Review Date: December 9, 2000
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 5/23/2000
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Vicente Aranda's Blood Spattered Bride
(aka La Novia ensangrentada
) was made in 1972 and released in the US under the title Till Death Do Us Part
. Anchor Bay has once again resurrected a little known horror film for release on DVD uncut and uncensored. Blood Spattered Bride
is an interesting tale of vampirism and seduction, but sadly suffers under the weight of a complicated story.
A young woman named Susan (Maribel Martin) has just gotten hitched to a seemingly likeable guy (Simon Andreu). On their way home she and her knew husband decide to stop at a hotel for a rest. While alone and unpacking in their room Susan imagines herself being raped by a man who springs out of the closet! When Susan's husband returns to the room he finds Susan sitting on the bed looking like she's in shock. When he asks her what's the matter Susan replies that she doesn't like the hotel and wants to leave immediately. So he and Susan continue the long journey to her husband's childhood home situated in the country. There she will live out the rest of her life as his wife. It isn't long before Susan begins spotting a strange woman dressed in a purple wedding gown wandering around the area. Whenever the two make eye contact the strange woman disappears from sight. Susan also seems uncomfortable making love to her new husband and these feelings seem to escalate much to his frustration.
Meanwhile Susan begins seeing more and more of the mysterious woman. Going one step further, the mysterious woman seems to enter Susan's dreams and provides her with a dagger in which to slay her loving husband. As time passes Susan enquires about the lack of female portraits in the house. The servant's daughter tells Susan that all the portraits of the female members of the family are hidden in the cellar. Intrigued by this, Susan decides to have a look in the basement where she discovers numerous portraits of women. Susan notices one in particular where the face has been carved out of the canvas. Her husband discovers Susan in the cellar and the two of them travel to a decrepit cemetery nearby where he explains the history of Mircalla Karstein. He explains that Mircalla Karstein killed her husband on their wedding night, supposedly because he tried to make her do "unspeakable" things. Karstein was later found near the body of her slain husband wearing her wedding gown, which had been spattered with blood. Mircalla seemed to be in comatose state where she seemed dead but her color and body remained warm. Mircalla Karstein was later buried and the question of whether she was alive or dead remains unanswered.
As time goes on Susan's behavior gets worse. Susan's husband consults a doctor who can't help her because the problems Susan is having are emotional and not physical. One day while Susan's husband is burying a dagger that Susan keeps mysteriously finding, he discovers a naked woman, Camilla, buried in the sand. The woman doesn't speak to him but follows him to the car. Susan's husband drives her to his home where Susan immediately notices the similarities Carmilla bares to the woman in her dreams. Is Carmilla the legendary Mircalla Karstein who murdered her husband on their wedding night? If so, what dire plans does she have in store for Susan and her husband?
Blood Spattered Bride
is loosely based on a vampire novel by author Le Fanu titled "Carmila". The film version, titled Blood Spattered Bride
, was written and directed by Spanish director Vicente Aranda. I was actually very interested in seeing this film based solely on its imaginative and suggestive title, but sadly, after seeing it I like the title more than the film, which turned out to be a bit of a bore. Blood Splattered Bride
when boiled down, falls into the lesbian vampire/exploitation genre with little else to derive from the film's confusing story. Unfortunately Blood Spattered Bride
has little to offer and didn't hold my attention for most of the film's running time, which seemed to tick by slowly. What Blood Spattered Bride
does have is an underlying ghostly quality that is wonderfully realized in the scenes where Susan sneaks off to consort with Mircalla at night. The eerie atmosphere combined with the gothic setting really pulled the film into the plus side for a while.
Blood Spattered Bride's
"nightmare" sequences in which Mircalla visits Susan in her dreams are also quite effective and stylishly done. These scenes benefit greatly from director Vicente Aranda's early establishment that Susan's dreams, as depicted in the rape scene near the opening of the film, are very real and lifelike. That scene also goes a long way in establishing Susan's character as an "aggressive virgin" (a notion mentioned later in the film when Susan reads a line from a book on nightmares) who winds up feeling violated by her husband and subsequently becomes easily controlled and manipulated by the blood spattered bride Mircalla. Unfortunately the atmosphere and style present in these scenes is sadly lacking in the majority of the film. Also there seems to be a real scene of animal violence in Blood Spattered Bride
that also attributes to my general dislike of the film. It's not so severe or gratuitous as what you'll find in films like Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust
but it was enough for me to roll my eyes back and go "oh no not again".
In the gore and nudity department, Blood Spattered Bride
doesn't disappoint. There are several bloody scenes in the film, one of which takes place in one of Susan's nightmares. There's also some full frontal nudity, however if you're looking for an erotic vampire thriller with gorgeous naked women go watch Vampyros Lesbos
, as both are more successful in being erotic. One other oddity about Blood Spattered Bride
is the husband seems to have no name! He's never referenced during the movie (at least not that I'm aware of) and there are no cast and crew credits at the end. Perhaps the husband's name was lost in the dubbing process? Or maybe the husband being nameless was done on purpose? Very strange...
Anchor Bay presents Blood Spattered Bride
in a new 16x9 enhanced transfer that is letterboxed at 1.85:1. For the most part the transfer for Blood Spattered Bride
is pleasing, but there are some disappointing flaws. First off, as is usually the case with Anchor Bay, the print is in excellent shape and I didn't note any scratches or specks throughout the film. Sadly, despite being anamorphic the transfer is noticeably soft and is lacking in detail. The transfer also has some mild grain evident throughout the presentation, some of which can become a distraction. The colors also seemed muted and occasionally murky, but flesh tones appeared natural. Blacks were always deep and solid displaying no noise or breakup. Though not a bad transfer I'm usually accustomed to seeing better from Anchor Bay, but I'm pretty sure given the nature of the film Blood Spattered Bride
has never looked this good.
Blood Spattered Bride
is presented in English language 2-channel Dolby Digital Mono sound and is fairly good overall. Some minor hiss is audible as is the occasional pop. Dialogue was generally clear and I didn't hear any distortion throughout. No subtitles or additional audio tracks are provided on this DVD.
The only supplement provided on this DVD is a bizarre combo trailer for Blood Spattered Bride
and I dismember Mama
. Ironically this trailer is much scarier than anything in this film.
Anchor Bay's DVD of Blood Spattered Bride
contains a so-so video and audio presentation. With an MSRP of $29.98 you get very little for your money in terms of extras too. As far as the film goes, Blood Spattered Bride
has some beautiful visuals but unfortunately I found the pace too slow and story too convoluted. Definitely give it a rent though...you might like it.
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - C
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- 24 Chapter Stops
- Dolby Digital Mono