Santa Sangre

June 27th, 1990


more trailers Santa Sangre

A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child...

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 7.6/10 (6,484 voted)

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Stars: Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell

A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the arms of his mother, a religious fanatic and leader of the heretical church of Santa Sangre ("Holy Blood"), and then commit suicide. Back in the present, he escapes and rejoins his surviving and armless mother. Against his will, he "becomes her arms" and the two undertake a grisly campaign of murder and revenge.

Writers: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roberto Leoni

Axel Jodorowsky - Fenix
Blanca Guerra - Concha
Guy Stockwell - Orgo
Thelma Tixou - The Tattooed Woman
Sabrina Dennison - Alma
Adan Jodorowsky - Young Fenix
Faviola Elenka Tapia - Young Alma
Teo Jodorowsky - Pimp
María de Jesús Aranzabal - Fat Prostitute (as Ma. De Jesus Aranzabal)
Jesús Juárez - Aladin
Sergio Bustamante - Monsignor
Gloria Contreras - Rubi
S. Rodriguez - The Saint
Zonia Rangel Mora - Trini
Joaquín García Vargas - Box-office Attendant (as Borolas)

Taglines: Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen

Release Date: 27 June 1990

Filming Locations: Estudios Churubusco Azteca, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

Box Office Details

Budget: $787,000(estimated)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (cut version)

Did You Know?

The project was launched when Alejandro Jodorowsky was commissioned to write and direct a film based on real-life Mexican criminal named Gregorio Cárdenas.

Continuity: When the elephant is dying, all the close-ups of its trunk bleeding show the trunk to be clean. All the long shots of the elephant show it's trunk covered in blood.

[first lines]
[Fenix crouches naked atop a tree trunk in his barren asylum room]
Doctor: [enters along with orderlies pushing a food cart] Fenix. Please...
[offers him a normal meal]
Doctor: Eat like a human being.
Doctor: [puts the tray back down and offers him a raw fish]
Fenix: [howls]
[jumps down and grabs the fish]
Fenix: Grr!

User Review

A film that makes me confront my deepest fears.

Rating: 10/10

"Santa Sangre" is one of Jodorowsky's most accessible films. Although not as strange as "El Topo" and "the Holy Mountain", it is still very bizarre ..... A colorful, horrifying and hallucinatory masterpiece. Many have compared it to "Psycho", "Freaks" and "Fellini". In my opinion, you can't compare it to anything because it's in its own category. Produced by Claudio Argento, brother of Dario Argento; the film does have a similar color style to "Suspiria". "Santa Sangre" is the story of Fenix, a man in a mental institution at the films beginning. A flashback shows Fenix as a child, growing up in the circus. His mother, Concha is a trapeze artist and religious fanatic who worships an armless god. His father Olgo is a knife thrower, who is constantly having flirtatious encounters with the ugly, cruel tattooed women. Fenix's closest friends are a mute mime, a dwarf and of course clowns. After a circus performance, Fenix's mother catches Olgo having an affair with the tattooed lady. In a fit of jealous rage, she dumps acid on their genital regions. Then Olgo cuts off Concha's arms like the goddess, and then cuts his own throat. Poor Fenix witnesses the death of his father, and the Tattooed women drives away with his mute friend Alma. Years later Fenix is reunited with his armless mother, she's out for revenge. In order for her to throw knives, he has to stand behind her and put his arms through her sleeves. It's as if she controls his arms with her mind. "Santa Sangre" is very bloody, disturbing and surreal, but at the same time beautiful and dreamlike. It contains bizarre images such as an elephant funeral, chickens falling from the sky, and mentally handicapped kids tricked into snorting cocaine. (the last being a metaphor for societies corruption of the innocent) Because the film is psychologically disturbing, it makes me confront my deepest subconscious fears; loss of arms, genitals or sanity. I have watched the film more than several times, and it is one of my favorite movies. Every time I watch it, I cringe as I'm challenged by both its beauty and disturbing intensity. So it's not really a horror film, but a surreal masterpiece with horrifying images. It will haunt you long after it's over.