Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest Glasgow review – Night of the Virgin

noche-del-vergenMy notes on the extreme Spanish horror-comedy.  NB: spoilers for the outrageous ending.

This Spanish horror comedy falls into the ‘one bad night’ sub-genre that includes After Hours, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Evil Dead and others.  On New Year’s Eve, hapless goof Nico (Javier Bodalo) – who has comedy teeth, bad skin, a twitchy look and a cheap tux that makes him look like a ventriloquist’s second-best dummy – has a bad time at a party where women he approach on the dance floor either back off in horror or nod along encouragingly before puking on his shoes.  Then, he is picked up by Medea (Miriam Martin), an older woman in a slinky dress, who seems inclined to relieve him of his virginity and invites him back to her flat … which turns out to be infested with cockroaches, decorated with weird cult objects and hideously filthy.  Even the desperate Nico is in two minds about this but he keeps thinking with his dick and gets deeper and deeper in trouble – rattled by the ex-boyfriend (Victor Amilibia) hammering on the door and the gay couple having loud sex upstairs, Nico looks for ways out, but also ways to get off.  In the annals of cinema, there are few masturbation scenes as squirm-inducing as the sequence where Nico, abandoned after arousal by Medea heading into the filthy bathroom for a soak, tries to sustain his erection by looking through a photo album only to have an orgasm he wishes he could take back as he ejaculates profusely over a page of photographs of deformed babies.  This explicit moment is matched by a later sequence in which Medea takes away the mobile phone Nico wants to use to call for help and inserts it into her vagina.

At nearly two hours, this feels protracted but its finale depends on overkill as Nico loses several virginities and undergoes extreme body horror transformations (via gloopy physical effects) which evoke the young Peter Jackson or David Lynch.  The bravura climax has Nico impregnated by Medea and anally birthing a mutant child – then being dragged around the room by a thug who yanks on the umbilical intestine that hangs out of his bottom.  Troma style sick-com has had a modest revival lately (cf: Night of Something Strange) but this deserves extra points for being more concentrated and focused than most of its rivals – there actually seems to be a point in Nico’s hideous ordeal, and we’re encouraged to empathise with the initially-offputting lad as he is used up and thrown away by a witch-woman in a parody of the macho love ‘em and leave ‘em manner of treating women he is encouraged to believe in by his asshole male friends.  In a coda that hints od apocalypse, he is even publically disgraced as a possible serial killer and lunatic while his abusers are viewed as saintly by the media.  Performances are consistently pitched at several notches above hysterical, with Martin hilariously blunt in her malignity and Bodalo undergoing the kind of punishment even Bruce Campbell might baulk at.


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