Escalofrío (1978)

An urban couple gets lured by another couple which claims to know them personally. Doubtful but bored, the couple decides to follow the two (un)acquaintances but quickly discovers that much, much more intricate motives lie behind this strange encounter. Over the night, the two unacquainted couples will get to know each other far better than anyone could have imagined, as they delve into both the pleasures and the horrors of black magic…


Genre:
Horror

Country:
Spain

Language:
Spanish
.

Full plot:
“Escalofrío” (a most sensual Spanish horror film from 1978 which also goes by its English titles “Satan’s Blood” and “Don’t Panic”) begins with a statement from a presenter, talking for a few minutes about professor Carlos Versajo (an academic who worked closely with the writer and director during the making of the film) and his research within the areas of Occultism and Voodoo.

The viewer is then forwarded to a scene of human sacrifice, where an elderly man with a full beard and a black robe rapes and sacrifices a drugged girl on a black altar using a long dagger.

After the sacrificial rite, the viewer is again forwarded, but this time to a scene of harmless everyday life (presumably), where Ana [AKA Annie] and Andres [AKA Andy] a stereotypical, metropolitan, middle class couple are discussing who to pester out of boredom. They skip through other couples on their phone-list, but end up deciding to take Blacky, their loyal dog, for a walk in the local park. Ana is nearly 4 months pregnant and the couple afraid of losing their child – having already lost one in the past.

On their way out of their apartment, they encounter an older couple, residing in the same block as they, which for some reason can’t stop staring at them.

They go to the park as planned, but on their way back to their apartment, they are pulled to the side by another couple which they can’t seem to recognize, however, Bruno, a man in his late 40’s (that is, quite older than Andy), claims that he and Andy know each other “from college”. He and his wife Berta AKA Marie ask them to follow them to their place and celebrate the lucky coincidence. Somewhat baffled over the approach of these two eccentrics but still bored, the young couple accepts the offer.

They drive for circa an hour, following the strangers’ car until they arrive at a beautiful garden surrounded by and old-school fence. Let through the gate by a gatekeeper in something of a monk-outfit with a serious look, the four arrives at the house, where a person can be seen closing a window from the inside, revealing that others might be present in the house while Bruno and Marie are away.

As they park the cars and walk into the house, Andy realizes he left his car-keys in the car but Bruno tells him to not worry and just follow him into the house, although Ana insists on letting Blackie enter the house with her.

Bruno and Marie are Satanists so, naturally, their house looks amazing. Before the four enter the living room, a stealthy, bearded man leaves the kitchen in a hurry and escapes up the stairs before being spotted.

Ana walks up to a skull-altar and picks up a random book on witchcraft. Bruno turns to her and asks if the subject interests her, but she puts the book away because she is too shy to admit she likes it. She then decides to go give Marie a hand in the kitchen. In there, she finds Marie eating in a beastly manner from a dog-tray. Ana is asked to cut the cheese and so doeth she.

Meanwhile in the living room, Bruno shows Andy the photograph but Andy does not seem to recognize himself – He claims that school uniforms were discontinued in Spain by that time and that he never wore one.

Marie brings the cheese – and the apocalypse – while Andy flips the photo. On the back of it is a line of alchemical symbols as well as Ana’s & Andy’s home address and phone number.

Ana and Andy want to ask how they got a hold of their contact details but are simply offered a “special vintage” instead, which they complement while sipping, although Bruno and Marie waits until later.

Outside, someone is approaching the house.

In the meantime, it is revealed how much Ana is fed up with her daily “life” and how much she wishes she could get a taste of what’s beyond. Marie suggests reaching into the afterlife or contacting the spirit world for fun, using a ouija-table (that is, a small dining table modified to serve as a ouija board), and the others support the idea.

Bruno picks a beautiful glass goblet off the shelf and holds it before the image of Christ. Ani and Andy are offered “smooth cigars” as they sit down at the ouija-table. They smoke those gars with elegance while Bruno does a little intro-hymn and majestically places the goblet on the table.

When Bruno has talked they all put their index-fingers on the goblet, and the fireplace lights up in an even more aggressive blaze, as if wishing to signal the presence of something.

