Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)

Directed by Vicente Aranda
Starring Maribel Martin, Alexandra Bastedo, Simon Andreu
Rated R

"Are you saying Susan's a lesbian?"
"No, I'm saying she's being dominated by a lesbian."

An unnamed, over-aged asshole from a wealthy Spanish family (Simon Andreu) somehow manages to snag a young and beautiful bride, Susan (Maribel Martin, The House That Screamed). They book a luxury hotel room on their wedding night, but after vividly imagining her stocking-headed husband assaulting her, she demands they find an alternate honeymoon spot. Hubby drives them to one of his relatives' estates, a dreary mansion surrounded by woods. Once there, the 30 year old virgin finally beds his new bride and finds that he prefers the rough stuff. He spends the next couple days assaulting and ravaging the beleaguered Susan every chance that he gets.

Susan is at first compliant with hubby's demented S&M fantasies, but soon grows tired of his shenanigans. One afternoon while wandering in the woods out back, she spies a striking blonde woman loitering under a clump of trees. She tries to investigate but is thwarted by her husband, who lifts her off the ground by her hair and then forces her to fellate him. He's kind of a creep, this cat.

Later than evening, the blonde slips silently into Susan's bedroom and sucks on her neck. Then she hands her a dagger, ostensibly to stab her rape-y husband with.

And that's exactly what she does. Like 50 times.

Well, in her dreams, anyway.

Turns out the blonde is one of her husband's ancestors, Mircalla Karstein (ethereal British beauty Alexandra Bastedo). Astute Euro-horror fans will recognize the name - that's right, this is yet another riff on Sheridan LeFanu's novel "Carmilla", the blueprint for the wave of kinky lesbian vampire flicks that flourished in the early 70's, a wave that also included The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Vampyres, and Vampyros Lesbos. Unlike most of the Camilla clones, however, Mircalla is less of villainous apparition and more of a zonked out weirdo who randomly manifests herself in strange places. At one point, hubby finds her buried in the sand at the beach, naked except for a scuba mask.

Mircalla/Camilla ingratiates herself into this already weird clan and becomes Susan's secret lover/confidante. Is the mysterious Camilla actually an undead vampire, or is she just a bewitching seductress, out to snatch gorgeous Susan way from her boorish husband?

She's both. Spoiler alert.

Drowsy and hypnotic but less flamboyant than many of the Psychedelic Euro-horror shows of the era, Blood Spattered Bride is moody, slow-sipping 70's vamp cinema.

During its initial theatrical release, when it was double-billed with I Dismember Mama, Bride was sold to American audiences as a gory shocker. While that is most certainly not the case, it does have some very bloody moments, most of them in the guns-blazing finale. For the most part, however, the film gets by on mood and atmosphere.

Hampered a bit by a square score (pipe organs in groovy 1972?) and dodgy dubbing, Blood Spattered Bride is passable bottom-of-the-bill stuff, of interest mostly for a couple of seriously kinky set-pieces (a two-girl coffin!) and its two lovely leading ladies.

- Ken McIntyre


  1. Liked the film much much more after seeing the uncut versio0n on DVD.

  2. Apparently the ending for Blood-Spattered Bride wasn't as gory as the directer intended it to be, but the Spanish censor board put their foot down.


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