Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary |
directed by Juan Lopez Moctezuma
I'm going to do all I can to keep this undeservedly obscure film from being forgotten entirely. The film's main draw is, of course, Christina Ferrare in the role of Mary. I daresay you won't find a more elegant and beautiful vampire anywhere -- and she even does some nude scenes here, which struck me as rather racy for a 1975 film.
But perhaps I shouldn't be throwing the word "vampire" around too much here, for some have described this film as a vampire film without vampires. To be sure, Mary is no conventional vampire, as she spends plenty of time outside during the day without damaging her flawless porcelain white skin, displays no superhuman strength, sleeps in a bed like a normal person and never sports anything resembling fangs. In fact, she obtains the blood she periodically needs by sedating her chosen victim with poison, then stabbing him/her in the neck with a hair pin in order to get the delicious juices flowing. She drinks every last drop, though, and that qualifies her as a vampire in my book. Apparently, though, we're supposed to look upon her affliction as some kind of disease.
On the face of things, Mary seems to be leading a fairly normal life in Mexico. She's a successful painter, and she seems to be in a good relationship with an American hitchhiker she met during a pounding rainstorm. Unfortunately, one of her victims was some kind of American diplomat, and now both the Mexican police and the FBI begin tracing a line of singular killings leading from her last travel destination back to her hometown. The feds don't suspect the charming and beautiful Mary, of course -- but they aren't so sure about her vagabond boyfriend. The cops are the least of Mary's concerns, though, because some mysterious and disfigured man appears to be trying to kill her. Still, a girl's got to eat (and drink), you know.
Time has not been kind to Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary; this 1975 classic is in dire need of some restoration work, although I actually sort of like the cinematic atmosphere the scratchy print lends to the whole presentation -- it has quite the feel of one of those classic '70s European horror films, and the soundtrack only reinforces that impression. The addition of John Carradine (although he gets very little screen time) also hearkens back to the horror renaissance years, so that's another plus in my book. There is blood here, in case you're wondering -- not a great deal of it, but enough to prove satisfying. And the ending works quite well, in my opinion -- which is always something of an unexpected bonus for a B-grade movie like this. I also found the acting quite satisfactory all the way around, especially that of Ferrare, who has to go back and forth between scenes of remorseless killing and moments of great vulnerability.
I like Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary for the same reasons some others dislike it -- the fact that it defies conventional vampire mythology. In a genre full of copycat scripts, this film stands out as unique. I think most true fans of the horror genre -- especially those with a sense of history -- will quite enjoy and appreciate Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary.
30 October 2010
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