A film of many tones that somehow manages to be simultaneously campy and earnest, funny and creepy.
A wonderfully strange performance by Jill Banner, who was said to be the love of Marlon Brando's life.
Lon Chaney, Jr. is also great. The scene with the girls when he's crying about their possible separation lifts the film out of camp and into believable drama.
City folk come to stay with a sick family, though the former group is afflicted with its own disease: greed. At least the murderous family is capable of love, fun, and laughter —however perverse. Perhaps that's why their surname is "Merrye."
Jodorowsky's second best film after The Holy Mountain.1
1 That I've foolishly said such a thing without having seen all of his films is worth pointing out. (Sometimes it's just too much fun to feign omniscience.)
Two more images, because some films are better suited for pictures than they are words:
In Roger Ebert's typically horrendous summary-style review of Santa Sangre, he somehow opens with a paragraph that's quite a bit better than anything I could think to write:
"To call Santa Sangre a horror film would be unjust to a film that exists outside all categories. But in addition to its deeper qualities, it is a horror film, one of the greatest, and after waiting patiently through countless Dead Teenager Movies, I am reminded by Alejandro Jodorowsky that true psychic horror is possible on the screen—horror, poetry, surrealism, psychological pain and wicked humor, all at once."
NOTE: This post is a bit goofy, I realize. More so than usual. Results may vary depending on the mood I'm in when I sit down to write. Don't think I'm not being serious in my own unserious way.