Archive for Santiago Segura

PERDITA DURANGO (1997) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by goregirl

I thoroughly enjoyed Álex de la Iglesia’s Day of the Beast, so the director’s name was on my radar. When his film Perdita Durango showed up on the 1997 IMDB horror list I knew it was one I had to seek out immediately. Is there anything better than discovering a director with an already well-established resume of films?! For me it is absolutely goregasmic! Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango certainly did not disappoint but I would hardly call it a horror film.

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Perdita Durango and Romeo Dolorosa meet at the Mexican border. Romeo is attracted to Perdita at first glance and asks her if she would like to accompany him on his journey. In the back of his vehicle is a freshly dug up corpse that he plans on using in one of his rituals. Romeo introduces himself to Perdita as a scientist but is in fact a practitioner of Santeria, a syncretic religion that he believes brings him good fortune in exchange for blood sacrifice. They manage to cross the border without incident. After some energetic sweaty sex Romeo conducts his ritual as his partner Adolfo collects money. Perdita does not actually believe in this hocus pocus but Romeo does and she is happy enough to play along. Romeo is introduced to Santo through his cousin and agrees to take a job. $10,000 in cash up front and another $10,000 when the delivery is made. The task is to get a truckload of fetuses across the Mexican border to a Las Vegas cosmetic company. Romeo however is unaware he is being trailed by Willie Dumas; Special Agent for the Federal Narcotics Division. Perdita suggests he hold one more ritual before he performs the job. She suggests a gringo be sacrificed; something his followers will never forget. Faster than you can say pass the tequila; the couple kidnap a pair of blond-haired all American college students. And so begins the adventures of Perdita and Romeo!

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I had no idea there was a tie-in to David Lynch’s Wild at Heart until someone on twitter mentioned it to me. I have seen Wild at Heart at least 20 times in my life and did not make the connection. Shame on me!! In fairness Perdita Durango is a very minor character in Wild at Heart, but still I should have clued in. After seeing Rosie Perez in the role I think Isabella Rossellini was an odd choice. I am dying of curiosity to read Barry Gifford’s book 59 Degrees and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango. Barry Gifford wrote the books on which both Wild at Heart and Perdita Durango are based. Evidently Barry Gifford also wrote the screenplay to Perdita Durango along with David Trueba, Alex de la Iglesia and Jorge Guerricaechevarría. In a way the two films are somewhat similar although there is more humour in Perdita Durango and less weirdness; but both could certainly qualify as violent love stories.

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Rape, murder, robbery, grifting, kidnapping, Perdita and Romeo do it all! Perdita and Romeo are both people who take what they want and rarely question the results of their actions. There really is something undeniably appealing to me about characters with no borders. Have you never had the urge to be naughty? I mean…really naughty? Have you never dreamt of holding up a bank with 70s-era Franco Nero or robbing an art gallery with a blond-haired and pierced Tadanobu Asano? Okay, I might be alone on those two. Most of us however weigh the consequences and don’t act on these urges. It is so much fun living precariously through fictional film characters!

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Perdita Durango

Javier Bardem and Rosie Perez have positively electric chemistry! Perdita Durango is the role Rosie Perez was born to play! She is trashy, dangerous, and unforgiving as Perdita but she is also spunky, full of life and alluring. I really loved her in this role; I really don’t think she has ever been better or more perfectly cast! Perdita has a reoccurring dream where she is in bed with a Jaguar; it speaks so perfectly to the character’s personality! Javier Bardem is psychotic, charismatic and full of sexual bravado as Romero Dolorosa. He is the perfect partner for Perdita and the two have an undeniable fiery connection. Duane and Estelle the young couple Perdita and Romeo kidnap are blindingly blond all-American types whose scrubbed clean existence is utterly rocked by the eccentric duo. They are raped, slapped, pushed around, screamed at and witness some serious violence at the hands of Perdita and Romeo. Their world will be forever changed after this experience; if of course they survive it. Harley Cross and Aimee Graham are equal parts grating and sympathetic; Duane and Estelle sort of grew on me by the end of the film. Federal agent Willie Dumas is a douchebag, and a damn durable one; James Gandolfini is perfect in the role; his character takes a serious freaking beating! Romeo’s ritual right hand man Adolfo is an absolute hoot and is played with great enthusiasm by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Don Stroud plays Santos and is dead on as the bad-ass gangster.

