Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
All the late ’70s style and arthouse elements of Spanish cinema come to life in Ivan Zulueta’s 1979 horror film Arrebato (“Rapture”). Jose receives a mysterious package that conjures up memories of the time he met his girlfriend’s cousin, Pedro. Pedro is a pale experimental filmmaker who is intense and extremely sensitive and creepy. This week’s strange and fantastic tale is Arrebato, a film about addiction, voyeurism, and transformation.
Jose, heroin addict and horror filmmaker, is taken by surprise by the return of his girlfriend Ana and a mysterious package. Ana is unrelated to the package, but both the package and Ana’s arrival spark the story of addiction and what it means to be enraptured. What ensues is a strange and psychedelic story about passion, vice, and art. We follow Pedro’s raspy whisper that narrates in a second person point of view in an audio letter to Jose. The audience will then witness Jose’s toxic relationship with Ana, Jose’s relationship with heroin, and his fatalistic relationship with Pedro.
Pedro and Jose are both connected by their love of film and photography. Pedro is portrayed as sometimes childlike, unhinged, and depraved. Pedro explores his need to “enrapture” Jose. Pedro is a slave to his art, while Jose is a slave to drugs. Zulueta’s arthouse style contributes to the chaos of the film. Pedro, portrayed brilliantly by Will More, wants to be a witness to Jose’s subconscious. He is a complete madman and has a particularly over the top punk rock scene that would put Sid and Nancy to shame.
Arrebato is a horror movie, but the horror lies in how it will make you feel. In fact, the true horror lies in the frightening way lives can be ruled by ambition, addiction, and other people. Arrebato is a film about sex and violence, and yet the sex and violence is mostly hidden. However, what is implied is over the top. Wear your sunglasses at night and watch Arrebato in 4K, coming to U.S theaters for the first time this October.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!