Politically minded Columbian horror pivoting on incest and vampirism.
Despite flaws the film isn’t bad, being quite visually evocative and
In light of the recent South American genre
renaissance, it seems pertinent to look back at some classic horror
films from the region, such as the Brazilian O ANJO DA NOITE (1974) and
AS FOLHAS DO FOGO (1978), as well as the Columbian PURA SANGRE (1982)
and this 1983 effort. Like those other films this one is largely unknown
in the English speaking world, although CARNE DE TU CARNE did receive a
surprise U.S. DVD release in 2013 by One 7 Movies, under the title
Back in 1956, in the Columbian city Cali, young Andres’
beloved grandmother dies. Andres and his family attend a reading of the
old woman’s will, accompanied by Andres’ half-sister Margaret, who’s
just returned from a lengthy sojourn in the U.S. Andres and Margaret are
immediately attracted to each other, and appear ready to act on that
attraction when a nearby explosion occurs that blacks out the area.
The following day Andres and Margaret head out to the
secluded home of the eccentric Enrique, their deceased grandmother’s
brother, in order to gather supplies and inform him of his sister’s
death. This entails a long drive down bumpy country roads, followed by a
horse ride up a mountain. Enrique turns out to more than live up to his
reputation as an eccentric, regaling Andres and Margaret with drunken
reminisces about his early years.
That night Andres and Margaret finally consummate their
relationship in Enrique’s house, but are interrupted by what appear to
be ghosts. It seems the spirits of the past, evoked by Enrique, are
tangible presences whose psychic influence on Andres and Margaret is
Andres and Margaret become vampire killers, terrorizing
the region by enacting scenarios from ancient folklore--thus confusing
the populace, who believe mythological creatures are afoot--while
possessed by the unquiet spirits of their ancestors. But when the two
steal an infant from a peasant couple the latter track Andres and
Margaret down--and then kill and bury them.
A day later the peasant couple return to Andres and
Margaret’s gravesite, where they’re met with a surprise…
CARNE DE TU CARNE’S opening moments inform us that it’s
dedicated to Roger Corman and Roman Polanski, whose respective
influences are fully evident--at least in the second half. Otherwise the
film is a rather stately political drama structured around actual
historical events that occurred in Columbia during the 1950s, and which
doesn’t announce itself as horror themed until around 50 minutes in.
Horror fans willing to put up with those opening 50
minutes should be sated by what occurs in the final 40, which are
agreeably gory and atmospheric. Director Carlos Mayolo has a gift for
eerie visual compositions rivaling those of the aforementioned Corman
and Polanski. The haunting sight of the protagonists sprawled out on the
floor of their devastated room is an unforgettable one, although Mayolo
also utilizes some hackneyed elements, such as drifting mist during the
ghost sequences and a distracting electronic score that seems more
suited to something from the 1970s.
CARNE DE TU CARNE (BLOODY FLESH)
Producciones Visuales Itda.
Director: Carlos Mayolo
Producer: Fernando Beron, Bertha de Carvajal
Screenplay: Jorge Nieto, Carlos Mayolo, Elsa Vasquez
Cinematography: Luis Gabriel Beristain
Editing: Karen Lamassonne
Cast: Adriana Herran, David Gerrero, Santiago Garcia, Vicky Hernandez,
Carlos Mayolo, Sebastian Ospina, Lina Uribe, Josue Angel