The Blood Spattered Bride
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Till Death Do They Part! A beautiful young bride marries into a family with a dark secret and quickly becomes haunted by dreams of a mysterious woman. When her visions become flesh, the newlywed finds herself drawn into a nightmare of unholy communion, violent murder and forbidden sexual desires. Written and directed by Vicente Aranda (LOVERS) and starring Simón Andreu (BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN), Maribel Martín (A BELL FROM HELL), and Alexandra Bastedo (THE GHOUL), this haunting shocker of lesbianism and reincarnation is based upon Le Fanu's immortal vampire tale “Carmila.” THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE has been restored from the original negative materials and is presented completely uncut and uncensored.
"A Unique Vampire Tale Graced With Hefty Dollops Of Eroticism!" --Mondo Digital
"Plenty Of Eerie Atmosphere And Dark Sexuality... Highly Recommended!" --Film Threat
"Sexy, Scary And Smart!" -- Audio Video Revolution
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.25 x 0.5 inches; 3.52 Ounces
- Item model number : 3961963
- Director : Vicente Aranda
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, NTSC, Widescreen, Color, Dolby
- Run time : 1 hour and 41 minutes
- Release date : July 1, 2016
- Actors : Simon Andreu, Alexandra Bastedo, Dean Selmier, Maribel Martin
- Language : Unqualified, Unknown (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
- Studio : Blue Underground
- ASIN : B001B1Q3LC
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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He then takes his new bride to his family castle and introduces her to his staff, where the Housekeeper (Montserrat Julio; IT HAPPENED AT NIGHTMARE INN - 1973) introduces Susan to her young daughter, Carol (Rosa Rodriguez; KNIFE OF ICE - 1972), who hands Susan a single red rose. Susan asks Carol how old she is and she says fourteen, but her father (Angel Lombarte; THE KILLER WITH A THOUSAND EYES - 1973), the Butler, tells Susan that Carol is only twelve, she likes to pretend she is older. Susan then asks Carol if she likes school and she says yes, but her teacher recently died. The Housekeeper tells Susan that she died in a car accident, Carol is still very upset about it and she's starting with a new teacher tomorrow. Susan asks if she was fond of her teacher and Carol shakes her head yes. Andreu (which I will call him in this review since he doesn't have a proper name. Will it be revealed later?) says he hasn't been to his family castle in many years, telling Carol the last time he saw her she was just a baby. As the Housekeeper shows Susan to her room, her wedding veil gets snagged on a miniature cannon on the floor. Is this a portend of things to come?
As Andreu tells the Housekeeper, "It's been a long journey. And full of exciting events", Susan looks out the window of the master bedroom and sees a strange woman in a wedding gown with a shawl pulled over her head walking away. We then find out Susan is a virgin, Andreu saying to her, "We should have made love before." Susan shoots back with, "You never asked me!" He asks Susan if he should turn around while she undresses or should he undress her? "Whatever you like", replies Susan, so he rips her wedding dress off her body, revealing it was him who raped her back at the hotel (It's not much of a surprise since Andreu has a very prominent nose, one that cannot be hidden with a stocking pulled over his head). Susan screams in terror and Andreu tells her to be quiet or the servants will hear her. Susan then sits on the bed and gives herself freely to her husband, like any obedient wife should (if you are a sandwich short of a picnic, that is!). Andreu then rips off her bra and panties and does the dirty, Susan with a look on her face as if to say, "What have I gotten into?"
The next Morning, Andreu wakes up Susan and says, "Sweet morning. You lived through your wedding night." Susan says to him, "This isn't the first time you've been with a woman", and he doesn't deny it, Susan saying it doesn't matter because he was good, very good! She asks him how she was and all he has to say is "great", but he doesn't say it convincingly. He licks her navel and makes her laugh, which the Butler hears and smiles. They spend the whole day in the bedroom, the Housekeeper leaving their meals by the bedroom door. We then discover Susan is an artist, drawing a portrait of her husband. Everything seems happy and peaceful for the newlyweds, as they make love nearly everywhere in and around the castle (Carol listen to them making love while she is feeding the many captive pigeons that are kept in a large walk-in cage). Andreu shows his true colors when he goes fox hunting with the Butler. A female fox has been caught in one of the traps and instead of letting it free and giving it a chance to live, he puts both barrels of his shotgun into the fox at point blank range. I wonder what he would have done if it were a male fox?
