Alucarda by Juan López Moctezuma at FICMBy: Cobertura por Jaime Garba, reportero (@jaimegarba)
Within the Gothic Film Program, the 13th FICM, in collaboration with the Cineteca Nacional, the UNAM film archive and Fundación Televisa presented Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas (1977) by Juan López Moctezuma, the legendary director of horror films. The film was screened at the Cinépolis Morelia Centro and was presented by Tina Romero, who starred in the movie.
Cult filmmaker López Moctezuma, who has forged generations of faithful followers, was a film director, actor, musician, radio host and promoter of jazz music. He began his career producing Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first films. With Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas, he managed to penetrate the collective consciousness of Gothic cinema lovers.
One cannot deny the influence of classic horror literature in Juan López Moctezuma’s work. Books by Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanue and U.S. author Edgar Allan Poe are reflected in Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas and La mansión de la locura (1973), respectively.
Even though he spent the last days of his life in a psychiatric hospital and was almost forgotten, López Moctezuma came to understand the legacy that he would leave and the international recognition that his works would achieve. In 1974 La mansión de la locura received the award at the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, Barcelona, and the Gold Medal at the Paris International Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival, in France, while other films like El alimento del miedo (1993), To kill a stranger (1987) and Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975), a feature film presented at the 11th FICM by the renowned U.S. director Quentin Tarantino on his third visit to Morelia, are indisputable references in the history of Mexican horror films.
At the screening of Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas at the 13th FICM, Tina Romero said:
“It’s wonderful to be at FICM. It’s my first time at the festival and I’m falling in love with the festival and the city. The festival atmosphere, the context-packed movies and film lovers, as well as Morelia, are extraordinary. It’s an incredible combination.”
About Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas:
“Alucarda is my first film in 35 mm. I had already worked in Super 8 before. Alucarda made an impression on me. For a long time I would ask myself why I had agreed to play the character, but today when I see it in retrospect I feel very fortunate to have been part of the work, which now is a cult film. I love the costume design, the atmosphere, absolutely everything.”
The screenplay was written by López Moctezuma himself in collaboration with Alexis Arroyo, and features performances by Claudio Brook (who was a recurring star in his films), Tina Romero and Susana Kamini.
Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas takes place in 1750, when the orphan Justine comes to live in a convent and meets Alucarda, a strange young woman fascinated with vampire stories. Justine forges a macabre friendship with Alucarda when Justine hurts her finger and Alucarda drinks her blood. The confessor believes them both to be possessed and tortures them as part of an exorcism. A well-meaning doctor accuses the priest of killing Justine and shelters Alucarda in his home, giving rise to a series of bloody events.