Night of the virgin (2016)
La noche del virgen
Director: Roberto San Sebastián
Music: Jorge Granda
Cast: Javier Bódalo, Miriam Martín, Víctor Amilibia
Awww, Spanish Horror. Visually dripping with atmosphere, but story wise tending to naivety. But still you´re not worrying about all the time you spent with Paul Naschy or the blind dead in the senventies, or at least some of the work of Jess Franco. During the eighties Bigas Luna and Agustí Villaronga surprised with a new touch and a more serious approach to the phantastic genre.
Even in this millennium some strokes of genius, like the “Rec”-Series (2003-2014), the almost classic ghost movie “The Orphanage” (2007) or the mindfuck-movie “Timecrimes” (2007), went out to surprise audiences worldwide.
Next one finds Mexico in the list of countries producing “Night of the Virgin”. Always pioneering the phantastic genre – just think about the Santo-Series, the “Blood Island”-Movies by Eddie Romero or all the work of „Coffin Joe“ José Mojica Marins – and even more rooted in a childlike approach than their spanish counterparts of the same era. Mexico especially seems to have a big pool of genre-geniuses with directors like Alejandro Jodorowsky (loved by the critics even if his movies are as far from mainstream as possible) or Alejandro González Iñárritu, who seems to collect Oscars. And just the producing touch of Guillermo del Toro seems to be enough, to bring young talent like Andy Muschietti or J.A. Bayona to creative heights.
Combining Spanish and Mexican influences you probably get something like the strange movies of Álex de la Iglesia, a strange mix of repulsion, schock, surprises and a goddamned lot of fun – or movies like “Night of the virgin”, even while each comparison to something you saw before is really farfetched.
At least the story can be summarized in just a few sentences.
The virgin of the title is a young male named Nico (Javier Bódalo). While attending a New Years Eve party he gets picked up by middle aged woman named Medea (Miriam Martín) and follows her to her flat. This homestead is a hoarders dream and Medea a disciple of the nepalese Goddess Nashea, the “goddess of those who don´t deserve to be born”. Nico wants and Medea needs Sex, but before they find time to get into closer contact Medeas ex-boyfriend Araña (Víctor Amilibia) appears and starts guarding the front door. Nico, who in between also discovered that not all is right with his one-night-stand and already was planning his escape, is now part of a deadly triangle.
Starting from this simple plot director Roberto San Sebastián now works his magic and creates something that for me is a hilarious absurdist comedy, while my 27 year old daughter met the movie with disgust and repulsion.
“Sound like a TROMA-experience”, some will think now, but “Night of the virgin” works on a completely different level, even if actor Javier Bódalo looks and plays a lot like a little brother of Melvin Junko (before turning into the radioactive superhero) and the whole story is constructed around a planned sexual encounter.
The movie simply looks brilliant, Medeas dirty flat, where almost the whole movie takes place, is full of small detail – perhaps even to full of them in the bathroom set – and the camera always finds some new and interesting angles in the relatively small set.
Thanks to an excellent and creative script the main protagonists are well rounded and loyalty and sympathy between themselves and the audience changes often. The dialogue is really funny and avoiding tasteless humor in the style of Rob Zombie, even if you will hear words like joder, carajo und puta a lot in the original version. But that´s just the way the characters talk and fight, the real humor is a lot more subtle (f.E. a great gag about David Bowie) and in no way in your face and will probably not reach a “normal” audience.
Also working in a subtle way is the music which almost works against the visuals. Of course the electronic score by Jorge Granda has his loud passages, most of the time he is packing the audience in melodic pink cotton candy clouds, even if – or better especially when – the screen is filled with disgusting images. This is another point which will probably go right over the head of audiences just entering the theatre because of the promised shock-value.
Off course “Night of the virgin” also delivers in this area. A tidal wave of different bodily fluids floats over the actors – and in a way also over the audience. Starting more or less harmless with some sperm and menstrual-blood, the movie ramps it up in the last 30 minutes and is able to surprise even an hardcore audience like this writer. Off course this avalanche of splattering fluids is not very realistic, except from some puddle of vomit including some nice steaming croutons, but it´s the sheer mass of puking, shitting and bleeding that makes the difference.
So be prepared - “Night of the virgin” takes no prisoners, but people with a strange kind of humor and an eye for something special won´t be disappointed.