Susan begins to notice all the portraits of her husband's male ancestors hanging on the castle walls and particularly takes notice that many of them died at an early age. She asks Carol if she knows who any of them are and she says no, it's not allowed to talk about them. Susan wonders why there are no portraits of women hanging on the walls and Carol tells her that they are downstairs, in the cellar (I don't know about you, but I'm getting a distinct feeling that it is not safe being a woman in this unnamed family. It would be so much better if this family had a proper freakin' name, but something also tells me there is a reason for that!). Susan asks her husband why all the women's portraits are in the cellar and he says he doesn't know, he didn't put them there. Susan doesn't want to hear it, demanding that the portraits be "rescued", brought upstairs and hung next to their male counterparts. Andreu's answer is to scoop Susan up in his arms, carry her to the bedroom and boink her, which she doesn't seem to mind.
We then see Susan in the woods, shouting out, "It's me! Can you hear me?" We then see the woman with the shawl, whom Susan calls "The Bride." Andreu suddenly appears behind Susan and when she asks him if he saw The Bride, his answer is to lift her up by her hair and then forcing her to give him oral sex! Before he can finish, Susan breaks free (spitting and wiping her mouth with her hand, leaving no doubt to what had just transpired) and runs away, Andreu calling for her, saying, "Come on. Don't be silly!" (like forced oral sex isn't rape!). We then see (in a sequence that makes no sense at all) some naked male legs walk into the bathroom and get into the bathtub, where Susan is taking a bubble bath. Susan looks up and says, "Oh, no, please", as if this has happened before. Andreu then begins calling for Susan, so she runs into the pigeon cage and locks herself in. Andreu tells Susan to open the door, but she then takes her hair ribbon, ties the cage's key to it, attached it to a pigeon and lets it fly into the wild. Andreu gets so angry she did this that he kicks the cage's door open. If you are looking for answers from me, I'm afraid I am as in the dark as you are, but I hope this film tries to explain half of the story's many confusing scenes. It turns out that this scene does have an explanation. Susan is teasing her husband so he will make love to her in the pigeon cage (yeech!). He begins to, but then Carol appears to feed the pigeons and the "romantic moment" is lost.
While Susan is painting Carol's portrait, she tells Susan that her husband put all the women's portrait in the cellar; her mother told her he did. She also tells Susan that her husband's grandfather discovered that his newest bride was trying to poison him and she ran away to Paris to get away from his abusive behavior. When Susan asks Carol if her mother also told her that, Carol replies, "No, at school I heard that. Everybody knows about it!" Susan says it is nothing but wild stories, but Carol says it's all true and that's the reason all the women's portraits were taken down and put in the cellar. Carol then says, I think you like it when he hurts you", but Susan tells her, "Nobody hurts me" and then hands Carol her portrait. Carol acts disappointed, asking, "Is that how I look?" Susan says she's even prettier than the portrait and then asks Carol if she has seen the women's portraits in the cellar. Carol says yes, she has seen them, so Susan grabs a flashlight and heads to the cellar, looking at the portraits. Nearly all of the portraits are of women who can politely be called homely, but one portrait gets her attention. It is that of a beautiful woman holding a dagger and when she looks at the nameplate, it reads "Mircala Karstein". But wait, is that dried blood streaming down the portrait or was it painted that way? (There is also a fairly shocking jump scare during this time.) When Susan looks at the portrait again, it has Carol's face, Carol revealing that Mircala's portrait had her face cut out, but why? Susan laughs at the funny faces Carol makes, but the laughter quickly stops when Andreu grabs Susan's shoulder and shines his flashlight in her face. He looks at the portrait and says, "Do you know who she was? If you knew, you wouldn't laugh." He tells Susan to come with him and he will tell her all about Mircala Karstein. He takes Susan to the family crypt, which is in ruins, pieces of stone architecture piled up in the middle, forming a small mountain of rock and rubble. He then shows her Mircala Karstein's tomb, where he kicks it and it produces a hollow sound, as if it