I am the first to admit that this movie is not for everybody. But for the people who will like it, they will love it. It is the kind of cult movie that bears repeated viewings. Santa Sangre is for your foreign-film loving arthouse friends. Alejandro Jodorowski is best known for his arty ode to the spaghetti Western, El Topo, and known to fans of supercraziness for his ultra-psychedelic Holy Mountain.
Santa Sangre is the story of Fenix, who suffers a tortuous childhood growing up in the circus until a gory tragedy orphans him and leaves him in a strangely accomodating asylum. From the moment he escapes, we are unsure of what is real and what is part of Fenix’s tortured psyche. As he reassuress a store clerk after publicly being attacked by a giant python that disappears as suddenly as it appears, “It is just a hallucination.”
This film has loads of gore, sexual tension, and a very strange sense of humor. Catholic-damaged viewers may have to struggle with the giggles as Fenix’s mother, in the throes of religious fervor, insists red paint is a miracle. “It is holy blooood!” The cast gives 100 percent and no one lets a trace of irony show. Jodorowski’s own sons give outstanding performances portraying Fenix as both a child and a man.
Symbolism abounds in this cinematic beauty. An entire dissertation could be (and probably has been) written about it. My dissertation would state that Jodorowski’s film explores the beauty inherent in horror, and the horror thats exists within the beautiful.
This is also the perfect gift for avowed devotees of Jodorowski if they only own the VHS format, because the DVD contains 5 hours of documentaries, commentaries, interviews and deleted scenes.
I have been known to force the unsuspecting to watch this if not Holy Mountain.