20 April 2014

The Curse of the Crying Woman (1963)
80 min.
Directed by Rafael Baledón.
With Rosa Arenas, Abel Salazar, Rita Macedo, Carlos López Moctezuma, Enrique Lucero, Mario Sevilla, Julissa del Llano, Armando Acosta, Beatriz Bustamante.
A gothic Mexican horror with loads of atmosphere.

Young newlywed Amelia (Arenas) receives an urgent message from her eccentric Aunt Selma (Macedo), requesting she come for a visit at once.

Amelia dutifully complies, and she and her husband Jaime (Salazar) travel to Selma's remote mountain castle. But once they arrive, they find things are beyond bizarre.

The manor is in crumbling disarray. They're greeted by a menacing, deformed servant named Juan (Moctezuma). And kooky Selma seems oddly distant, preoccupied by something ominous...

Might all the weirdness have something to do with the ancient legend of La Llorona - the "weeping woman" - and if so, how is Aunt Selma involved? What can it all mean for Amelia?

There have been several film adaptations of the La Llorona legend, the first being La Llorona in 1933, followed by The Crying Woman in 1960.

But this entertaining 1963 version proves the popular Latin legend still had some life left in it. Her eye movements in overdrive, Macedo positively chews the scenery as possessed Aunt Selma, giving us more than our money's worth (although she completely lost us in her rambling flashback scene with Jaime).

There's also an unexplained, apparently unfinished subplot with Amelia's mutated uncle Daniel, alive and imprisoned in an upstairs attic.

But amidst all the creaky door theatrics, midnight hocus pocus, and cobwebby fun, who really cares? Just dim the candles, whip up a margerita, and enjoy.

Spanish title: La maldición de la Llorona.

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