original poster for Alucarda
|Directed by||Juan López Moctezuma|
|Written by||Alexis Arroyo
Juan López Moctezuma
|Distributed by||Yuma Films, Films 75|
|Release date(s)||January 26, 1978 (Mexico)|
|Running time||74 min|
Alucarda (Spanish title: Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas, or Alucarda, the daughter of darkness) is a 1978 Mexican horror film directed by Mexican horror filmmaker Juan López Moctezuma, starring Tina Romero in the title role. Often thought to be based on the 1872 novella Carmilla, it revolves around two teenage orphan girls living in a Catholic convent, who unleash a demonic force and become possessed by Satan. Although it was made in Mexico, it is an English language film. It was released in theaters across Mexico on January 26, 1978.
The film takes place in a Mexican convent that not only serves as a place for nuns, but also as an orphanage. Alucarda, a fifteen year old orphaned girl, has lived at the convent her entire life. Another girl of near age, Justine, arrives at the convent, also an orphan. She and Alucarda become very close friends, and form a relationship that borders on being sexual.
While playing in the nearby forest, the girls stumble upon a band of mysterious gypsies, and subsequently unleash a demonic force after opening a casket at a nearby burial site. What follows is a bloody chain of events after both Alucarda and Justine become possessed by the Satanic entity, and wreak havoc on the convent and its inhabitants.
Alucarda is notorious for its extreme subject matter and themes, which includes that of Satanism, murder, demonic possession, exorcism, orgies, and lesbianism, among other things, within a religious setting. All of these things made the film controversial, especially for the time it was made. Because of its extreme violence, scenes of sacrilege, and perversly defiled religious imagery, it has gained notoriety among fans of the horror genre.
The film has been often compared to Ken Russell's 1971 horror film The Devils, and William Friedkin's 1973 film classic The Exorcist, due to the fact that Alucarda was released within five years of both of them, and that they share similar plot themes.
After the film's release in January 1978 in Mexico, it never received much attention from critics nor audiences, but over the years became something of an underground film and a B-movie cult classic. While it is not widely known by horror fans, many fans who have seen it consider it an unrecognized gem.
Columnist Michael Weldon of the Psychotronic Video Guide said the film was "The strongest, most imaginative, and visual witch movie since Ken Russell's "The Devils"." Well-known Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has also expressed his appreciation for the film and other works from director Juan López Moctezuma.