“Hear me out and perhaps you’ll understand the madness that drove me to harm him.” Because, of course, self-justified madness makes it all okay. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a trip south of the border to experience Dos Monjes (1934), Mexico’s second horror film.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 119 – Dos Monjes (1934, Two Monks)
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In a monastery, a monk named Javier sees the face of another monk, Juan, and suddenly attempts to bludgeon him to death with a heavy crucifix. Both men then relate their own versions of a story of their romantic rivalry for Anita, and the two versions of the story differ significantly. Both men later became monks, leading to their latest encounter. As Juan begins to recover from the blow, Javier is subjected to horrific hallucinations.IMDb
- Director: Juan Bustillo Oro
- Writers: Juan Bustillo Oro, José Manuel Cordero
- Cinematographer: Agustín Jiménez
- Selected Cast:
- Víctor Urruchúa as Juan
- Carlos Villatoro as Javier
- Magda Haller as Anita (Ana)
- Beltrán de Heredia as PriorCarlos Villatora
- Emma Roldán as Gertrudis
Dos Monjes, Mexico’s second horror film after El fantasma del convento (1934), is Whitney’s pick and the Classic Era Grue-Crew find it fascinating. Whitney is interested in the two-points-of-view retelling of the conflict fueled by a love triangle. She loves the gothic atmosphere and discovers the horror of the film in the moralities of the characters. Daphne loves the expressionistic beauty of the film and is impressed with the acting. After seeing Dos Monjes, she plans to check out El misterio del rostro pálido (1935, Mystery of the Ghastly Face), another horror film written and directed by Juan Bustillo Oro. It is a very cool, beautifully shot movie in Chad’s opinion and he really likes the two-points-of-view kind of storytelling. To him, Dos Monjes looks just like a Universal horror film with its gothic feel and air of mystery and creepiness. He also finds a stylistic connection to Batman (TV series, 1966-1968). It’s the kind of movie Jeff likes to watch more than once in order to wallow in the expressionism and take in the brilliance of Agustín Jiménez’s cinematography. He also found the opposing, subjective points of view used in Dos Monjes to be fascinating.
If the Grue-Crew’s discussion piques your interest (and it should), Dos Monjes is available to stream from The Criterion Channel and YouTube, and is available on physical media as Blu-ray from Criterion in the collection Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 3, which includes: Pixote (1980, Brazil); Lucía (1968, Brazil); After the Curfew (1954, Indonesia); Downpour (1972, Iran), Soleil Ô (1970, Mauritania), and Dos monjes (1934, Mexico).
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule is one chosen by Chad: Donovan’s Brain (1953) a science fiction/horror B-movie classic!
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