Walking a razor-edge line between the suppressed creepiness of David Cronenberg and the flamboyant horrors of Dario Argento, this eerie psychological chiller foreshadows Crash in its mingling of car wrecks and kinky se...展开x. Driving home in his new car, a corrupt businessman (Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez) spots an overturned wreck by the side of the road. Trapped inside it are a man and an eight-year-old boy, visible only as a single hand dripping blood. Not being a Good Samaritan - and unwilling to get blood on his pristine white seats - Lopez Vazquez 'passes by on the other side.' The wreck bursts into flames and incinerates both father and son.
Yet soon enough, our anti-hero's guilty conscience starts to catch up with him. Lurid red bloodstains appear on the back seat of his car. However hard he scrubs, the stains emerge again - darker and more accusing than before. Worse, they are visible to nobody except him. His glamorous socialite wife (Lucia Bose) starts to fear for his sanity - yet she also can feel her borders of normality start to shift. Falling under the spell of a mysterious lesbian, she is lured into a world of high-style sex parties and jet-set depravity. Both husband and wife are doomed to watch helplessly, as their own guilt-edged psyches disintegrate and rot.
Doubtless, this film is rife with political symbolism - reflecting the twilight years of General Franco's dictatorship in Spain. Like the vast majority of the Spanish middle class, Lopez Vazquez and Bose are not directly responsible for the death of others. However, by ignoring the flow of blood and the cries for help, they have tacitly allowed others to die in ways too horrible to imagine. The risque La Dolce Vita atmosphere of the orgy scene (timid to our eyes, but shocking enough to the Fascist censors) is a forerunner of the sexually permissive 'movida' culture that would flower in Spain in the late 70s and 80s, following Franco's death.
Yet this film is scary, sexy and stylish enough to enthrall viewers who may have no interest whatsoever in Spanish politics. Bald and unprepossessing though he may be, Lopez Vazquez is all-too-convincing as a morally bankrupt 'everyman' whose success in a consumerist society blinds him to the agony of others. With her subtly sinister glamour, Bose is still the depraved high-fashion icon she first played in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1950 film Chronicle of a Love. While your eardrums may rebel at the cacophony of Teddy Bautista's score (an unholy mishmash of Penderecki and Pink Floyd) that's a small price to pay for such an eerily satisfying moral tale.