Anchor Bay presents
The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)
"She killed her husband on her wedding night....According to legend it was because he tried to make her do unspeakable things....The description was prudishly omitted. Pity, it would have been the most amusing part of the whole story....She didn't die. She was found, spattered with blood, in her wedding gown, next to the body of her husband, her eyes wide open. Rigid, with warmth and color in her body. They waited for two years before they decided to bury her."- The Husband (Simon Andreu)
Stars: Simon Andreu, Maribel Martin, Alexandra Bastedo
Other Stars: Dean Selmier
Director: Vicente Aranda
Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for violence, full frontal nudity, gore (the cut version was rated 'R', so this might rank an NC-17)
Run Time: 01h:40m:54s
Release Date: 2000-05-23
DVD ReviewIf you watch enough vampire movies, you'll end up seeing a bajillion different versions of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's classic story Carmilla. Precious few films bother to follow the story closely, instead only harvesting the names of the vampiric central character and the theme of lesbianism.
Vicente Aranda's 1972 film Blood Spattered Bride (in its original Spanish, La Novia Ensangrentada) continues in that tradition. While using LeFanu's trappings, it seems more than anything to be an allegory on feminism.
The story centers around the somewhat neurotic Susan (Maribel Martin), and her new but unnamed husband (Simon Andreu). Susan is quite frigid, to her husband's chagrin. She is plagued with rape fantasies, but when he attempts to act on them she bursts into tears and tears away.
As the couple return to the husband's ancestral home, they learn of the dark secrets of one of his relations, some 200 years buried, Mircalla Karstein. She had murdered her husband, per the above quote and apparently buried alive. Soon Mircalla is invading Susan's dreams, persuading her to use a mysterious dagger, which keeps reappearing no matter where it is hidden, to butcher Susan's husband as Mircalla did hers. Events reach a head when the husband brings home a woman, Carmilla (the alluring Alexandra Bastedo), whom he found buried nude in the beach.
The nameless husband allows male viewers to freely associate with his predicament, as his wife, who cannot experience pleasure with a man, finds great pleasure in the company (both general and sexual) of the magnetic Carmilla. The bloody conclusion seems to be reflective of his frustration and anger at betrayal more than the usual desire to defeat the vampires which one usually finds in horror films.
There is plenty of gratuitous nudity and spraying blood to be found here, so Eurohorror fans will be pleased. The film has a fairly slow pacing which allows the suspense to build but the film never becomes boring; there's always something mysterious or peculiar happening. The little girl who figures heavily in the plot (and also closely resembles Carmilla) is quite disturbing throughout the film.
The film was released previously in the US on video in a heavily cut version entitled Till Death Do Us Part. That version was shorn of over eighteen minutes of running time; Anchor Bay happily gives us the complete and uncut film on this disc.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay has done another amazing job of restoration on this film. The image is pristine throughout and lacks any damage or artifacts of any kind. Blacks are very dark and shadow detail is excellent. The color scheme tends to be slightly subdued, but the blood (and there's a lot of it) is a vivid red by contrast but is not over-saturated and there is no noise to be seen on it.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: The DD 2.0 mono soundtrack is adequate, although not terribly well dubbed. Unfortunately, there is a persistent hiss in the film, as well as occasional crackling. It's too bad Anchor Bay couldn't have done something with the audio as well as the video. Similarly, it's a shame that the original Spanish wasn't included.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: There's not much to be seen in the way of extras. We get a trailer for a double feature of this film and I Dismember Mama; the trailer seems entirely devoted to Blood Spattered Bride except for the tag at the end. The trailer is far more psychedelic than the film itself, and probably disappointed those thinking they were in for a wilder movie than was actually the case.
We also get two pages of the insert folder that contain production notes and information on Vicente Aranda. The lack of subtitles is rather irritating, in light of the poor dubbing.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsA deft piece of Eurohorror, given a beautiful transfer by Anchor Bay. Fans of vampire movies will like it although they may find it a little slow. Adult themes, gore and nudity limit the audience, but still a very good film that transcends its somewhat sensationalistic title.
Mark Zimmer 2000-05-27