were empty. Susan asks if this is really Mircala Karstein's tomb and Andreu replies, "I suppose so." She then asks if Mircala belonged to his family and he replies, "Yeah, in a way." (For someone who promised to tell Susan all about Mircala, Andreu's answers are very evasive, aren't they?). "But your name isn't Karstein", says Susan, her husband answering that it was her maiden name and she didn't have time to change it (To WHAT for Christ's sake? For crying out loud what is your freaking family name? I'll even accept a nickname at this point!). Andreu tells Susan that Mircala didn't have time to change her name because she killed her husband, his grandfather, on their wedding night. Susan walks away and her husband says that, according to legend, it was because her husband tried to make her do "unspeakable" things (I guess it runs in the family). When Susan asks what unspeakable things, Andreu replies, "Nobody knows" because it was omitted prudishly from family records, which is a shame, because "it would be the most amusing part of the story." Susan asks how Mircala died and her husband says she didn't die, she was found spattered with blood while still wearing her wedding dress, next to the dead body of her husband. Her eyes were wide open and rigid, with warmth and color in her body. "They waited for two years before they decided to bury her, but they never managed to take the dagger out of her hand, burying it with her. You see, even though Mircala was clinically dead and she had no pulse, her body didn't begin to decompose, so they buried her and wiped her memory from the family records." (Which would explain why her face was removed from her portrait). I wouldn't be giving anything away by telling you that "The Bride" is actually Mircala Karstein (Alexandra Bastedo; I HATE MY BODY - 1974) and if you know anything about Sheridan Le Fanu's story "Carmilla", you know that she is a lesbian vampire. Since what I have explained to you happens in the first thirty minutes, allow me to summarize what happens next before this turns into a short story rather than a review.
*Andreu opens Mircala's tomb for the first time in 200 years, picks up a forearm bone and snaps it in half in Susan's face, sending her running in fear. He tries to make it up to her by making love to her, but Susan refuses, telling him, "You're like a puppy waiting for its food."
*Mircala visits Susan in her bed, hands her the dagger ("It's yours now.") and bites her on the neck. Andreu tells her it was nothing but a dream, but she changes his mind by showing him the dagger. Carol tells Andreu that she put the dagger in Susan's bed and that a lady in a wedding dress gave it to her in the woods, telling her to put it in Susan's bed. Andreu takes the dagger and hides it, telling Susan she will never find it. Wanna bet?
*That night, Mircala pays Susan another visit and shows her where Andreu hid the dagger. Susan takes the dagger and, with Mircala's help, stabs her husband over and over in the chest while he sleeps. Mircala then removes Andreu's heart and eats it. It all turns out to be a dream, however, because in the morning Andreu is still alive.
*Andreu then buries the dagger on the beach and he discovers a nude woman buried in the sand, who is wearing a scuba mask and breathing below the sand using a snorkel! She gets into Andreu's car and he drives her back to the castle and gives her a room. Susan meets the woman, who tells her that her name is Carmila (also played by Alexandra Bastedo). Andreu seems more interested in Carmila then he does his wife. Susan paints Carmila's portrait ("Is that the way you see me?") and they soon become fast friends. Susan looks at the portrait she drew of The Bride and notices she looks exactly like Carmila. She tells her husband that Carmila will force her to kill him and he tells her not to be ridiculous, they can't possibly be the same person. He begins to worry when he sees his wife taking midnight strolls with Carmila. Susan starts to act distant and angry at her husband, thanks to Carmila. Hatred for him is infecting Susan's blood and mind. Andreu calls in a Doctor (Dean Selmier; SCHOOL OF DEATH - 1975) to examine Susan and he tells him that he should take Susan to a psychiatrist, but Andreu says it's too late for a head-shrinker, showing the Doctor proof that Carmila is a vampire. The Doctor laughs at him, saying it's him who needs a psychiatrist. The Butler tells the Doctor that he saw Susan and Carmila in the woods and Carmila was biting Susan on the neck. The Butler also says the two women were howling "Like two cats in heat. They sounded like vampires!"
