Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 4th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Mexico, 1958
Director: Fernando Mendez
Writer: Ramon Obon
Cast: Maria Duval, Carolina Barret, Hortensia Santovena, Quintin Bulnes, Antonio Raxel, Carlos Ancira, Pedro de Aguillon, Gaston Santos
DVD released: April 24th, 2007
Approximate running time: 71 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: A cowboy named Gastón and his companion Crazy Wolf have gained possession of a stone figure of a crying woman. They inquire about its origins with the woman who made it niece since her aunt passed away last year. Since her aunts death the family estate has been plagued by supernatural occurrences. Gastón decides to investigate further the mysterious things going on at the estate. Is there really supernatural forces pulling the strings or could all the trouble be man made?
The Living Coffin was directed by Fernando Méndez who also directed The Vampire, The Vampire’s Coffin and The Black Pit of Dr. M. The Living Coffin is a western/horror hybrid that leans more towards its horror roots. One of the main parts of the plot is the inclusion of The Curse o the Crying Woman legend. The film does bear some similarities to Edgar Allen Poe’s Premature Burial and the Lone Ranger & Tonto. When you get to the core of this film it is essentially a murder mystery. Many elements like the dead returning or disappearing from their grave or a knife that is held in place in a clock to keep the dead where they are, add a supernatural mood to the story.
Direction wise Fernando Méndez sets up many great shots and set pieces that make this production look more polished then it could have in lesser hands. The film which was shot in color and it lacks the creepiness that most gothic films that were shot in black and white have. The cast are all adequate in their roles with the only real standout being that of Gastón Santos as Gastón “The Cowboy”. The horror in this film is tame and not freighting in the least. Ultimately the melting pot of ideas and genres make The Living Coffin a difficult film to recommend.
The Living Coffin is presented in its original full frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This release also marks the first time CasNegra releases a color film. They do a solid job reproducing natural looking flesh tones and vibrant colors. Details look sharp in the background and foreground. Overall this is another exceptional transfer from CasNegra.
This release comes with two audio options Spanish and Italian. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The Spanish audio mix is the cleaner of the two with the English mix exhibiting some minor stances of hiss and distortion. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include a poster & still gallery with thirteen images, bios for Maria Duval, Carolina Barret, Gaston Santos and Pedro de Aguillon. The main extra for this release is an extensive text essay titled “Cowboys & Monsters: The Mexican Horror Western. Overall this title in not as extra laden as previous CasaNegra titles, still the extras included are informative and interesting.
Like their previous releases Casa Negra latest The Living Coffin comes with 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.
The Living Coffin is a marginal horror film that gets a first rate release form CasaNerga.