Spanish cinema veteran Vicente Aranda, best known for such art-house fare as The Lovers and Libertarias, first hit the international scene in 1972 with this sexy vampire thriller. Simon Andreu is a young and inexperienced... more » new bride whose violent nightmares are invaded by a mysterious woman in white. Her husband (Dean Selmier), who at first appears sensitive and consoling, has a tendency for rough lovemaking, and his practical jokes show a strange, sadistic streak. Andreu discovers a vandalized portrait of her husband's ancestor, Mircalla Karnstein, a young bride found a century ago lying next to her dead husband in a blood-soaked wedding dress. Mircalla's mysterious phantom soon emerges from Andreu's dreams and enters her world. This twist on Sheridan Le Fanu's story "Carmilla" (which also inspired Carl Dreyer's Vampyr and a host of erotic horror films in the 1970s) suggests that this vampire is less an agent of evil out to corrupt the innocent maiden than a physical manifestation of the maiden's own subconscious sexual fears and fantasies. The mysterious blood-spattered bride rises from her grave like an avenging devil. Her "official" entrance, buried naked on an empty beach and breathing through a snorkel, is one of the most memorable images in modern horror cinema. It seduces Andreu, too, unleashing her repressed psychosis in a bloody homicidal frenzy. Aranda's style is earthier than French or British vampire films, less a dream world than a world invaded by nightmares. It's handsome and accomplished--spooky, edgy, sexy, and startlingly violent. --Sean Axmaker« less
"Don't get me wrong here...I like this film quite a bit and this new DVD from Anchor Bay looks great....but the movie just disappoints because it could have been so much more. First off, this new letterboxed DVD is the first time it's been released uncut in the USA...I think it's about 10 minutes longer than the old Gorgon Video release...and although some of that is just exposition, I do think there is some extra nudity and gore that had been previously edited out (but I'm guessing from memory). The movie has a cool serene feel to it, several really haunting moments, and a good share of blood and nudity...but the script just doesn't have much momentum....there's no suspense and no drive to the plot....it just unfolds slowly with really no where to go. After you've sat there for 101 minutes and the movie's over --- it's hard to remember anything about it! Just call it Euro-Fluff. So it's a mixed bag --- definitely worth a look for euro-fans or lesbo vamp fanatics -- but don't expect too much going in."
An excellent Euro horror
Rich Bradson | USA | 06/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll keep this quick and simple. If you like Euro Horror stuff from the late 60's and 70's than you can't go wrong this film. Although the title is much, much cooler than the film itself, it is still a good representation of Euro horror. Reminds me of Torso and Tourist Trap a little, just a little. Nonetheless, it's a great buy for your collection and the print rendered on this DVD is excellent!"
This is some fine Spanish horror.
Robert Cossaboon | The happy land of Walworth, NY | 06/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Aside from tombs of the Blind Dead/Return of the Blind Dead, there isn't much to choose from when it comes to horror from Spain. Blood Spattered Bride is one of the finest exports of the genre from Spain. It is a movie about revenge and pre-emptive revenge driven by the engines of rage, paranoia, male domination and female escape. Most of this movie achieves a dream-like sequence, and at times, stupor. There are never any boring moments, except for the love trysts in the first fifteen minutes of the film or so. My two favorite scenes are of Miralla's first appearance in our young bride, Andreu's, dream, and then of Mircalla's first corporeal manifestation . . . on a beach . . . naked . . . buried-and breathing through a snorkel! Aranda has succeeded in telling a very unsettling story about vampirism. By the end of the film, you will be so unsettled by the characters of Mircalla and Andreu that you really won't care whether there were vampires in the film in the first place, because you will have discovered far worse."
Good looking and sexy, but not much depth
A. Griffiths | London | 01/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Blood Spattered Bride is an easy film to enjoy aesthetically, but quite hard to appreciate plot-wise. The film concerns two young newlyweds whose lives are overturned by the arrival of a mysterious woman who proceeds to seduce the wife and cause general death and mayhem alll round. The film does look gorgeous, and both female leads, (Maribel Martin as the young wife, and Alexandra Basteda as the mysterious intruder) are very sensual and beautiful, even if for a lot of their screen time, they appear in silence or staring enigmatically into thin air, particularly in the case of Martin, who is required to take on an almost comatose blankness a lot of the time. I mentioned that the plot is a problem with this film, and as the character of Susan is pivotal to the story, it's often quite difficult to work out what's actually happening as this character is extremely reticent in demonstrating what she is thinking. Right at the start of the film, Susan is undressing on her wedding night, only to be raped in her hotel room by a masked attacker. When her husband finds her later and asks what is wrong, her only comment is: "I don't like this hotel"...!! What does this mean? Is she deeply traumatised, or not that upset, or was the whole attack just a fantasy? You wouldn't know either way, as the matter is never referred to again. Still more unusual is that Susan is definitely the heroine for the first half of the film, confused and isolated, and constantly pestered for sex by her sleazy husband (whose character is never fleshed out at all). She makes it clear that she is unhappy, yet carries on drifting through life in a semi-dazed state.
That is, until the character of Carmilla arrives on the scene. In one fell swoop, the unlikeable husband suddenly becomes the innocent victim in the proceedings, and the second half of the film charts his investigations into why Susan and Carmilla are spending more and more time together, and what they are plotting to do together. It's an odd switch to turn Susan into the villainess of the movie after making her so sympathetic in the early stages, but when I thought about it I realised that maybe Susan was never meant to be a sympathetic character, but instead her refusal to concede to her husband's sexual advances was designed to earmark her as the pervert instead of him...!
Well, I'll leave other viewers to work out their own explanations, but I found the overall tone of the film rather unpleasant if the solution to Carmilla's evil influence (at least Carmilla is unambiguously evil all the time!) was to lump poor Susan in as "evil" as well, rather than have the husband try and rescue her. That aside, I do appreciate the film on several other levels. It's gorgeously filmed, in many stunning locations, and it's full of many, many stylish touches. Look out for the recurring image of Carmilla's inverted rings, the ornate dagger that refuses to stay hidden, the bizarre discovery of Carmilla buried in sand, and the scene in which Susan locks herself in a large cage of fluttering birds to avoid her husband's advances. Plus the film has several moments of extreme violence, most noticeably a dream sequence in which both women stab and mutilate the husband while he sleeps. It's very gruesome, and the DVD has the the longest version of the scene I have ever witnessed among the various releases of this film. It also includes the notorious ending that was always cut on past video releases - however this is more infamous than graphic and very little is actually seen on screen. Animal lovers need to know that a live fox caught in a trap gets blasted with a shotgun at one point, which is the type of thing I hoped never to see again outside of the "cannibal" genre, but apart from that, all the violence is well intergrated into the story. If you can forgive the meandering plot and main characters whose motives and emotions are hardly ever made visible, there's a lot to enjoy in this film. Alexandra Bastedo makes a superb Carmilla, and her designs on Susan are bewitching to watch. Add that to all the potent imagery on display and you can possibly forget the rather abrupt macho retribution that passes for the happy ending.
Robert Cossaboon | 01/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Blood Spattered Bride" is a pretty decent specimen of the European Gothic cinema. The story develops a bit slowly, but is handsomely mounted and photographed. The "female rage" theme is explicit and disturbing. The actresses playing Carmilla and Susan are quite attractive. The film handles their lesbian relationship with a restraint that is rare in Euro-horror items."