The Blood Spattered Bride
|La Novia Ensangrentada|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vicente Aranda|
|Produced by||Jaime Fernadez-Cid|
|Written by||Vicente Aranda|
|Music by||Antonio Pérez Olea|
|Editing by||Pablo Gonzalez del Amo|
|Distributed by||Morgana Films|
|Release dates||September 30, 1972|
|Running time||100 minutes|
The Blood Spattered Bride (Spanish: La Novia Ensangrentada translation: "The Bloody Bride") is a 1972 Spanish horror film written and directed by Vicente Aranda, based on the vampire story, "Carmilla" by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. It stars Simón Andreu, Maribel Martín, and Alexandra Bastedo. The film attained cult film status for its mix of horror, vampirism, rejection of fascism, and progressive ideas on gender and sexuality. A well-known U.S. trailer advertising a double feature paired with the 1974 film I Dismember Mama was filmed in the style of a news report covering the "story" of an audience member who had gone insane while watching the films.
Susan, a newly married young woman still wearing her bridal gown, leaves on honeymoon with her new husband and eventually arrives at a hotel. Another woman seems to be stalking the couple from her position in a nearby car, and when Susan is left alone in the room for just a few moments, she has a violent fantasy of a strange man leaping out of the closet and raping her. Her husband returns she insists on leaving, and they do.
The couple arrives at a house where the husband apparently grew up. This is where the rest of the story unfolds. The wife sees the woman from the hotel in the woods on the property but she does not tell her husband. Susan notices in the house that there are paintings up of male ancestors but none of the wives. She is told by the servants' daughter that the wives' paintings are in the cellar. Susan notices that one of the paintings of the wives has the face cut out of it. Susan's husband tells her that the woman in the painting is named Mircalla Karnstein, one of his ancestors, who two hundred years before murdered her husband on their wedding night because he supposedly made her commit unspeakable acts. Susan has violent dreams involving the mysterious woman she has been seeing. She wakes up and finds a dagger under her pillow. Susan starts to become detached from her husband. The husband calls on a doctor to figure out why she is having all of these dreams and what is wrong with her. Soon Mircalla is invading Susan's dreams, persuading her to use a mysterious dagger, which keeps reappearing no matter where it is hidden, to butcher Susan's husband as Mircalla did hers.
One day while strolling out on the beach, the husband discovers a naked woman buried in the sand; only her snorkel provides air. He digs her out and takes her home, where she reveals herself to be Carmilla. Susan falls under the spell of Carmilla, a vampire who seduces her and drinks her blood. The husband finally catches on that Carmilla is really his ancestor Mircalla Karnstein and that his life is in danger. The repressed Susan's desires are awakened in the intense lesbian love affair, and she embarks on a spree of bloody mayhem. They kill the doctor, the guardian of the property, and they try to kill the husband, too, but he kills them while the two women are resting in their coffins as vampires. After this happens, the servant's daughter arrives, and reveals that she was bitten too; she then kneels and allows the husband to shoot her once in the head. He returns to the coffin with a dagger, and the scene cuts to a newspaper column declaring, "Man cuts out the hearts of three women," suggesting the husband was found and arrested for three murders.
- Simón Andreu as the husband
- Maribel Martín as Susan
- Alexandra Bastedo as Mircalla\Carmilla
- Rosa Maria Rodriguez as Carol
- Dean Selmier as the doctor
The husband represents Francisco Franco's fascist patriarchy, and the film's major themes are dedicated to criticizing these values. His chauvinism and sexual aggressiveness are used to critique the male social order of Franco's Spain, which valued highly valued machismo. Aranda provides alternatives to social realism and fascism through the film.
The film was first shown in the USA under the title Till Death Do Us Part in a cut version, and released on DVD uncut and uncensored as The Blood Spattered Bride. The DVD was first released by Anchor Bay Entertainment on January 30, 2001. It is presented in English language; no subtitles or additional audio tracks are provided. The film was later reissued on DVD by Blue Underground, first as part of a two-disc set with another lesbian vampire film from the early 1970s, Daughters of Darkness, and then separately.
- "La Novia Ensangrentada (1972)". Rovi. The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- Willis, Andy (2003). "Spanish Horror and the Flight from Art Cinema". In Jancovich, Mark; Reboll, Antionio Lázaro; Stringer, Julian; Willis, Andy. Defining Cult Movies: the Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 77–78. ISBN 978-0-7190-6631-3.
- "Review of 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1". DVD Drive-In. Retrieved 2008-04-25.