Using the goblet as a planchette, they ask for presences unseen. The board affirms that something is indeed present – and it wants to talk to Bruno specifically about death. Bruno asks the board whether he will live to become an old man and the moves to “No”. When he then asks when he will die, the goblet simply spells “suic” (as if to spell “suicida” (suicide)). Marie interprets this as a reference to an incident in Bruno’s past where he attempted to commit suicide by gunshot. Ana notices a visible scar on Bruno’s temple, indicating that he once tried to shoot himself to death and failed. At the same time, Marie supinates both her hands to reveal transversal (meaning failed) slashing scars on her wrists Ana almost faints but recovers quickly.

Marie asks the hidden presence if there is anyone else in particular it wishes to talk to, and through the ouija board, it answers that it wants to speak to Ana about love. It claims that Ana “loves Luis” and Andy explains that Luis is his brother and that the two had an affair but that this has long been over. Bruno starts re-chanting his intro-hymn while the camera takes a look at the cozy Eliphas Levi style Baphomet-picture hanging on the wall. Ana says that the board is lying to them but the board insists that it is Ana who is lying. She screams at the board until the goblet explodes. She loses consciousness and falls off the chair, thereby ending the ouija-session.

She wakes up in a guestroom with a severe headache. She and Andy prefer to go home but Marie and Bruno won’t let them – they keep claiming there is a storm brewing outside and that it would be difficult to navigate the countryside-terrain in darkness.

Ana and Andy then take a bath while a mysterious stranger in the garden approaches the house wielding a cane. As they go to sleep, wondering how the others got their address, the approaching stranger brutally kills their dog and removes its collar.

During the night, Ana sneaks out of bed and venture downstairs, lured by what sounds like the howling of Blacky. Downstairs, the bearded man who wanders around in the house jumps her and tries to rape her, although she defends herself well and escapes back to the guest room. She implores Andy to leave the house immediately but Andy insists on going in and plucking their new “friends” by the beard to find out what hell is going on…

They walk together, down the stairs and into the living room. There, they find Marie and Bruno sitting on a black carpet on the floor, just about to initiate a lust-ritual. Soon as Marie notices them, she stands up, walks towards them and lays her hands on their foreheads (somehow managing to bring them into a trance or hypnosis.

She leads them back to sit on the carpet with them. She undresses Andy while Bruno undresses Ana. Calling upon “Prince Baal” with chants and gestures, an image of Jesus, framed and hanging on the wall, bursts into flames. Bruno embalms everyone in a mystical form of grease contained in a hollowed human skull. This sparks an all-out orgy, where the four engage in several fierce intercourses. The orgy concludes in Bruno cutting a gash in his palm with a ritual blade. When he then touches Marie’s stomach, his hand burns her skin like a branding iron and she fall unconscious.

The others put her on a bed, and Ana, being a professional nurse, becomes worried and asks Andy to call a local doctor. Ana and Bruno search the house for some meds for Marie. While Andy tries to call the doctor, the house blacks out and the phone becomes “dead as a doornail”. Suddenly, Marie wakes up, seizes him and won’t let go, so that when Ana and Bruno return, they find Andy on top of Marie. Now Ana really wants to leave the house but Andy insists that he won’t be able to find the road home in the dark.

Same night, Bruno and Marie make love in their bedroom while being watched through a peephole by the same man who tried to rape Ana earlier. The rapist is then approached from behind by the man who guarded the outside gate. The gatekeeper stabs the rapist several times with a knife and drags his body outside.

Meanwhile, Ana has a dream about stabbing Marie with a knife.

Click here to unfold the remaining story (SPOILER WARNING)

Ana and Andy wake up late at noon and prepare to leave. The house seems empty but the fireplace is still lit. Outside of the house, they cannot find their car so they go back inside the house and search for something to eat. They are led up some interesting stairs leading to room featuring raggedy costumes and old books. There, they discover a book containing a photograph of themselves which they can’t recognize. On the backside of the photo is a line of sorcerous runes over a Magen David, as if to enchant or hex it.

Outside again, they meet Bruno and Marie, who just came back from shopping – in Andy and Ana’s car. Bruno says that he took the liberty to borrow the car since they were asleep and he wanted to get his own car to a mechanic. Andy and Ana say that they’d best leave and so bid Bruno and Marie farewell. They then realize the car won’t start and that they have to find their dog before going home.

They walk into the kitchen to confront their dubious hosts. Although unwilling, Bruno goes with Andy to help him start the car. On the car seat, Bruno finds the spelly photograph, but when he holds it up before Andy it has somehow changed to display another person. Bruno then finds Blacky’s collar under the car.

