14 December: Santa Sangre


As a child, Fenix watches in horror as his circus parents argue when his knife-thrower father is caught having an affair with the big top’s voluptuous tattooed lady. After being doused in acid, the enraged patriarch cuts off his interfering wife’s arms. The events are enough to send Fenix insane but, after escaping from the local asylum, he tracks down his wounded mother, offering her his own arms in a dark game that leads to copious amounts of bloodshed.

Imagine a nightmarish blend of La Strada, Freaks and From Dusk Till Dawn and you’ll still be a long way from the disturbing vision of Santa Sangre. The story of a serial killer traumatised by childhood visions, this tale is dominated by the circus, an arena in which all the grand passions – lust, murder, and bouts of bodily dismemberment – apparently hold sway.

★★★★★ “One of Jodorowsky’s finest films, this art horror movie resonates with all the disturbing power of a clammy nightmare filtered through the hallucinatory lens of 1960s psychedelia.” FILM 4

★★★★ “Like some Fellini-esque nightmare, this heady mix of circus freaks (a tattooed lady, an exotic midget, sad-faced clowns) and weird religious and hallucinatory imagery (an armless virgin saint, writhing snakes, zombie brides) is pregnant with disturbing psychological undercurrents” TIME OUT

“Brimming with unforgettable imagery and startling storytelling techniques that recall an earlier time in European horror cinema. Santa Sangre is not easy viewing. It demands a lot from potential viewers, but it’s a film that… changed the way that I view cinema and shaped my appreciation of the art form.” CINEBEATS