[review by JA Kerswell]
|MALDITO AMOR's killer has seen Mario Bava's BLOOD & BLACK LACE one too many thimes ....
MALDITO AMOR (which translates in English as DAMNED LOVE) is a Chilean horror comedy that is a somewhat awkward homage to 80s slasher movies, John Hughes-style teen romances and classic 70s gialli. Someone - dressed exactly like the killer in Mario Bava’s seminal giallo BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) - is killing staff at the Mater Lachrymarum High School. A small handful of students band together to find out who is behind the murders and make sure the nerd gets the girl.
Said nerd, the very talkative Arturo (co-writer and director Sebastián Badilla) has the hots for his best friend María (Trinidad de la Noi), but she has started seeing an older magician Tatán (Nicolás Luisetti). Despondent, he hatches a plan to make María jealous by fake dating another hot girl Beatriz (Kel Calderón) - but María seems oblivious to his plans no matter how hard he tries. Will Arturo win back María or will he discover true love with Beatriz? And, let’s be frank, do we really care?!
|The attempt to mix teen humour and giallo intrigue doesn't work as well as might be hoped.
MALDITO AMOR quite literally wears its influences on its sleeve. The opening credits sequence is laid over posters and images of everything from Molly Ringwald in PRETTY IN PINK (1986) to posters of 80s slasher and 70 giallo movies. Would a psycho killer have enlivened THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) or FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986)? Now I come to think of maybe it would! However, MALTIDO AMOR isn’t the movie to succeed in that aim. Those films at least attempted some kind of gravitas with their material, but this is far too broad a take to have any kind of real heart.
Beyond its horror references, it doesn’t really function effectively as a slasher movie either as it is neither thrilling nor scary. To be fair, the movie doesn’t try and plays very much as a comedy - although, for me at least, the humour didn’t particularly translate and may play better for Chilean audiences. The references are at least fun to spot. A J&B whiskey bottle turns up more than once. Someone is killed in an art gallery that contains a statue of a crystal bird. One character even dies after looking through a spy hole in a door and being shot in the eye by the killer in a scene lifted directly from Dario Argento’s OPERA (1987). Some of the players aim for Pedro Almadevor levels of quirkiness and exaggeration - and with the killer, at least, succeeds in a pleasingly over-the-top finale.
|Props to the makers of MALDITO AMOR for at least being well versed in the giallo - here aping a scene from Dario Argento's OPERA (1987).
MALDITO AMOR is directed by brothers Gonzalo and Sebastián Badilla. The latter is the lead in the film and comes across like the Chilean teenage Woody Allen as he never stops talking. This is my first genre movie from Chile. In an admittedly clever opening scene, two characters on a date discuss how much Chilean horror movies suck before being offed by the fedora-wearing killer. The film opened to scathing reviews in its native Chile and poor box office. It also attracted the wrath of the band Supernova after some of the cast re-recorded a version of their hit 2000 ‘Maltido Amor’ for promotional purposes. Despite disappointing box office in Chile, the film proved quite popular in other Spanish-speaking markets - especially the United States.
A sequel, MALDITO AMOR 2, was teased in 2022 with a trailer. It featured some new footage but was mostly made up of shots from the first film. Supposedly due for release in 2023 it is currently MIA - and some have suggested that it might just be a prank by the brothers.
female: 6 / male: 4
1) Male garrotted
2) Female stabbed to death with a knife
3) Male shot in the eye
4) Female strangled and suffocated with a cupcake
5) Female whacked on the head with an axe
6) Male garrotted
7) Female drowned in bathtub
8) Male found with head wound
9) Female shot dead
10) Female shot dead
Thank you for reading! And, if you've enjoyed this review, please consider a donation to help keep Hysteria Lives! alive! Donate now with Paypal.