At the same time, Ana finds blacky dead in the house and immediately accuses Marie of the canicide. Marie turns the accusation towards Bruno so he slaps her in the face. As Ana and Andy rushes out of the house, they hear a gunshot behind them. When they rush back into the house, they find Bruno shot in his right temple (same place as his scar).

They try to tend to his wound since he is still alive. Marie leaves the house on a scooter. Bruno starts mumbling some indecipherable chants. Andy goes out to give the car a second attempt and he succeeds in getting the car started but Bruno dies while he’s working.

In the evening, Marie returns to the house with a doctor. The doctor declares Bruno dead as well and prays for Satan to rightfully claim Bruno’s soul. He discovers that the phones are not functioning and tells Ana and Andy to stay put. He then leaves.

As the doctor gets into his car, a lightning reveals a cloaked stranger in the darkness. Andy tries to cover Bruno’s body with a blanket, but Bruno suddenly opens his mouth and gasps. Ana, thinking it is a kind of spasm, ties his jaws closed with a cloth and covers his face. They can hear Marie filling up the bathtub upstairs, so they become worried and run upstairs where they break into the bathroom and see that Marie has slit both her wrists with a straight razor. They wrap her wrists in bandages, put her on a bed and remove her wet clothes. Meanwhile downstairs, an unnerving noise starts humming throughout the house, as if the whole place is cursed.

Outside, a dark figure draws near…

When our couple tries to give Marie some tea, she wakes up and shouts at them in a demonic voice. Andy desperately chokes her until she stops moving. They begin cleaning the surrounding furniture, trying to wipe away their fingerprints with a cloth, out of fear that the doctor who visited the house earlier will blame them for the multiple deaths.

Before they get to leave the house they are stopped by a somehow resurrected Marie, pointing a gun straight at them. She fires but misses, so Andy manages to wrestle the gun from her and kill her (a second time). They drag her upstairs again, put her back in the bathtub and take the bandages off her wrists.

Heading downstairs again, they discover that Bruno’s corpse is no longer where they put it. When they run out to the car, Ana remembers that she forgot her handbag in the house. Andy tries to fetch it and when he finds it he also finds the mysterious photograph again, lying on the floor. Suddenly, he is faced by a half-dead Bruno, reaching out for him with a frantic stare. At the same time, Ana walks in. When she sees Bruno, she grabs the gun from before and shoots him in the head (a second time). Bruno finally hits the floor.

Ana & Andy embrace each other, while a decorative porcelain doll, earlier seen sitting in the living room, slowly walks into the bedroom where Ana and Andy is standing. Andy lifts the hand-cannon and shoots up the doll. The doll’s face explodes into a gory cascade of blood and brain, releasing a searing scream that resonates throughout the house. All doors and windows in the house immediately close, but the couple manages to get out.

On their way out they accidentally stumble upon the mutilated remains of the earlier rapist, packed into a chest freezer, and on their way out through the driveway they run over the bearded gatekeeper and smash through the front gate.

Back home, they find their apartment stripped of all furniture. The strange old couple who stared them down earlier passes by. They claim they saw a moving-company that showed up the same day and removed all the furniture, having keys for the apartment and everything. They offer Ana and Andy to join them inside their own apartment. Not knowing where else to go, Ana and Andy accept the offer and follow the elderly couple inside.

In there they find Blacky alive, although with a more aggressive temper than normally. They also behold a demonic altar plus a round table. Around the table sit Bruno, Marie, the doctor, the rapist, the gatekeeper and the cloaked stranger, all of whom were previously thought dead. They all rise and approach until the young couple is completely surrounded. Along with the elderly neighbors, they all hold out kitchen-knives and violently stab our heroes to death.

We then get a glimpse of Andy and Ana, alive and well, trying to lure in a young couple in their car and persuade them that they know the couple “from college” – behaving in the same manner as Bruno and Marie did earlier in the film.

Cast:
José María Guillén as Andres
Mariana Karr as Ana
Ángel Aranda as Bruno
Sandra Alberti as Berta
Luis Barboo as the keeper of the gate
José Pagán as the doctor
Carlos Castellano as the mendicant
Isidro Luengo as the neighbor husband
Ascensión Moreno as the neighbor wife

Directors:
Carlos Puerto & Juan Piquer Simón

Writer:
Carlos Puerto

Links:
Escalofrio (1978) on IMDB

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