Circus horrors cross over into the mundane world in this terrifying, psychedelic film from Alejandro Jodorowsky, the man who brought you the infamous El Topo. Fenix (Adan Jodorowsky, the director's son) is the son of a circus strongman (Guy Stockwell) and an aerialist (Blanca Guerra).
One night, the mother sees from her high perspective that her husband is fooling around with the tattooed lady. She later confronts him and throws acid on him in retaliation. He saws off her arms in return and kills himself. Fenix, witness to all this, runs away raving.
Years later, Fenix (now played by older brother Axel Jodorowski) is released from an insane asylum by his armless mother. She wants to go on a murderous revenge spree, and maybe play a little piano, and she needs Fenix to be her arms for both tasks.
Though the film has some of the hallucinatory qualities of Jodorowsky's earlier films, Santa Sangre doesn't quite have the same punch, particularly in terms of cerebral and emotional impact, despite its fine visuals. Santa Sangre is available in both R-rated and NC-17 edits.