While recently visiting the local library, I decided to take a quick peek at the movie section, see if there were any horror movie surprises waiting to be discovered. There was. My introduction to Argentinean horror: Memory of the Dead.
What I was expecting: Gore gore gore galore. Maybe even a little something along the lines of giallo horror.
What I got: A twisted, gortastic spookfest with a delightfully disturbing and perverted take on giallo horror.
IMDB is telling me that this is a comedy-horror. I wouldn't go so far as to say there is comedy here. I never really laughed. There were just a few times where I smiled uncomfortably for a few seconds and then waited expectantly for something terrible to happen.
The story opens with a grieving wife who gathers her husband's best friends over to their mansion for a memorial service. The love poured out here is tear-jerking, to say the least. There are dedications said that will likely bring on some buckets of happy/sad tears.
And yet, and yet...something is not right. Something is terribly wrong. Just as you are wiping away the tear remnants, you are promptly catapulted into a surreal night terror of epic proportions. I use the word "catapulted" specifically because that is exactly how it felt. The movie begins and continues with no explanation. It just moves fast, furious, and takes no prisoners.
The first half of the story takes place inside the mansion. Viewers are provided with the false allusion that all the angry ghosts, hungry ghouls, never-ending darkness, and all-consuming madness are outside. The second half moves inside - into each of the individual guests' greatest fears - fears that also happen to come to life and be littered throughout the menacing mansion.
The majority of the movie plays out like a cold-sweat nightmare with few answers as to why. Don't worry! Answers will come in the last few minutes of the film.
Like giallo horror, Memory of the Dead, is visually stunning. It is also jam-packed with mystery and murder. Of course there is also sex. No good sex; e.g., rape, incest. Viewer discretion is advised. That said, I'm happy to report that these scenes, albeit striking, are scarce.
Derogatory slurs are thrown around, people are absolutely brutal to each other, blood and guts EVERYWHERE, monsters, witchcraft, and crippling, crippling love. Because don't forget! This movie is also a love story.
I enjoyed this film for its visuals, creativity, the unfolding of each character, and for the rather brilliant twist at the end. A must see for fans of supernatural horror, Latin horror, and of course anyone looking for an absolute gore fest.
This film should be seen in a small group of your closest friends. If someone is harboring a nasty secret, all the better. Pairs with wine, a little whiskey, a big bowl of pomegranates and mangos, steaks (rare), and if you can get your hands on some home-made empanadas with a mystery filling, even better.
One of the newest contributors to The Bloodlust website, horror movies have always played a significant role in Jolie's life. Since her introduction to Gremilns at the tender age of 5, growing up with four horror movie-loving brothers - all who managed to memorized the entire script of John Carpenter's The Thing at a young age - and a father who still delights in frightening them all at the dinner table with scary stories, it's safe to say watching horror movies is, in essence, her comfort food. A research health scientist for the government by day and a devotee to horror movies (particularly ghost and werewolf stories) by night, Jolie lives in Seattle with her artist husband, two cats, and created her blog, Horror Habit, to keep her out of trouble.