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(aka "The Curse of the Crying Woman" or "La maldición de la Llorona" or "La casa embrujada ")


directed by Rafael Baledón
Mexico 1963


Recently married Amelia (Rosa Arenas) travels with her new husband Jaime (producer Abel Salazar, THE BRAINIAC) to the remote mansion of her Aunt Selma (Rita Macedo) after several years without seeing her. Unbeknownst to the newlweds, Aunt Selma moonlights as an eyeless specter who causes a series of deaths in the area with the help of a knife-throwing maniac (also her handyman) and her three mastiffs and that Amelia figures into her plan to resurrect the corpse of The Crying Woman (whose skeleton currently resides in the basement torture chamber) at midnight. Adapted to film at least three times prior, the legend of La Llorona tells of a woman who murdered her own children to be with the man she loved only to subsequently be rejected by him causing her ghost to wander in search of her own children. That backstory has largely been dispensed giving the woman little reason for wailing since she's your standard witch (but negative-printed flashbacks used to illustrate her hellish past utilize excerpts from THE BRAINIAC and WORLD OF THE VAMPIRES).

Macedo obviously relishes her villainous role (the original Spanish audio track is a must for her performance) and Arenas has the terrorized female down to a tee (having been menaced by an Aztec mummy in a prior trilogy of films) but Salazar does not have much to do but blame his wife's reactions - to downright bizarre occurrences he has witnessed himself - on her nerves until the fisticuffs-filled climax. Special effects are variable with some great trick shots and miniatures but the artifice of some effects are made apparent by clarity of the digital presentation. The set design is wonderfully detailed and includes a VERTIGO-inspired bell tower (when the bell finally toles, it rains down centuries of dust) and it all comes crashing quite believably in the climax. The film also features an early appearance by Macedo's daughter Julissa (who starred in three of Boris Karloff's final Mexican-produced horror films). Some of the violence is also surprisingly graphic for an early sixties film (although the commentator points out director Baledon's stylistic debt to Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY and the like).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 15 August 1963 (Mexico) / 9 April 1969 (USA)

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DVD Review: Synapse Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Synapse Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:20:00

1.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio Synapse Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.28:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Mexcan Cinema Expert Michael Liuzza
• Essay on actor/director Rafaele Baledon by David Wilt
• Cast Biographies
• Poster and Stills Gallery

DVD Release Date: November 23, 2009

Chapters 16



After years of availability on poor quality tapes sourced from 16mm TV prints (pre-GATT Treaty) and a previous unauthorized DVD release also from the TV print, Casa Negra presents CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN in its original Spanish version in a beautiful 35mm-sourced progressive transfer. The clarity not only adds gloss to the wonderful studio interiors and exteriors but it also makes apparent the edges of some nevertheless-unsettling prosthetic make-up applications, the wires carrying a flying decayed corpse (whose hurtling towards the camera remains effective), and close-ups of ravenous dogs chunks of hamburger off a sheet of glass in front of the camera. The disc features both English and Spanish menus (as well as a dual language, double sided cover) and also includes Spanish subtitles for the English language audio commentary. The commentary is not as good as Frank Coleman's ones for other Casa Negra releases but it conveys some interesting information (including a 1961 date for the film's production despite the 1963 IMDB listing and that the film had its American TV release before a US theatrical issue). Although the cover makes no mention of it, the disc does also feature the K. Gordon Murray-directed English dub track (which in its attempt to match the mouth movements of the actors makes for some halting line readings and dialogue that differs from the subtitled translation) which is recommended only for the nostalgic who saw the film on US TV in the late sixties (unlike, say, the Murray-dubbed ROBOT VERSUS THE AZTEC MUMMY, the dubbing here really spoils the atmosphere).

The Casanegra label is now defunct but the titles have been re-released by Synapse Films (along with titles by the defunct Panik House) but they are limited to the excess inventory on hand (the Amazon link above will take buyers to a new entry for the film; not the original release entry which is considered "out of stock"). Synapse Films have no plans to reprint any of the releases as of this time.

 - Eric Cotenas


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Synapse Films

Region 1 - NTSC



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