Saturday, October 27, 2007


Dr. Mazali, head of a small, isolated insane asylum, and his friend Dr. Almada make a pact that whoever dies first will come back with news of the afterlife. Almada goes first, then materializes during a seance with a somewhat cryptic message for Mazali, who wants to somehow experience death without actually dying, that he will come back in three months and open the door to the beyond. Then Almada's ghost appears to his daughter Patricia, whom he had never met, tells her that a locket she's had all her life has a key in it, and that she should visit Dr. M. to learn more about her background. She arrives at the same time as Eduardo, Mazali's handsome new intern, and an attraction develops. In what seems like an unrelated plot thread, Dr. M decides that a violent female patient can be calmed down and taken out of restraints when a music box is played for her; unfortunately, when the music stops, she goes batshit again, and tosses acid in the face of an orderly. Later the scarred-for-life orderly kills her, but the police think Dr. M is responsible. I followed everything up to here, but in the end things get a little complicated. Suffice to say that there are a couple more deaths, some apparent "soul transference," and a very creepy scene of a corpse digging its way out of the ground. Despite the rather baroque plot twists, this is at heart a traditional warning story about tampering in God's domain. The whole thing is taken very seriously by all (no camp, no Hammer or AIP flourishes of overacting or supervelvet costuming), and the film has a dark tone, creepy atmosphere, and mostly solid performances. I hear that Casa Negra, the company which has been issuing Mexican horror films on DVD (in mostly spectacular prints), has gone under, which is a shame. This is definitely worth at least a rental. [DVD]

No comments: