Elements of Vampirism in Los Abismos de Pasion

         From the opening scene to the ending credits, the 1954 film Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buñuel, contains many elements of vampirism. Almost every character has vampire-like qualities. These elements stem from the underlying themes from the book Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontë in 1847.

         In the opening scene, José (Francisco Reiguera) and Ricardo's son, Jorgecito (Jaime González), are carrying a pot filed with dead frogs. The frogs have been boiled, and José says that it is a ritual to drive out "evil spirits." According to ancient folklore, this type of ritual can rid a house of many different kids of evils and can keep vampires away.

         As José and the boy are taking the frogs through the house, they speak of evil spirits. Seemingly from out of nowhere, Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castaneda) rises up. It looks as though he is sitting up from a coffin-like structure and has just awakened from a long sleep. This is one of the most classic theatrical examples of a vampire.

         There are many mentions of "evil spirits." José tells Ricardo's son about them and warns him to keep away from Alejandro (Jorge Mistral). He also warns Isabel that "evil things" reside in Alejandro's home and that it is not a safe place for her to be. José hints that Alejandro may be the embodiment of these evils and may be the reason that they are here. In vampire legends, Alejandro would be, in José's eyes, the equivalent of the literary Dracula because he is the master of this horrible place and brings all kinds of evil to it.

         The most unusual, and somewhat disturbing, thing about Los Abismos de Pasion is the fact that the characters never actually kiss. They seem to bite each other's necks in moments of passion. This is the most prevalent example of vampirism in the movie.

         When Alejandro visits the dead Catalina (Irasema Dilian), she appears to be asleep in her coffin, much like a vampire. Alejandro sees the spirit of Catalina, almost as though she has risen from the dead, which is exactly what vampires do.

         Luis Buñuel was probably trying to convey the way that Cathy and Heathcliff, the main characters in the Wuthering Heights, on which the movie is based, feed off of each other's energy. Cathy and Heathcliff are bound together by an almost supernatural bond. They are much like two vampires who need each other to survive. They share thoughts and feelings and cannot live without each other. All of the references to vampires make sense if the Cathy/Heathcliff relationship is examined.

Brittiany Adams

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