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CARNE DE TU CARNE

Politically minded Columbian horror pivoting on incest and vampirism. Despite flaws the film isn’t bad, being quite visually evocative and unpredictable.

The Package
     In light of the recent South American genre renaissance, it seems pertinent to look back at some classic horror films from the region, such as the Brazilian O ANJO DA NOITE (1974) and AS FOLHAS DO FOGO (1978), as well as the Columbian PURA SANGRE (1982) and this 1983 effort. Like those other films this one is largely unknown in the English speaking world, although CARNE DE TU CARNE did receive a surprise U.S. DVD release in 2013 by One 7 Movies, under the title BLOODY FLESH.

The Story
     Back in 1956, in the Columbian city Cali, young Andres’ beloved grandmother dies. Andres and his family attend a reading of the old woman’s will, accompanied by Andres’ half-sister Margaret, who’s just returned from a lengthy sojourn in the U.S. Andres and Margaret are immediately attracted to each other, and appear ready to act on that attraction when a nearby explosion occurs that blacks out the area.
     The following day Andres and Margaret head out to the secluded home of the eccentric Enrique, their deceased grandmother’s brother, in order to gather supplies and inform him of his sister’s death. This entails a long drive down bumpy country roads, followed by a horse ride up a mountain. Enrique turns out to more than live up to his reputation as an eccentric, regaling Andres and Margaret with drunken reminisces about his early years.
     That night Andres and Margaret finally consummate their relationship in Enrique’s house, but are interrupted by what appear to be ghosts. It seems the spirits of the past, evoked by Enrique, are tangible presences whose psychic influence on Andres and Margaret is profound.
     Andres and Margaret become vampire killers, terrorizing the region by enacting scenarios from ancient folklore--thus confusing the populace, who believe mythological creatures are afoot--while possessed by the unquiet spirits of their ancestors. But when the two steal an infant from a peasant couple the latter track Andres and Margaret down--and then kill and bury them.
     A day later the peasant couple return to Andres and Margaret’s gravesite, where they’re met with a surprise…

The Direction
     CARNE DE TU CARNE’S opening moments inform us that it’s dedicated to Roger Corman and Roman Polanski, whose respective influences are fully evident--at least in the second half. Otherwise the film is a rather stately political drama structured around actual historical events that occurred in Columbia during the 1950s, and which doesn’t announce itself as horror themed until around 50 minutes in.
     Horror fans willing to put up with those opening 50 minutes should be sated by what occurs in the final 40, which are agreeably gory and atmospheric. Director Carlos Mayolo has a gift for eerie visual compositions rivaling those of the aforementioned Corman and Polanski. The haunting sight of the protagonists sprawled out on the floor of their devastated room is an unforgettable one, although Mayolo also utilizes some hackneyed elements, such as drifting mist during the ghost sequences and a distracting electronic score that seems more suited to something from the 1970s.

 
Vital Statistics

CARNE DE TU CARNE (BLOODY FLESH)
Producciones Visuales Itda.

Director: Carlos Mayolo
Producer: Fernando Beron, Bertha de Carvajal
Screenplay: Jorge Nieto, Carlos Mayolo, Elsa Vasquez
Cinematography: Luis Gabriel Beristain
Editing: Karen Lamassonne
Cast: Adriana Herran, David Gerrero, Santiago Garcia, Vicky Hernandez, Carlos Mayolo, Sebastian Ospina, Lina Uribe, Josue Angel

     

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