Santa Sangre DVD Blu-ray Movie Review

Santa Sangre DVD Blu-ray Movie Review
Santa Sangre movie review; directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky; starring Axel Jodorowsky, Adan Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, and Guy Stockwell; music composed by Simon Boswell.
Updated: 01-31-2011
I'm hardly the first person to have noticed the parallels between the most-lauded mother/son horror film in history, Psycho, and Jodorowsky's 1982 cult classic, Santa Sangre. Once very difficult to catch at the occasional revival screening, a squinty look at an old VHS release, or via dicey download, Santa Sangre is now finally available in stores and online in the U.S. on a double-disk set loaded with extras — so now you, too, can draw your own Psycho/Santa Sangre comparisons.
The similarity is in regard to a sick-minded adult son, Fenix (Axel Jodorowsky), doing the deadly deeds of his long-dead, mummified mother, Concha (Blanca Guerra), who still controls him with her domineering ways from beyond her mortal existence.
The differences, however, are vast. Jodorowsky's version centers much more on the mother — showing her in life, as the leader of a female-focused religious cult that worships a Venus-like, armless goddess. In an extended flashback to Fenix's crazy-making childhood, we also get to know his dictatorial, womanizing father, Orgo (Guy Stockwell), a knife-thrower for the local circus. Jealousy boils between mom and dad, with hapless, sweet-faced Fenix caught in the middle. In an astonishing scene, Orgo's skill with knives and Concha's rapture collide… the bloody melee forever disfiguring their little boy's psyche.
Dancing and doing acrobatics around this central story is Jodorowsky's usual circus of magical, strange, and creepy characters. Rather than being "too much", insinuating the cast into an actual circus greatly enhances the director's innate partiality to the fantastic and allows his considerable imagination to be that much more accessible to the viewer. (Although his previous arthouse films — Fando y Lis, El Topo, and especially Holy Mountain — are powerful, they are not terribly cohesive and certainly not commercial.)
I don't want to say too much about what happens in Santa Sangre if you haven't already seen it for yourself — besides, how can I possibly make succinct sense of the tarot card connection, the Hands of Orlock nod, or the infamous elephant funeral scene? — but if you like arty, unusual, and lavishly layered stories which orbit the horror of the human mind, then this DVD is a must-have.
When it comes to the extras, it's a nicely mixed bag of goodies for existing fans of Santa Sangre and those who are just now discovering Jodorowsky.
Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen: The World of Santa Sangre — This is a 90-minute documentary which delves into not only the basics behind the making of the film, but explores the nuances and layers (The eagle, the tattooed lady, etc.), and the very interesting circumstances under which the movie was filmed in a part of Mexico riddled with corruption and quite-real danger.
For One Night Only: Alejandro Jodorowsky — Host Jonathan Ross delves into Jodorowsky's oeuvres and interviews the directors peers and contemporaries, offering up an educational, well-rounded peek into a mind of control, curiosity, and chaos. Jodorowsky speaks a little on his films, but also his own childhood circus connections, his own work with performer Marcel Marceau in Paris, and his continuing collaboration with with the French artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud.
Goyo Cárdenas: Spree Killer: This is a documentary on the Mexican murderer who was as the real-life inspiration for Santa Sangre.
Q & A's with Jodorowsky: 2002 interview, filmed in London. Also, a 2003 1:1 interview, in which he candidly talks of projects that didn't come to fruition, such as Dune and The Story of O.
Composer Simon Boswell Interviews Jodorowsky: A very casual chat, with Boswell off-camera and not mic'ed. There are also two Boswell/Jodorowsky shorts: Blink Jodorowsky, which is basically a Warholian-style a close-up Jodorowsky blinking in slo-mo with a Spanish guitar playing softly. Then there's the Close Your Eyes music video, featuring the voices of Jodorowsky and alternative rock vocalist Allison Mosshart as they add texture to what amounts to not much more than a collection of clips from Santa Sangre.
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Not from the DVD, but a peek at my interview with Boswell from "This Week In Horror"


Lastly, there's an "extra" which isn't from Jodorowsky himself, but is a decent curio nonetheless...
ECHECK: A short by Jodorowsky's son Adan, a silent, black-and-white period piece set in Paris with the Eiffel Tower as the central location.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
Latest User Comments:
Oops. My mistake. I either need to get new glasses or drink less.
02-01-2011 by Sparky discuss
She said Guy Stockwell who was actually Deans older brother.
02-01-2011 by Sistinas666 discuss
SLW, you mentioned Dean Stockwell was in this film. Does he speak spanish or is the film in english? Interesting review since I was unaware of this film. I look forward to seeing this.
02-01-2011 by Sparky discuss