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La maldición de la Llorona – THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Mexico, movies, Trailer with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by goregirl

I thought the name Abel Salazar seemed familiar. He played the wacky Baron Vitelius in the 1962 film ‘Brainiac‘, which I reviewed back in September. It was released one year before ‘Curse of The Crying Woman’. Both films were made in Mexico, but that is about the only parallels I could draw. ‘Curse of The Crying Woman’ is a considerably more ambitious film in both plot and visuals. It is a dark gothic tale with a gooey folklore centre that is oh, so delicious!

Amelia accepts an invitation to visit with her Aunt Selma, whom she hasn’t seen in many years. Along with husband Jaime, they travel to her villa in the woods. Strange things begin to occur almost instantly upon entering her aunt’s home. Amelia is feeling uneasy, and realizes that her aunt is not the same woman she once knew. Aunt Selma shares with her the horrific story of the curse of the crying woman. She reveals to Amelia the hidden agenda behind her invitation. Amelia is to be the final sacrifice that will resurrect the powerful cursed woman. Only this woman can grant Selma the omnipotence she desires.

The opening scene of the film is great. We see Selma, possessed by the cursed woman, standing on the side of the road with some large dogs. Also standing nearby is Juan, her badly scarred and limping servant. Mist settles down around the bare trees and the silence is broken by the sound of a stagecoach. They cause the stagecoach to stop, and kill all three passengers and the driver. It’s a mighty opening scene full of mood and style. ‘The Curse Of The Crying Woman’ is filmed in beautiful black and white and has more mood and style than you can shake a candelabra at! The sets and props used throughout the film are perfect. Selma’s Mexican villa is extraordinary. It’s almost like a cave inside with its massive ceilings and adobe walls. I’ve never seen so many staircases! Wandering around this place is like playing a game of snakes and ladders! The most peculiar prop is the massive cast iron bell. It is the type of thing that would normally hang in a bell tower in a church. Every home should have one!

A quirky cast of characters nicely compliments the strange folklore storyline. It is the character of Selma that is the real showstopper. A striking older woman who exudes charm and elegance, but yet a cold aloofness. Her actions are calculated and precise and she handles her horrific tasks calmly with a steady sense of purpose. She may be crazy as a loon but the woman knows what she wants! We don’t really learn much about Juan, other than he is a faithful servant to his mistress. It is he who does much of her dirty work. The guy is strong as an ox but is burdened with a badly scarred face and one nasty limp. He is forced to go up and down the homes numerous staircases, and it is almost painful watching him get around. But like Selma, he is a man with purpose. There is also a third person living in the house with Juan and Selma. They keep him locked up and give him a good whipping when he needs it. You’ll learn more about him when you watch the film. He doesn’t have much to say, but he definitely has a bone to pick with Juan and Selma. Finally we have Amelia and Jaime our newly married couple. The lovely Amelia spends most of the film being horrified and husband Jaime is the voice of reason in a most unreasonable situation.

I was really impressed with Selma’s makeup in the film. When she is possessed, her eyes go black, which is pretty cool. But they do an effect with the skin around the eyes that makes her look bug-like, or alien-like. The final result is fantastic! I thought Juan and locked up mystery man’s makeup also looked good. There are neat effects with a mirror that work well. A terrific flashback sequence relating to the curse had a wonderfully dream-like vibe that is masterfully done. Overall, the effects in the film are very good, but their limited budget does show through in a couple scenes. Most notable is a scene near the end when the house is falling apart. They cut back and forth to the action inside the house and then outside it, to show the extent of the damage. It looked kind of cheesy, but even this scene is not completely without its charms.

It’s a rich but simple folklore yarn of witchcraft, curses and evil. With wonderful sets, interesting characters, and creative effects, the sinister mood will keep you mesmerized. If you love the black and white gothic horror of the 1960’s than you have to seek out this little gem from Mexico. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Rafael Baledón

Starring: Rosa Arenas, Abel Salazar, Rita Macedo, Carlos López Moctezuma, Enrique Lucero, Mario Sevilla