1971)
- "The Exorcist" (William Friedkin, 1973) — Sound effects engineer, Gonzalo Gavira, worked on this film, along with "El Topo," and "Alucarda."
- "Fando y Lis" (1968), "El Topo" (1970), "The Holy Mountain" (1973), and "The Dance of Reality" (2013) — all by Alejandro Jodorowsky. You should probably also watch "Jodorowsky's Dune" (2013), Frank Pavich's documentary about this fucking weirdo and his quest to make the most absurd, impossible adaptation of "Dune"
- "Possession" (1981, Andrzej Żuławski)
- "Frankenstein" (1931, James Whale)
- "Child's Play" (1988, Tom Holland)
- "Scream" (1996, Wes Craven)
- "Black Narcissus" (1947, Powell and Pressburger)
- "The Mansion of Madness" (1973) and "Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary" (1974) are Moctezuma's other most popular films.
- The film that Jo mentioned where someone takes a two-minute shit onscreen is Wim Wenders' "Kings of the Road" (1976).
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