Vampirism in Mexico Reaches New "Heights"

     The 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontė, has reached and spanned across several households in this great country. It has also reached Mexico. Why?--only God knows. Well, with the novel having been now adapted into at least two versions of cinematic lethargy, we can analyze the Mexican contribution to this rehashed story.

     Luis Buńuel's 1954 Los Abismos de Pasion gives us a much better representation of the story than William Wyler's 1939 Wuthering Heights. This, however, is not enough to save it from the depths of movie-making hell. There will be no salvation granted to the Mexican film industry, and this is a shining example of why. This version does help to keep the audience awake a little more efficiently, but its shallowness and amateur level acting keep it sub par in comparison to other films that can be considered "worthy of my time."

     The Mexican version of Heathcliff (Alejandro), portrayed by Jorge Mistral, was cold, shallow, and very two-dimensional. I distinctly remember the one line delivered by him when Isabella (Isabel), played by Lilia Prado, asked him, "Do you love me?" to which he replied "Mucho." It was very dull, and this made it seem overly humorous to the audience. I can only assume that this was supposed to be a serious and dramatic line, showing his coldness and inhumanity towards the world and his Catherine (Irasema Dilian). But his inept demeanor and obvious limited range as an actor keeps him from being able to deliver a high-caliber performance in a serious drama.

     Another point I would like to analyze is the existence of vampires in Mexico. Our Mexican Heathcliff repeatedly kisses his Isabel on the neck in a sort of spastic, convulsing, raptor-type movement that makes it appear as if he is biting her neck in the way a vampire would to quench its blood lust. Now, I have seen From Dusk Till Dawn a good number of times, and this movie, Los Abimos de Pasion only confirms my belief that Mexico is filled with people running rampant with vampirism. This ensures that if I ever make a run for the border, I will definitely make sure to carry any of the following items: essence of garlic, a crucifix, a thick wooden stake, and water blessed by a servant of God.

     All in all, I do have to give the film some credit. It captured the novel better than the American version, and it did manage to hold my attention more readily than the other, too. The directing was not terrible, and the movie definitely was capable of stirring a response from the audience. It was interesting to see how the story was adapted in a different culture and with different customs. This film felt much darker to me (especially the ending where Alejandro was shot), and that made me like it more. It appealed to me more than the American version. All in all, it was an all right movie. It has its fair share of ups and downs.

     Thanks again for tuning into Jake's movie corner.

Jakob Bilinski

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