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May 28, 2007

Terror and Black Lace

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Terror y Encajes Negros
Luis Alcoriza - 1985
Desert Mountain Media Region 1 DVD

I stumbled upon this film by chance. What initially attracted my attention was the title, similar to Blood and Black Lace. The film is about a middle aged man with a fetish for women's hair. With a straight razor, he cuts off a fistful of locks from women with long hair, placed later with his collection in a wardrobe. If the plot sounds closer to Bunuel than to Bava, it may be because Luis Alcoriza was a co-writer on several films by Luis Bunuel. Of Bunuel and Alcoriza's collaborations, I was immediately reminded of El. Keep in mind that Bunuel dismissed some of his past work by stating that he made Mexican films for a Mexican audience. That goes double for Alcoriza.

What little Alcoriza thinks he is saying about misplaced machismo and liberated Mexican women is made inconsequential by the sight of Maria Guardia running around in her underwear. I can't think of a better reason to watch Terror and Black Lace than to enjoy a cast of generously voluptuous women. The girls just want to have fun, while the men get frustrated by anything, especially women, that they can not control. Cesar, the man with the mane fetish, constantly gets upset by the loud music played by the three female travel agents in the apartment below. The black lace clad Isabel feels imprisoned by her husband, who finds his own life out of control due to random events. If flirtatious young Coquis was aware of Cesar's specific needs, she would have kept her panties on.

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It is the scene with Claudia Guzman attempting to seduce Claudio Obregon that explicitly is a reminder of Bunuel at his most darkly comic, with Coquis offer of sex rejected in favor of a substitute taken by force. A similar moment is when Obregon admires his large collection of hair, taking his newest trophy and caressing and combing the hair before rubbing it on his face. Terror and Black Lace might have worked better if Obregon didn't seem like a junior version of Fernando Rey. Based on what little has been written about Alcoriza, he may be a filmmaker worth investigating further.

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Posted by peter at May 28, 2007 06:00 AM