So I'm still relying on contributions from my friends to keep the content at 4DK rolling over while I evolve to the Next Stage of Human. This latest entry is by my magisterial M.O.S.S. colleague Denis Klotz, author of the smart and wryly funny The Horror!?
A series of kidnappings of young, beautiful women shakes a Mexican city at the end of the 19th Century (or at the beginning of the 20th?). The police, as they always are in the movies I watch, are clueless, even though a rather less than happy press puts a lot of pressure on them.
Fortunately, we are now as removed from Baledón's classicist style as we are from the more colourful (and actually filmed in colour) films that came after, so we are in an excellent position to enjoy both styles of filmmaking. The gothic horror parts of Museo del horror make this proposition easy enough, with Baledón hitting every hoary plot beat not in a perfunctory manner, but with the style, class and conviction of someone working within parameters he understands deeply, and clearly loves.
Less successful, and very much perfunctory, are the film's mystery elements. I, at least, find it difficult to imagine anyone - quite independent of her knowledge of other wax museum horror pieces - will be surprised by the identity of the film's killer or his motivation, despite the two red herring suspects the film introduces. In this regard, I was rather surprised by how little the movie explains in the end. We never learn what the actual nature of Raul's suspicious experiments is, nor what the whole business with the mummy face is about, nor how the killer's lair manages to be at two places at once.
In the end, though, I can't say I actually cared about these curious holes in the film's narrative, nor about the mystery's obviousness, for I found myself permanently distracted by the excellent mood of gothic horror Baledón produced.