When Mondo Macabro launched onto the UK market, genre fans wiped away tears of joy. The Mondo Macabro team had long been rightfully respected amongst British genre fans for their series of late night high quality television series like 'Eurotika!' and later 'Mondo Macabro'. The success of said shows led to the launch of their respective DVD lines and whilst the Pagan and Eurotika! titles garnered loyal interest from a dedicated genre fan base it was to be the launch of Mondo Macabro with the stunning 'Alucarda' that would take them to another level in popularity. US readers looked on with understandable envy as UK fans wallowed in the delicious debut titles from the Mondo Macabro line. So when Mondo Macabro announced they were going to launch in the US market, Stateside genre fans rubbed their hands with glee when it was decided that 'Alucarda' would be the debut title there also.
The film opens with the newly born child Alucarda being taken to the local convent/orphanage to be placed in the care of the ever so slightly fanatical god fearing nuns that preside over the children there. Following the opening titles we cut to eighteen years later where we meet newly orphaned Justine being welcomed to the convent, the now teenage Alucarda soon hooks up with the impressionable Justine and the two become the closest of friends. Going about their girlie business of skipping through the forest hand in hand, the girls happen upon a Catweazle-esque gypsy who warns them of the demons that inhabit the wilderness. Unpeturbed the girls head off only to find an old abandoned tomb, where the death obsessed Alucarda persuades Justine to join her in a loving death pact. Soon after this Alucarda opens one of the tombs and they are overcome with a strange supernatural presence.
Later, Alucarda goes on a satanic bender spinning around like she's watched the Exorcist one time too many before the aforementioned supernatural gypsy reappears and encourages the girls to indulge in some satanic lesbo blood ritual. This they do and before heading off to the woods to get stuck into a full blown demonic orgy with a demon and his horny hairy followers.
Some time after back at the convent the nuns (clad in menstrual blood soaked gowns) are delivering one of their popular 'burn in hell' sermons to the terrified captive child audience. Alucarda and Justine though decide to spice things up with some fervent demonic chanting declaring their undying obedience to Satan, their dark lord (promising to do as much evil as they can!) This proves all too much for poor Justine and she collapses and ends up feverish in bed, while Alucarda goes from strength to strength by getting sent to confession only for her to use the opportunity to attack the priest and mess with his head. Appalled by the chain of events, the priest and witless nuns cleanse themselves with a healthy dose of whip lashing and decide the only course of action to redeem themselves would be to conduct a good old fashioned exorcism on the demonic young girls. Will the girls be saved from their satanic peril? Or will they wreak bloody havoc on their holy charges?
After waiting for some time to finally see 'Alucarda' I have to say that I was not disappointed in any way whatsoever, in fact I enjoyed this one a lot more than I expected to. Moctezuma's film delivers more than enough horrific eye candy to sate most blood loving horror fans needs. Also, never having been a great fan of the nunsploitation genre I have to say that this is indeed one of the very best of this genre. With it's fine blend of satanic depravation, jabs at catholicism and bloody perversions - 'Alucarda' is a surprise gem of a movie that will in time generate a healthy following.
UK fans of 'Alucarda' were somewhat unsettled when they heard that not only would the US release contain a new remastered print of the main feature but some additional extra features also. I'd just like to chuck in my tuppence and state that unless your massively anal about your genre viewing then there's no real reason for any UK readers to upgrade their old 'Alucarda' disc as the UK release looks great really and the few new extras don't really warrant the extra expense. But if you don't yet own 'Alucarda' or have been one of those unfortunate US readers not to own a multi-region DVD player then here's what you have on offer with this debut US DVD release…
As I said, the newly mastered print here looks very much comparable to the earlier UK release in that both are strong and colourful throughout (with only very minimal print damage evident), the main difference of any real note will be the option of Spanish dialogue which as there is no English subtitle option means that this will only be of interest to our Spanish friends. But it is with the extras that we get any difference of significance, firstly the Mondo Macabro episode on Mexican genre movies from the UK release seems to have been re-edited and repackaged here as a shorter documentary leaning more specifically on the work of director Juan Lopez Moctezuma, these Mondo Macabro documentaries are always of a very high standard so this will be a very welcome addition for newcomer US viewers. An entirely new addition here is a cool short Spanish language trailer for the film itself and a respectable short interview tribute to Moctezuma and the Mexican genre scene by modern genre rising star Guillermo del Toro (who US mainstream horror fans will know for his more recent work on 'Blade 2'). The remaining text sections (biography, filmography and interview) on Moctezuma are ported over from the UK release and are of the high standard maintained from the Mondo Macabro line, as is the blood soaked satanic stills gallery.
So a vastly worthy debut by Mondo Macabro onto the US market and one that should be welcomed by US genre fans with open arms. Our North American friends can now savour the pleasures that we Brits have been enjoying for some time, come onboard now and see exactly what all the fuss has been about. 'Alucarda' is a stunning slice of obscure satanic genre viewing, exactly the sort of vintage horror fun that we just don't see made anymore and Mondo Macabro have delivered a sumptuous DVD release laying out the foundations for a fruitful relationship Stateside. Check it out!
Review by Alan Simpson
Join the satanic fun with Mondo Macabro USA by purchasing 'Alucarda' by clicking here.
|Released by Mondo Macabro|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|Documentary on Moctezuma, Interview with Guillermo del Toro, Trailer, Stills gallery, Biography section and more.|