Wednesday, December 26, 2012

La endemoniada (1968)

... aka: Endemoniada: De la serie historias de amor y aventuras, La
... aka: Possessed: In a Series of Love and Adventure Stories, The
... aka: Possessed, The
... aka: Possessed Woman, The
... aka: Woman Possessed, A

Directed by:
Emilio Gómez Muriel

For the crimes of practicing witchcraft and murder (including her first husband), Princess Fausta de Santillane (Libertad Leblanc) is stripped of her nobility, has a spiked mask pushed onto her face to destroy her beauty and is then bricked up behind a wall where she will die a slow and agonizing death and her evil soul will forever be trapped. Before her death, the Princess's henchman Gonzalo del Benetto (Enrique Rocha), who's rumored to be a vampire, manages to swipe her sacred necklace before disappearing into the night. 400 years pass. It's Christmastime and a wealthy yet unhappy extended family gather together to celebrate. There's Pablo (Rogelio Guerra), his wife Bertha (Adriana Roel) and their little girl Martita (Alejandra MacBride), Marcos (Arturo Martínez) and his wife Lucia (also Leblanc) and the aged matriarch of the clan (Bertha Moss), who's a nasty and bitter old woman who's tight with her purse strings and chews Lucia out for dressing inappropriately in tight black jeans and a loose-fitting blouse when her own daughter is sitting in the same room wearing a peek-a-boo nightie (!) Lucia's childhood friend Ricardo (Carlos Cortés), whom her husband is jealous of, pops in for a visit. And so does another unexpected stranger... Gonzalo.

Gonzalo has just purchased the Santillane castle next door and invites everyone, most especially Lucia, over for a visit. The place hasn't changed over the centuries and, while he waits for Lucia's arrival, he sinks his fangs into a woman (Norma Lazareno) he's lured there using a newspaper ad for a "secretary." The long-dead princess' skeletal remains are still bricked up behind a wall in the castle's cellar and Gonzalo hopes to transfer look-a-like Lucia's soul into her body to revive her. He puts a necklace on her and awakens the spirit of Fausta but the full possession won't take place until the New Year. In the meantime, the film deals with a concept called "bilocation;" where someone possessed by a spirit that had the same physical characteristics in a past life creates a doppelganger. So Fausta is temporarily able to materialize in the world at the same time Lucia is around without actually taking control of her mind or body. This naturally causes much confusion for everyone involved.

People soon turn up dead, starting with the old crone mother, who has her punch poisoned. Lucia's husband, who wanted his mother dead anyway for the money, gets smothered with a pillow, Gonzalo continues to lure young attractive young women to the castle to feed on and Fausta sneaks out onto a farm to take care of a studly blacksmith (played by former bodybuilder, pro wrestler and heartthrob "José Alfonso Torres" / Juan Miranda). Police eventually get involved but have to sort through conflicting stories being given by the various family members.

Ideas have been pinched from numerous sources, including BLACK SUNDAY (1960) and other Italian and American Gothic horrors, for this Mexican production. They even throw in some Picture of Dorian Gray with a painting of the young Princess being both her preservation and, ultimately, her downfall.

This one seems tailor-made to showcase the charms of the sultry, platinum blonde female star. As Fausta, she gets to cavort around in frilly pink lingerie seducing men into her trap and then killing them. Her usual routine involves getting the guy on top of her, reaching under the bed and grabbing a Medieval dagger and then stabbing them on the back. The version that I watched (which runs just 77 minutes) has many abrupt editing jumps, which happen every single time things threaten to get too spicy. In other words, any time Leblanc's top is about to be removed the film immediately jumps to the next scene. It does the same thing several times during violent moments, so it's quite likely that what I watched was a censored TV print. Too bad. This is still watchable either way. I'm not familiar at all with Leblanc, who was born in Argentina and a a major sex symbol in her day, but she's pretty good as the femme fatale and certainly nice to look at.

This is one of many Mexican genre films from this time that has never been released in America. It's pretty fun if you don't mind simple storytelling and can look past the rather cheap-looking sets and unimpressive photography.


No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...