Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 14th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Mexico, 1963
Director: Rafael Baledón
Writers: Rafael Baledón, Fernando Galianna
Cast: Rosa Arenas, Abel Salazar, Rita Macedo, Carlos López Moctezuma, Enrique Lucero
DVD released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33.1 Fullframe
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Casa Negra/Panik House
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: The police are unable to solve a recent rash of murders in a remote area deep in the woods just out side of town. Amelia (Rosa Arenas) and Jaime (Abel Salazar) her husband arrive at her aunt Selma’s (Rita Macedo) home which is coincidently located near where all the unsolved murders happened. There is something about aunt Selma’s place that disturbs Amelia and Jamie who decide they are going to leave in the morning. By dawn their plans of leaving has been disrupted. Amelia starts investigate about her family. Will she be able to uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim?
The Curse of the Crying Woman opens up with the Iconic image of a woman dressed in black holding three menacing dogs. Director Rafael Baledón a fan of Mario Bava is clearly paying homage to Bava’s Black Sunday which has a similar scene. Rafael Baledón’s direction sets the mood right from the start. There are a few stylized set pieces like the films finale that give this film a more polished look. Pacing is well timed and a few well placed scares add to the films building tension. The lighting and framing of compositions is nearly flawless.
Gore hounds beware most of the violence is implied or bloodless. Like all gothic horror films Aunt Selma has a deformed sidekick. Later in the film we are also introduced to another deformed member of the family. One minor complaint is that early on in the film the victims who are murdered in the first scene had there blood drained form their bodies. The reason for this is never fully explained. Outside of a few minor moments when things tend to drag the rest of the film moves along quickly.
The acting actually exceeded my expectations with everyone of the leads giving well rounded performances. Actress Rosita Arenas who plays Amelia in The Curse of the Crying Woman also stars as Deborah in The Witch’s Mirror which is also available on DVD from Casa Negra. Rita Macedo’s character Aunt Selma looks like it was patterned after Italian horror queen Barbara Steele. Her black soulless eyes solidify the connection between the two. Abel Salazar who’s plays the husband Jamie in the film is the most known of these actors outside of Mexico. His performance while is solid despite limited screen time.
Overall despite its lack of budget The Curse of the Crying Woman is filled with strong visuals and several great performances.
The Curse of the Crying Woman is presented in its original 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio. Casa Negra has sourced their transfer from restored vault elements. The black and white photography looks stunning as black levels look exceptional and print damage is virtually non existent. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement. This transfer is on par with the quality of their The Witch’s Mirror transfer.
This release comes with two audio options Spanish and English. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The Spanish audio mix sounds cleaner and fuller then the English audio mix which has noticeable hiss through out. English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
The Curse of the Crying Woman comes with several extras like a bilingual menu where you can choose English or Spanish. The cover art is reversible with the option once again of choosing English or Spanish. Other extras include a Casa Negra Loteria game card, Cast bios, a Poster & Still Gallery and a text essay about actor/filmmaker Rafael Baledon written by film historian David White which is insightful and well written. The final extra include for this release is an audio commentary with Mexican cinema expert Michael Liuzza that has some interesting observations and is filled with facts about the film. This release also comes with a collectable booklet titled “The Legend of La Llorona” which was written by Entertainment Weekly’s Peter Landau. The text include in the booklet explains the history of The Curse of the Crying Woman and the legend it is based on. This booklet like the DVD’s cover art is reversible with the option of reading the text in English or Spanish.
The Curse of the Crying Woman gets a spectacular release from Casa Negra that is filled with several extras and comes with a stunning audio/video presentation, highly recommended.