WITCH’S MIRROR, THE (Espejo de la bruja, El)
(director: Chano Urueta; screenwriters: from a story by Alfredo Ruanova/Alfredo Ruanova/Carlos Enrique Taboada; cinematographer: Jorge Stahl Jr.; editor: Alfredo Rosas Priego; music: Gustavo Cesar Carreon; cast: Rosita Arenas (Deborah), Armando Calvo (Dr. Eduardo Ramos), Isabela Corona (Sara), Dina de Marco (Elena), Carlos Nieto (Gustavo), Alfredo W. Barrón (Inspector); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Abel Salazar; CasaNegra Entertainment; 1962-Mexico-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“It fervently has witchcraft battle with mad science.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Chano Urueta (“The Brainiac”) directs from a story by Alfredo Ruanova and screenplay by Alfredo Ruanova and Carlos Enrique Taboada. It’s told in an accomplished way and is a pure cinematic horror story from Mexico, that makes good use of special effects and scary scenes in the lab, cemetery and castle. There are reminders throughout of many other films of the genre, especially of “Eyes Without a Face.”
Sara (Isabela Corona) is a housekeeper in the mansion of Dr. Eduardo Ramos (Armando Calvo) and his wife Elena (Dina de Marco), her godchild. Being a benevolent witch, Sara sees death in the house and that Elena is the intended vic. Her hubby no longer loves her, and craves for another woman. When the witch consults her superior (addresses her master as Adonay) through an incantation and tries to save her, she’s told she can’t interfere with fate–that Elena must die. After Elena is murdered, Sara vows revenge against Eduardo and through a magic mirror brings Elena back to life as a ghost when Eduardo soon after marries the love of his life Deborah (Rosita Arenas). The witch puts a scare into Deborah by having a number of odd things take place: Deborah is reading Elena’s diary and when she tells this to Eduardo, the diary disappears; daisies wilt while tuberoses, Elena’s favorite, don’t; the fire in the fireplace suddenly goes out; and the piano plays itself and it’s Elena’s favorite tune. It becomes obvious there’s a ghost in the house, but Deborah refuses to relocate as suggested by Eduardo. Since Sara can’t bring Elena back to life as a human, she brings up her ghost-like image in the magic mirror and turns Deborah into a ball of fire that leaves her face and hands disfigured. Following along the lines of “Eyes Without a Face,” Eduardo steals corpses of young women to make skin grafts and eventually finds a young woman who was buried alive and performs a live transplant in his lab. The witch will exact her revenge on Eduardo and his second wife when he completes the successful graft.
It’s a lot of hokum and the bizarre story is only routine, but the actors are believable and the eerie look of the supernatural is dazzling. It fervently has witchcraft battle with mad science.
REVIEWED ON 9/23/2006 GRADE: B