Saturday, 3 August 2013

Curse Of The Crying Woman

This quick-off-the-mark Mexican homage to Mario Bava's Black Sunday wastes no time in creating a haunted world that, on its own terms, comes close to giving the Italians a run for their money.

As a coach bearing three travellers continues its journey through an eerie wood, a sightless woman, flanked by three hounds, silently bids her henchman to stop the coach and murder its occupants. Hell of an opening, and, for the viewer, things get even better when Emily (Rosita Arenas) arrives at her Aunt Thelma's spooky hacienda, a matter of hours before her 23rd birthday.

As one of the most renowned films from Churubusca Azteca Studios, The Curse Of The Crying Woman certainly lives up to its reputation, with Rita Macedo taking centre stage as the black magic woman who plans to use her niece to help resurrect one Marianne Lane - 'The Wailing Witch.'
Macebo and Arenas are both excellent here, pushing their compelling battle of wills to the limit, while Salazar (Emily's husband) and Moctezuma (Thelma's hired hand, rescued from the gallows) make for good opposing characters; the real deal, however, comes with some exceptionally unnerving special effects: haunted mirrors, decaying not-quite-dead bodies, Macedo's gobsmacking entrance through a window and a wonderful series of shots featuring satanic rituals, shot with negative film stock - think Benjamin Christenson meets Italian Gothic. Just a few of the highlights from a film which may have come under the scrutiny of a pre-Baron Blood Mario Bava and, possibly, Dario Argento: check out Inferno again and note not only the finale, but also certain dialogue similarities.

Unfortunately, the DVD from Casanegra is now out of print, but well worth the effort to track down.
The film has been remastered from newly restored vault elements, and contains a commentary track from Mexican Cinema expert Michael Liuzza. There's also a full colour booklet,with some terrific poster art and writing on the legend
of La Llorona.

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