Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975) - Christina Ferrare probably known as a Max Factor spokesperson a former fashion model she has worked in TV and fashion. Later she might be seen for her working as a frequent guest on the Oprah cable TV network cooking and sharing recipes.In this early work which she has many credits on IMDB; she stars as Mary a vampire traveling through Mexico struggling to find love and success while still meeting her need for blood. It is a strange tale where she has managed for many years to survive on her own as a painter of some notoriety while at the same time leaving a trail of bodies drained of blood. The turning point for Mary is when she meets Ben (David Young) a charming hitchhiker who is easy to fall for. Now she must balance the desire for blood with the counter desire to not eat her lover. After the first scene of there meeting the film gives us the goods on Mary, we see her turning her flirting charms on a man she has picked up in a bar. She drugs the victim with a dose of something she keeps in a locket around her neck. She stealth-fully slips it into his drink and waits for it to takes effect. Then with a pin knife she keeps her hair up with she deftly punctures his jugular and drinks her fill.
Director Juan Lopez Moctezuma does some interesting stuff with a story by Don Henderson, Malcolm Marmorstein and Don Rico even though there is not a lot in it. The story is pretty basic, we join the main character after she has established her life as some what successful artist, who uses already has a method of killing and drinking that has worked for her. There could be another story here that would also be interesting enough for a movie. I thought of the film "Let the Right One In", where the vampire creature was an 11 year old looking creature. She had to deal with the logistics her underdeveloped body created for her. I kept thinking that the more interesting time of Mary's life must have been her tween to teen years for Mary when her father had first left. Did she always need to drink blood and if so did her Father supply her? How did she cope when he was gone? When her Dad realized he could not stay was it because she was still not infected with this form of vampirism and his desire to drink was too great to stay around his still normal daughter? What was it like to develop the need? How did she survive in those early years before becoming a beautiful woman? Unfortunately this is not that story but instead the story of when she was almost found out.
More though and this was indeed interesting it is a look into a time in Mary's life when she chose to love knowing that the cost would put her at risk. When she meets Ben and they become lovers the "seduce and kill" method she had been using to feed becomes much more difficult. Its just hard to explain to your partner that you need to leave alone for several hours every week or so. Also it changed her mobility and she was more stationary in the time of the film, shrinking the hunting grounds and making the similar deaths of the victims more noticeable to the police. So this could be the story of how love doomed Mary, but it is even more than that. At around this time Mary is stalked by a masked man in a green Mustang who kills and feeds in a similar was. This only makes the trail for the police more obvious and creates a climax that can be guessed. Ferrare does a very good job capturing the internal struggle as her life pattern sort of falls apart. She is in anguish over the desire to feed but not wanting to lose her love to that need. Young is a bit cardboard as the man in her life but has his own issues as they stay together.
The police on Inspector Cosgrove (Arthur Hansel) of the FBI on loan to the Mexican Lieutenant Pons (Enrique Lucero) are smart enough to see that Ben has been around the locations of most of the murders. In an act of amazing sexism they never connect Mary in the same way but focus on the American drifter as their main suspect. He was on the beach when a fisherman died. He was in the town where the female hitchhiker was killed and where someone killed the morgue worker. He was at an art exhibit of Mary's work when Greta (Helena Rojo) was killed and drained of blood. Still Mary is not the focus but instead her boyfriend. Speaking of Greta, it was such a heartfelt death in this film porttrayed with excellent warmth by the two actresses. She for years longed for love with Mary and sent Ben out from the party to buy tequila in order to get Mary alone. Mary upset that Ben vanished thought he might have abandoned her and in her dismay is comforted by Greta. As Greta expresses her love for Mary with a kiss Mary for the first time gives into desire and feeds from someone she knows. It really is so well done by Ferrare and Rojo and a crucial turning point in the film.
This connection is something even the dumbest of police can't miss, but unfortunately for Ben they are blind to the idea a woman could be the killer. When the police decide to tail Ben the third act unfolds rather quickly. Mary also under that surveillance needs to feed but is hard pressed to find a time when she can. She is oh so tempted as Ben sleeps next to her but instead attempts to sneak out. All kinds of crazy happens from here on out as Ben chases after Mary and masked killer is hot on her heels, with that the cops are also chasing. Up into the hills of Mexico where the masked killer is revealed and some of the story behind Mary's condition is heard. In the end though this can not truly be anything but a tragedy. I won't spoil it since it is a more rare vampire story and many of you might want to see it. It is not the greatest of films but I say worth recommending for its unque take on the genre.
Odds and ends
- Mary's art was painted by Rosa Rosenberg
- The director went on after this film to make a couple other films I know, the incredibly screamy and strange "Alucarda" and "The Mansion of Madness"
- One of the victims actress Susana Kamini plays a main character in Alucarda.
- The masked killer ends up being one of the greatest character actors in history John Carridine, he really is a bit player in that we only see his face in the last sequence and thus I suspect he was hired for his name.
- The copy I have of the film comes with both a 3D and normal version of the film. Neither of the versions are widescreen and the 3D version was too dark to enjoy.
- Although in the scenes where she connects with other actors, Ferrare's portrayal is solid there are other times where she has to be the cold killer. In some ways this makes sense. She is a predator when she needs to feed but still wants to have another connected life when the desire is not so great. Still in the last act the way she seems almost helpless as she is chased by the masked killer seems really out of place.