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There is a ton of violence and sweaty sex in this film! What can I say? I like violence and sweaty sex! Does it have a moral lesson to teach us? Sure, if you consider live by the sword die by the sword a moral lesson. Perdita Durango is funny, violent, action-packed, sexy, salty and a crapload of energetic fun!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

Starring: Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Harley Cross, Aimee Graham, James Gandolfini, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Demián Bichir, Carlos Bardem, Santiago Segura, Harry Porter, Carlos Arau, Don Stroud, Alex Cox, Miguel Galván, Regina Orozco

THE DAY OF THE BEAST (1995) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by goregirl

The best thing about doing these top ten lists is discovering the hidden treasures. For all my (mostly justified) whining every year of the 1990s has had at least one previously undiscovered nugget of gold. One of my favourite new discoveries so far has been The Day of the Beast, an action/comedy/horror hybrid from Spain. The Day of the Beast is about the end times; you know, when the Antichrist will be born upon this earth and will reign supreme over all mankind. I have no idea why there are not more comedies on the subject because personally I think that shit has such enormous humorous potential!

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Angel Berriartua a Priest and Theology Professor has cracked the code and discovered the day on which the Antichrist will be born. Angel travels to Madrid committing as much sin as possible in an attempt to  invoke the devil. He has figured out the birth will take place in Madrid, but the problem is he has no idea where in Madrid. Angel meets Jose Maria a dedicated fan of heavy metal working in a small record store. Jose gives him the address of a boarding house his mother runs and recommends he check out a club called Hell. Angel is getting desperate as the time ticks away and decides a television personality calling himself Cavan can help. Angel and Jose Maria follow Cavan home where Angel knocks him out and ties him up. Cavan of course, is nothing more than a television personality and admits to Angel that he is a fraud. Angel refuses to hear it, and gives Cavan a good beating and insists he guide him through an invocation ritual. Much to Cavan’s surprise the ritual works but will they discover the location of the Antichrist’s birth before it is too late?

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Whether Angel has indeed cracked the code and discovered the true birth date of the Antichrist is left ambiguous right up to the finale. The Day of the Beast’s opening scene starts out with a monstrous sized cross falling and crushing a priest to death. A bad sign perhaps, but a sign of the impending birth of the Antichrist? Not necessarily. During the ritual performed by Angel, Cavan and Jose Maria they see some trippy weird shit, but as part of the ritual they mix acid into the blood. Could be tripping out right? Considering their mission is to locate some pregnant woman somewhere and kill her baby, one would like to be 100% sure. Of course Angel believes it completely and utterly. No one can sway Angel from his mission and he does some pretty crazy things with such utter conviction. Watching Angel sinning up a storm was hysterical. He steals money from a beggar, keys some cars, steals a book, swipes a guy’s luggage and listens to death metal among other naughtiness. Angel is a fantastic character; his actions cracked me up regularly.

Jose Maria is the last person you would expect to hook up with a priest. Jose Maria is a dedicated metal fan, part time record store clerk and a full time acid head. When we first meet Jose he is handling a shoplifter by shoving the guy’s head through a glass display case. An intimidating few seconds but Jose is really a pussycat. He lives in the boarding house with his grandfather who walks around in the nude and his mother who is one tough broad. He gives his grandpa half a hit of acid every day to give him some pep. He is also a big fan of Jesus Christ Superstar. He is not exactly the brightest light bulb but he does end up being quite helpful and even a hero by the time the film is over. Mina is the young woman he loves. Not really, but he’s been trying to bang her for a while and she just isn’t giving in. Mina helps out at the boarding house and is the only twenty-something virgin in Madrid; she becomes important.

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“I can help you achieve the impossible” Cavan

Cavan is a hugely popular television star loved by wives and mothers all over Madrid. He can tell you your future, he can perform exorcisms and he can even invoke the devil. Cavan arrives home to a message from his girlfriend saying that she is on her way over. Cavan doesn’t hesitate when the door bell rings. Unfortunately for Cavan it is Angel and he is about to give him a good whack to the head. Cavan is a rather good sport about all of it if you ask me. He takes a pretty freaking good beating from Angel. Of course no one is more surprised when the invocation appears to have worked than him. Cavan is the perfect arrogant showman, just the sort of character you would expect to be hosting an occult television show. Cavan is alright man.

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The Day of the Beast does have a few serious moments, and a few violent ones too but let’s face it, the coming of the Antichrist can’t be all fun and games! The Day of the Beast is a ton of energetic, funny, action-packed goodness. The characters are a blast and the acting is great. The Day of the Beast is seriously entertaining! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

Starring: Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza, Santiago Segura, José María, Terele Pávez, Nathalie Seseña, Maria Grazia Cucinotta