Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary is a 1974 (released 1975) Mexican-American horror film directed by Juan López Moctezuma (The Mansion of Madness, Alucarda) from a screenplay by Don Henderson, Don Rico and Malcolm Marmorstein.
The film stars Cristina Ferrare, David Young, John Carradine, Helena Rojo, Arthur Hansel, Enrique Lucero, Susana Kamini.
For years, only available on video, Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary was released in the U.S. on DVD in 2013 by 3D Circus, a company who apparently did not have the rights. Bizarrely, they also included a supposed 3D version even though the film was never shot in this process! Provocative modernistic artwork – see below – and the novelty of an obscure horror in 3D ensured that this release sold well.
Quentino Tarantino is a big fan of this movie, so in October 2013 he loaned his print to the Mexican Cine de Morelia film festival and made a personal appearance, saying: “It’s not a vampire movie per se, because the lead character, Mary, does not have any supernatural powers, she just has a disease that she has to drink blood.” The director compared Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary to the film Martin (1976), by George Romero, whose protagonist isn’t a vampire either, but has the need to drink blood.
Mary, an attractive young American surrealist artist (Cristina Ferrare) lives in Mexico where she can more readily satisfy her bloodlust. Seducing then murdering her male victims, she then sucks their blood as they lie dying. Secretly stalking her, a masked figure in black, is also committing similar bloodsucking homicides.
Despite the bisexual attentions of her art dealer friend (Helena Rojo), she falls for Ben Rider, a handsome young American drifter (David Young) and begins to question her soulless existence. Meanwhile, the Mexican police and the FBI are closing in and suspect Ben is the perpetrator of the mysterious murders. Eventually, Mary is shocked by the appearance of her killer father (John Carradine), also a blood addict…
“Though Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary doesn’t have any of the surreal touches that Moctezuma’s better known pictures do, it’s an interesting and reasonably well made slice of seventies horror weirdness. The film is fairly well shot, features some nice atmosphere and okay moments of tension and it’s got a pretty cool cast on top of that.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!
“The picture is smoothly put together and has some stylish touches, especially in the transitions from one scene to another. The shock cut to the shark attack victim is one, while other scenes are heralded by a closeup of a bejeweled skull, the closeup of Greta’s corpse (her murder isn’t shown), and so on. Mary’s paintings (with the exception of the portrait of her father) are rather Dali-like representations of brains, hearts, animals, caverns, tunnels, etc.” Dave Wilt, University of Maryland
“Although in the scenes where she connects with other actors, Ferrare’s portrayal is solid there are other times where she has to be the cold killer. In some ways this makes sense. She is a predator when she needs to feed but still wants to have another connected life when the desire is not so great. Still in the last act the way she seems almost helpless as she is chased by the masked killer seems really out of place.” Soresport Movies
” … although Moctezuma shows some visual flair in a number of the sequences, he doesn’t appear to have been capable of overcoming its crushing banality.” Phil Hardy (Editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
” [Carradine’s] greatest contribution to the pic is to make the bloodbath climax a laughable one.” Variety
“A disaster… Juan Moctezuma could only procure Carradine for a few days of shooting, and decided to pull the old Ed Wood-Bela Lugosi scam on us? … Not recommended for the squeamish or the intelligent.” Fangoria
“Carradine – and his stand-in – play an unexpectedly energetic role in this expectedly awful U.S.-Mexican sex-horror bomb. Carradine receives “special guest star” billing for his part as “The Man”, the mysterious masked stranger who dogs Cristina Ferrare on his travels through Mexico. For most of the running time, the heavily disguised character is played by the double, who wears a black mask to conceal the substitution; he also wears a large black hat which (combined with the mask) makes him look like one of the characters in the comic strip Spy vs. Spy.” Tom Weaver, John Carradine: The Films (McFarland, 1999)
Buy John Carradine: The Films book from Amazon.co.uk