*The Doctor decides to spy on Susan at night, following her as she walks through the woods in a trance, seeing her meet Carmila and following them into the family crypt. He hears Carmila say to Susan, "I live only through your vibrant life. And you will die gently, in order to live through me." Carmila punctures an open wound in Susan's hand, drinks her blood and then makes Susan say, I hate him!" over and over, telling her that her husband has "pierced her flesh to humiliate her" and "He has spat inside your body to enslave you" (That's an interesting way to describe it!). Their moans of pleasure make the Doctor slink away, telling Andreu that Susan is under the control of a lesbian (!) and that his life is in danger because "three is a crowd"!
*We then discover that Carmila is Carol's new teacher at school and she is under Carmila's control. Carol hands her the key to the locked drawer where Andreu hid the dagger. Susan gets the dagger and stabs the Doctor to death (with Carmila's help) when he tries to stop her. Then Susan and Carmila go after Andreu, but he is expecting them. Carmila tells Susan, "Find his heart and cut it out! Silence him!", but he jumps in his car and drives away. Carmila gets her foot stuck in a fox trap and the Butler finds her and tries to tie her hands behind her back, but Susan viciously slashes him with the dagger, finishing him off with both barrels of his shotgun.
*The finale comes with Andreu finding Susan and Carmila totally naked and sleeping in Carmila's coffin. He closes the lid and fires a volley of bullets from his rifle into the coffin. A river of blood flows from the bullet holes and then Carol appears, saying, "They come back. They cannot die." Andreu then shoots Carol in the back of her head! He then opens the coffin, where we see him using the dagger to cut off Carmila's left breast. The film ends by showing us a newspaper article, where the headline reads, "Man Cuts Out The Hearts of Three Women."
This is a sexy, gory trip into Spanish Gothic horror, punctuated by graphic bits of bloodletting (much of it involving the dagger) and crammed with full-frontal female nudity. Director/screenwriter Vicente Aranda (THE EXQUISITE CADAVER - 1969) has adapted Sheridan Le Fanu's story (Changing the names slightly from "Carmilla Karnstein" to Carmila Karstein" to avoid legal copyright laws), pre-dating Bram Stoker's "Dracula" by twenty years, and placed it in modern times, but there are many Gothic moments, including Andreu's rather large and creepy castle, as well as the stone edifices surrounding it (including the decrepit family crypt) and the dark and dank cellar, placing it in the ranks of some of the best Italian Gothic horror films of the '60s. It is the nudity and sex, however, which makes this film so surprising. I remember watching this film on TV in the late-'70s and not being impressed, because all the nudity, sex and extreme violence were edited out, making the film nothing but a shell of its former self. Simon Andreu is no stranger to the genre, starring in NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1973), as well as many giallo flicks, including THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION (1970), DEATH WALKS IN HIGH HEELS (1971) DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT (1972), right up to the affecting EYES OF CRYSTAL (2004). He is still acting up to this day. Be aware that this is a slow-moving film, yet it is never boring, thanks to Aranda's keen eye for the little things, which will eventually later morph into things very important to advance the plot (Mircala's face being removed from her portrait being one of those "little things"). This is a film that demands all of your attention, so if you plan on cutting your toenails when watching this, I would advise you not to because you're likely to miss some important info. While I wouldn't go as far as to call it a classic of the Gothic horror genre, this is still a quite enjoyable and eye-opening foray into sex and violence, sometimes within the same scene, making this the perfect film to watch on a rainy night with all the lights out. Are you brave enough to watch it under these conditions?
