01 September 2014

The Black Pit of Dr. M (1958)
82 min.
Directed by Fernando Méndez.
With Gastón Santos, Rafael Bertrand, Mapita Cortés, Carlos Ancira, Carolina Barret, Luis Aragón, Beatriz Aguirre, Antonio Raxel.
Dr. Aldama (Raxel) and Dr. Mazali (Bertrand) are colleagues in the medical profession. Between them, they also share a strange personal pact. Whoever of the two dies first, that one promises to come back from the dead and reveal the secret of life after death. Dr. Aldama is the first to take the dive.

And he holds true to his word. His ghost visits Dr. Mazali, and vows to reveal the mysteries of the beyond in approximately three months. But the unveiling of the Afterlife won't be straightforward for Mazali. Suddenly, Aldama's estranged daughter Patricia (Cortés) appears. Then, at the sanatorium where Mazali works, a psychotic patient throws acid in the face of an orderly (Ancira), disfiguring him for life.

Are the two events somehow related? It would seem so. In order to impart the truth about death, Aldama's ghost has set in motion a bizarre series of cause-and-effect sequences. Mazali will learn all there is to know about death...whether he likes it or not!

This supernatural horror from Mexico is saddled with a needlessly complicated plot. But it's all delightfully earnest, and director Méndez conjures up quite a bit of gothic atmosphere (case in point, the moody gallows scene). Other highlights include the well-done acid scene in the asylum, and also the great moment where Mazali is 'reborn' after death. Fun midnight viewing.

Spanish title: Misterios de ultratumba.

copyright 1998-present | The Terror Trap; www.terrortrap.com | all rights reserved