• Bloody Flesh

    Released by: One 7 Movies
    Released on: January 8, 2013.
    Director: Carlos Mayolo
    Cast: Adriana Herrán, David Guerrero, Santiago García, Vicky Hernández
    Year: 1983
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    The Movie:

    Carlos Mayolo directed and co-wrote this film released in its native Colombia as Carne de tu Carne (the same title that appears on the print used for this DVD), which translates to Flesh Of Your Flesh. That’s not quite the same as Bloody Flesh, the odd retitling it’s been given by domestic distributors One 7 Movies, though it fits the description they’ve given the movie on the packaging, calling it ‘an unsettling contemporary take on the classic witchcraft horror stories’ and declaring it ‘a horror film unlike any other that you might have seen.’ While it’s true that the picture does use elements of horror, most noticeably in the last twenty minutes or so of its ninety minute running time, this is obviously more of a strange, somewhat surrealist work of social commentary than a traditional scare film.

    At any rate, the movie is set in the mid-fifties in Columbia and when it begins we witness the death of an older woman. From there, the family gathers as their lawyer reads the will aloud. Many are shocked to learn that she’s left a house and sizable chunk of land to her estranged brother, Enrique (Josue Angel), who reportedly brought shame to the family years ago. Shortly after, an earthquake hits and sends the family scrambling. With their home in ruins, Andres Alfonso (David Guerrero) and his half sister Margareth (Adriana Herrán) join the rest of the family, lead by their mother (Lina Uribe) and Andres’ father (Santiago García), as they head to their country home while the city recovers.

    When they arrive, the half siblings are sent to find their uncle Enrique and to let him know that not only has his sister passed on but that she’s left him the house he’s been using for years. When they meet him, he explains that the reason he was disowned by the family is because of his socialist leanings and his attempts to help out the poor people in the area. On the way to the home, however, they get wet from their trek through the woods. Enrique insists that they change clothes – Andres puts on some of Enrique’s clothes and Margareth of her departed aunt’s white wedding dress. Shortly after this, strange things start to happen – the ghosts of certain family members seem to control them, they indulge in their incestuous desires and they start to crave blood.

    Though Bloody Flesh has a lot of interesting mood and atmosphere, not a whole lot happens in the first half of the film. There’s the odd moment that stands out – a man blowing the head off of an all too real turkey for example – but most of it is made up of clips of the different family members talking about the will and who inherited what. Once Andres and Margareth make their way to Enrique’s house, however, things do start to get more twisted, and therefore, more interesting. Though the violence that the hyperbole on the cover promises is mild and the incest scene performed by fully clothed actors, it’s not for no reason: the movie simply doesn’t need to stoop to more exploitative levels than it does and it leaves much of its seedier side up to the viewer’s imagination.

    The film definitely deals in Colombian myth and folk story and as such, those without a prior knowledge of that type of material may find themselves confused by things. As such, this isn’t the most accessible film, as on top of that it also delves into Colombian politics of the time as well. There’s a bit of a learning curve here, maybe, but even with those obstacles it’s easy to appreciate the mood and atmosphere that Mayolo (who worked with Werner Herzog on Cobra Verde) is able to conjure up in the latter half of this odd movie. Just keep in mind that getting to the more interesting part of the movie requires some patience, as the first half of the film is some pretty slow moving territory.


    The film is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe, which appears to be the right aspect ratio for the film, in a transfer taken from film elements that have seen better days. Color fading is present throughout and there is all sorts of print damage visible from start to finish, showing everything from cigarette burns to vertical scratches to pretty much any sort of blemish you can imagine. It doesn’t appear any restorative work was done here at all. With that said, there are no compression issues to complain about – just know what you’re getting into with this one, the print used for the transfer was not in very good shape, though it’s watchable enough.

    The Spanish language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix on this disc, which comes with optional English subtitles, is well balanced enough but does contain some random bits of hiss and some crackling now and again which appear to be source related. The score sounds decent and the narration is clear enough that you can follow it.

    The only extra on the disc is a trailer, appearing here in Spanish with no subtitles provided. Outside of that we get a static menu and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Though it’s hardly the horror movie that the packaging makes it out to be, this is an interesting picture if you’re willing to stick with it. It goes into dark places and peeks under the rug, making some obvious and not so obvious references to the use of violence in Colombian society with varying degrees of success. It doesn’t always work, but when it does it’s impressive. A strange film, and periodically quite a slow one, for the more tolerant cult film fan with an appreciation for low budget arthouse style, it is worth a watch.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      Great review, as always, Ian. I shared similar sentiments when I watched this, and I'm glad I stuck it out through the first half, because the last act was just totally bizarre. That poor turkey...
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Thanks! And this is definitely a 'right frame of mind' type of film. I started it twice before actually managing to get through it. Was glad though that I did. Pretty interesting stuff.