AUTHOR’S NOTE: This originally ran on October 26, 2017. If we’re discussing Mexican horror, we need to talk about this movie.
A 1977 nunspolitation/vampire/Mexican horror/Exorcist inspired film about two girls who become possessed by Satan.
The source of many My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult samples, specifically the song “And This Is What the Devil Does.”
A movie filled with so much screaming, it upset my dog.
All of the above and so much more.
Juan López Moctezuma, the director of the film, was close with Alejandro Jodorowsky (some claim he was behind the camera for El Topo). So you should expect something much stranger than your average horror film.
In a Mexican convent and orphanage, a new girl named Justine arrives. She becomes close with another orphan named Alucarda, who was born in a mysterious barn and may be evil before this film even starts. In fact, she often appears in the film out of the shadows, filled with menace and questioning everyone’s faith.
While the two girls — whose relationship is nearly sexual — play in the forest, they discover a band of gypsies and the barn where Alucarda was born. Then, of course, they open a casket and unleash Satan, who possesses them. They take part in an orgy where the literal goat-headed one himself shows up, which is only stopped when Sister Angélica prays for Jesus to intervene. The witch conducting the ritual is struck down in bloody fashion.
A title card comes up telling us that this is the end of part one. I stood up and cheered. I was home alone.
Justine and Alucarda start questioning every mass and even praise Satan out loud, questioning the faith of every member of the convent. Father Lazardo demands an exorcism, one that costs Justine her life. Alucarda is saved at the last moment by Dr. Oszek (Claudio Brook, who also appeared in Del Toro’s Cronos and who also plays the hunchback who leads the women into the forest). Now, Alucarda has a new love interest, the Doctor’s daughter Daniela.
Alucarda isn’t done. She must have her revenge. She possesses a nun and sets her on fire. Father Lazardo beheads her and the entire monastery must self-flagellate to prepare themselves to fight Satan.
Justine’s body is gone — it’s in the barn where Alucarda was born. When they open it, it’s filled with blood and she emerges, now a vampire. While Alucarda kills everyone else. Sister Angélica attempts to save Justine. The doctor tries little spurts of Holy Water but it’s not enough. He barely escapes with his life, while the sister pays the ultimate price. Only Angélica’s dead body can stop Alucarda, who screams and disappears.
You know how I get evangelical about movies? Well, Alucarda is one of them. From the sets to the clothes to the acting to sound design to the just plain weirdness of it all, there’s never been a movie quite this weird. And with the movies I’ve seen, that’s an achievement.
You can get this movie from Mondo Macabro.