Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s 1989 surreal circus of horrors Santa Sangre has been given a restored UK Blu-ray and DVD release from Mr Bongo. If you like your films twisted, bonkers and totally barmy, then this one is hard to beat.
After several years locked up in a mental asylum, former circus performer Fenix escapes the facility and reunites with his supposedly dead mother, Concha – a religious fanatic who lost both her arms following a violent row with Fenix’s lecherous brute of a father. Fenix then becomes an instrument of death as Concha starts murdering any woman who Fenix meets. But when a young mute woman from his past re-enters his life, the troubled soul Fenix must try to break his mother’s influence – once and for all.
Sante Sangre is a visual visceral freakshow that hits all the right notes in the cult movie department. The crazy mother-son Freudian horror story has some great twists; the visual set pieces are like Fellini on acid (the elephant’s funeral is a stroke of genius, while the autistic kids snorting cocaine is just sick); the English-spoken dialogue is eminently quotable – I was shouting ‘Holy Blood!’ over and over by the end; and the performances strike the right balance of OTT campness and pathos.
If you’ve never experienced a Jodorowsky film, then Santa Sangre is a great place to start before immersing yourself fully in the surrealist director’s insanely-addictive auteur. The release also includes a documentary about the Chilean film-maker, commentary and a humourous Q&A from 2002, plus an equally surreal Paris-set short by the film’s star, Adan Jodorowsky.