There are a whole slew of great studios and distributors out there that horror fans are huge supporters of. Some of the bigger and most popular names that tend to be thrown around most often consist of the likes of Shout! Factory and their Scream! label, Synapse, and Severin in the states, with Arrow and 88 Films doing a good job of running things over in the UK. If you happen to love horror as much as Roger and I do, though, you can find so many other, less talked about companies out there with catalogs that are just as impressive, if not more so than the ‘major players’ listed above. One distributor that I just recently became more familiar with is Artsploitation Films who supply fans with some of the greatest international independent films this genre has ever seen. One of those films that certainly deserves more attention than I’ve seen it receive is Valentín Javier Diment’s 2011 occult themed flick, La memoria del muerto or Memory of the Dead.
After the sudden death of her husband, Jorge, Alicia is full of grief and despair. On the 49th day after his passing, Alicia gathers a small group of Jorge’s closest friends and family members to honor his life. Things quickly change direction, however, as Alicia and friend, Hugo, have much different intentions than originally thought. They plan on resurrecting Jorge’s lifeless corpse through a sacrificial ritual using the blood of his very loved ones.
I remember hearing about Memory of the Dead years ago, but like so many other genre films, never got around to checking it out. It wasn’t until by recent [re]discovery of Artsploitation Films that I got a chance to finally visit this flick and see what the fuss was truly about.
Memory of the Dead is visually stunning. The production quality is top-notch and with beautiful effects, both practical and digital, the film looks absolutely amazing from start to finish. Like the characters we meet throughout the film channel memories of deceased loved ones, Valentín Javier Diment and his team of writers did a wonderful job of channeling some of horror cinema’s greatest filmmakers. With over-the-top carnage, anatomically incorrect entities, and a trippy looking outside world, one in which no one must venture into, it is hard to miss the influences of such greats as Dario Argento, Sam Raimi, and Guillermo del Toro sprinkled throughout each scene.
The entire cast did a wonderful job and the eccentric mix of characters, one more tragic than the last, give us viewers people to actually care about. There wasn’t a huge amount of character development, but the little that we did get to witness, mostly through smack talking and hallucinatory scenes of family members come back to life, was enough to keep the story moving.
My attention span is not what it used to be, so it took me almost three days and three sittings to get through this entire flick. This does not reflect on the film itself, however. I really can’t think of one negative thing to say here, folks. Memory of the Dead contains some great special effects, impressive cinematography, skilled acting, and a very fitting surprise ending. I’m a couple of years late, but horror fans know it is never too late to add another fantastic movie to our ever-growing collections.
Memory of the Dead can be purchased from Artsploitation Films and I highly recommend doing so because you most definitely will not be disappointed. I give this one 4 reciprocating saws to the neck out of 5.