Filmed as LA NOVIA ENSANGRENTADA ("The Bloody Bride") and also known as BLOOD CASTLE, this film obtained a theatrical release in the United States in 1974 by Europix International, in a severely edited print that still received an R-Rating by the MPAA. This edit was missing all the full-frontal female nudity, as well as some of the more graphic bloodletting. It is this version that made its way to the many VHS releases in the U.S., from companies like Gorgon Video and Vestron Video. Be aware that the VHS tape released by Ariel International Releasing (A.I.R. Video), titled TIL DEATH DO US PART, clocks in at 83 minutes and is missing nearly 20 minutes of footage, so avoid it at all costs. In 2000, Anchor Bay Entertainment released an uncut widescreen version of this film on VHS & DVD. Blue Underground also released it on DVD in 2006 (my review is based on this DVD) and, in 2018, Mondo Macabro released it on Blu-Ray. If you are an Amazon Prime member in the States, the uncut widescreen print is available streaming for free. This uncut version is Not Rated. Oh, and one final thing: They never gave the husband a freaking proper name! Or the Butler. Or the Housekeeper. Or the Doctor. If there's some hidden meaning for doing this, I'd be interested in hearing it!
Good direction. Pretty casting. Great production design and beautiful settings. Thoughtful music cues. Not sure about the voice actors - the cast spoke in English but were overdubbed cuz of accents. It's not very distracting except in 1 or 2 scenes, so good syncing overall.
Loose adaptation of Le Fanu's story Carmilla with its lesbian theme. The heroine is also a newlywed & the director takes the opportunity to explore some negative aspects of the masculine.
Female nudity but we don't get to see even the posterior of the groom. Ah well. Maybe an issue in chauvinist 1972 Spain.
Also, and finally, the marketing makes this film look like it's loaded with violence/gore, but it's actually used sparingly and therefore to greater effect.
Prime video features a high quality transfer.
"Bride" concerns a young bride and her boorish husband, and the ghostly woman who comes between them. No one morphs into a bat or carries garlic, though, and the supernatural threat is never fully explained, so very literal-minded people might avoid the word "vampire." This movie is its own thing.
It is worthwhile chiefly for its many haunting images (some even surreal), and I like that it takes a real stab (pun intended) at ideas and characters who are more than one dimensional (though not 100% successfully). There's a little nudity, but the pacing is more concerned with atmosphere than action. Some of the scares fall flat -- but there are also some truly startling moments.
If you appreciate unique, atmospheric horror that is very 1972 in its ideas and execution, then buy this DVD. It is a minor classic.
Unfortunately, there are no special features.
What I liked about this movie was that the script was very good, the actors did a fine job, the locations (mansion, forests, ruins of an old abbey, etc.) were marvelous and wonderfully photographed. Complementing all of this is a haunting score that really sets the tone for this dream-like thriller.
You can enjoy all of these attributes, because the DVD itself is so nicely mastered. The colors are sumptuous and the sound is rich and clear. The DVD menus are easy to navigate as well.
Treat yourself to this forgotten gem, I don't think you'll be at all disapointed!
Top reviews from other countries
This was on it's release heralded as one of the most graphic Vampire films ever. The Blue underground release isn't any stronger than the Christopher Lee Count Dracula offerings, that tells its own story. Something is way wrong here! In the last reel Simon Andreu, the aggrieved husband, or over zealous contol freak depending on your point of view finds his wife Maribel Martin having a lesbian moment in a coffin built for two with the sensuous MIrcalla, played by the foxy Alexandra Bastedo, (Sharon Macready in the Champions) and proceeds to open fire on them with an M1 carbine, after death he begins to cut in the ribcage of Ms Bastedo. The film ends abruptly with the banner headline ''Three women killed, their hearts cut out.'' This described not shown. Having waited 30 yrs to see the uncut version of this means disappointed doesn't even come close!