To label Santa Sangre a mere horror film does it a great disservice, but ultimately that’s where it’ll end up filed nine times out of ten, if no other reason than because so much of its imagery is horrific. But then even, the label horrific does much of that imagery the same kind of disservice, because it’s also dreamy and beautiful. Clearly this is not an easy movie to describe, and that’s probably the highest compliment that can be paid to it. To really get Santa Sangre, you have to immerse yourself in it, and if you can do that and come out the other side unscathed, well then, you’re my kind of people.
Take for instance one of the film’s most unnerving sequences. A circus elephant lays dying, blood pouring from its trunk onto the ground. When it finally passes on, its carcass is moved into a giant, ornate casket. A funeral is held for the beast, and it’s transported through the town, circus folk and carnies solemnly trailing behind. The procession ends up on the edge of a cliff. Hundreds of the poor stand around waiting, until the entire thing is tipped over and tumbles down into a filthy, disgusting junkyard. As soon as it hits the bottom, the crowd descends upon it with axes and the like, and they crack open the casket and begin dismembering the beast, tossing out huge chunks of its flesh to one another, presumably for food. Now, I don’t know what kind of movies you’ve been watching, but upon first seeing this spectacle 20 years ago, such imagery was entirely new to me. And this is just one scene of many, many in a film that seems to pride itself on outweirding itself one moment after the next.
Read the rest of this Blu-ray review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.