• Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (Blu-ray)



    Released by: Code Red Releasing
    Released on: May, 2014.
    Director: Juan López Moctezuma
    Cast: Christine Ferrera, David Young, John Carradine, Helena Rojo
    Year: 1975
    Purchase From Code Red

    The Movie:

    Directed by Juan López Moctezuma, the man best known for bizarre and surreal horror films like Alucarda and The Mansion Of Madness, 1975’s Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary doesn’t quite take on the same levels of insanity as those two pictures do. In fact, compared to those other films, Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary feels like Moctezuma light, though there are touches here and there that would seem to be coming from the same place as the other movies mentioned. The film was previously released by 3-D Circus, sourced from a pretty ratty looking VHS source. When we reviewed that disc a year or so back, Code Red’s Bill Olsen got annoyed. In fact, he accused me of, and I’ll paraphrase here, orally pleasuring the company that had put that release out. And hey, it’s a free country and my skin is pretty thick, and at this point bygones are bygones. As it turns out, Code Red had properly licensed the film and claimed that this was a bootleg release. Did we know that? No. But the review was done and it didn’t sit right with me to delete something I’d put some work into, particularly as said review called out the lousy video quality of the disc and therefore served a purpose to anyone interested in the movie. In the interests of fairness, however, we put up a disclaimer noting that the disc was unauthorized, that there was a Code Red release in the works and let the review stand as a point of reference. I told Bill if his release came out, I’d buy it and I’d review it. Now that this officially released disc is available, we’re keeping our word. We’ll get into the technical details of this new release shortly, but let it suffice to say that if you’re a fan of this movie, this is the version to own. But let’s talk about the odd little movie that is Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary first…

    The storyline follows a beautiful young woman named Mary (Christine Ferrera) who makes a decent living as a painter of strange, sometimes macabre, images. When she meets a young man named Ben Ryder (David Young), they quickly fall in love but what David doesn’t realize is that Mary is… different. See, she’ll hang out and have a cup of coffee or cook up some breakfast with you, but what she really needs to survive is human blood. So while she and Ben are enjoying their whirlwind romance, she’s sneaking off and stabbing people in the neck and then sucking out all of their sustenance.

    The cops in the area aren’t stupid. They realize by the time that they find the second body drained of its blood and contaminated with a knock out drug that something is up, and they suspect that it might have something to do with the new stranger in town, Ben. They track him down and question him but can’t prove anything. Mary, meanwhile, is being stalked by a man dressed up like The Shadow (John Carradine) and yielding a knife – what he wants of her is anyone’s guess but Ben is bound and determined to stop him from getting to her. While all of this is going on, Mary’s art career is on the upswing thanks to the efforts of Greta (Helena Rojo), a sexy lesbian art dealer who has a thing for her.

    Shot in Mexico where it takes place the movie has an interesting semi-exotic vibe to it in spots, particularly when we head to the beach. Upon the arrival of Mary and Ben, we see a small group of young Mexican men head into the surf and beat up a shark (this is a real shark, those sensitive to animal cruelty in films may want to take note), then drag it onto the shore and leave it there along with a few turtles that they tip over onto the backs of their shells. Ben flips the turtles over and helps them get back into the water while Mary chastises him for his sympathy, noting that as soon as they get into the ocean the sharks will smell their blood and they’ll be done for.

    A little bit of sex and nudity, a little bit of bloodshed and a whole lot of atmosphere can go a long way towards overcoming a modest budget and Moctezuma manages to do just that by using those traits right. Carradine’s character could have been played by more or less anyone, in fact there are long and obvious stretches in the movie where his character is being played by a stuntman, but it’s cool to see him in the movie and he’s fun in the role. Ferrera is the real reason to want to watch this one, however. Mary is sexualized from very early on in the movie, we understand why most of those around her want her as she is made to be very beautiful, mysterious and alluring. Ferrera handles this well. Not only does she look the part but she has an interesting sort of confidence to her that gives off a nice screen presence. Her very soft lesbian scene with Rojos is interesting as it’s one of the few times in the film that she seems caught off guard and unsure what to do with herself as Rojo’s character undresses her and becomes the aggressor. The rest of the time, she’s quite content sneaking around behind Ben’s back and murdering various bit part players for their blood and then coming back and lying right to his face about it. At the same time, we never get the impression that she wants to do this and we feel that if she were given the chance to walk away from it and have a normal relationship with the man she loves, that she would do just that.

    One of the things that really stands out revisiting the film on Blu-ray is how well shot it is. The widescreen framing improves on the visual compositions considerably and the increase in detail, texture, depth and color helps to accentuate the lighting and the style employed in the storytelling. The film shows its low budget from time to time but a solid plot, a fun cast and some really interesting ideas help to overcome that in a big way. Here’s a film ripe for rediscovery.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary debuts on Blu-ray from Code Red framed at 1.78.1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. The difference in quality between this disc and the tape sourced fullframe 3-D Circus release is like night and day. You can view images from that disc here, and I suggest that you do as it’ll give you a pretty good idea of the difference in quality between that release and this release. While there’s still some print damage here the 35mm elements used for this transfer were obviously in pretty solid shape. Some color fading shows up here and there but that’s the exception not the rule and typically this is a bright and colorful transfer when it needs to be and appropriately shadowy and atmospheric when the story calls for it. Black levels are pretty strong and skin tones are nice and natural looking. Though there are a few element related nicks and scratches, there aren’t any issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement. This isn’t a pristine image, but again, it’s a massive upgrade and naturally film-like.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track is also pretty decent. Dialogue is well balanced and easy to understand. The eerie score sounds good as well. You might pick up on a bit of hiss if you’re really listening for it but it’s never really an issue. For the most part, there’s good depth here and decent range as well. For an older mono mix of an obscure, low budget movie, the audio quality is just fine. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.

    The only extra on the disc, which isn’t listed on the back of the packaging, is at least a good one – it’s an interview with producer Henri Bollinger who speaks for just over fourteen minutes. He talks about how he co-produced the picture, how he got into this one to make a horror picture on a reasonable budget because it was almost a sure thing that it would turn a profit. He then talks about how the movie was financed by some people in St. Louis, his thoughts on the script, and his thoughts on the film as well as the cast and crew he was involved with making the picture. Static menus and chapter selection are also included and the cover art is awesome.

    The Final Word:

    Though Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary doesn’t have the same level of surreal insanity that Moctezuma’s better known pictures do, it’s an interesting and well made slice of seventies horror weirdness. The film is well shot, features some nice atmosphere and okay moments of tension and it’s got a pretty cool cast on top of that. The presentation on this Blu-ray leaves previous versions in the dust, presenting the film in the best version currently available and with a pretty keen bonus interview too.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























    Comments 2 Comments
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Nice review, I like this offbeat blood drinking opus, well everything but that shark attack Wondering how come the caps are cropped, they look fullscreen, not OAR?
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      This would have been a nice surprised had I found it on a budget set but for a $28 investment I was left underwhelmed. The opening minutes have some wonderful atmosphere but most of the middle was boring and left me scratching my head. The bit where Carradine’s character picks up a hitchhiker was just stupid. Most of the detective work and romance was boring as well. Had they ended the film a few minutes earlier without wrapping up the police work I might have enjoyed the film more. There was the potential of a powerful ending in there.