Witching & Bitching

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Witching & Bitching (2013) [aka Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi; trans. The Witches of Zugarramurdi] is a wildly entertaining Spanish horror-comedy film, co-written and directed by Álex de la Iglesia, which takes its inspiration from the action/horror hybrid of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino‘s From Dusk till Dawn (1996) and the dark humor of Peter Jackson‘s early movies [i.e., Bad Taste (1987), Dead-Alive (1992)]. de la Iglesia is well-known in Spain, apparently, as a cult director with a style similar to Mexico’s Guillermo del Toro. However, I haven’t seen any of his other movies. I’ll have to do so, now.

In Witching & Bitching, divorced dad José (Hugo Silva) and his unemployed friend Tony (Mario Casas) attempt to rob a cash-for-gold shop in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol disguised as street performers. José is a metallic Jesus and Tony is a green army man, while their hired accomplices are Minnie Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Invisible Man. José has also involved his young son Sergio (Gabriel Delgado) in the heist. José’s sick of alimony, judges and Sergio’s “witch of a mother.” They make off with a bag full of 25,000 gold wedding rings, but, their escape goes horribly wrong, and they’re forced to hijack a cab driven by Manuel (Jaime Ordóñez) with his hapless passenger (Manuel Tallafé) in tow. Manuel bonds with José and Tony over their shared women troubles as they head north to France, with José’s controlling ex-wife Silvia (Macarena Gómez) and two policemen, Inspectors Calvo (Pepón Nieto) and Pacheco (Secun de la Rosa), hot on their trail.

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Later that night, José, Tony and Manuel find themselves in the small Navarrese town of Zugarramurdi which is infamous, historically, for the Basque witch trials of the 17th century. They become the unwilling guests of honor of a coven of cannibalistic Basque witches, led by Graciana Barrenetxea (Carmen Maura), with her senile mother Maritxu (Terele Pávez) and sexy daughter Eva (Carolina Bang). They believe that God is a woman and that she’ll return to seek her vengeance against man. They also believe that Sergio is their Messiah, “the man who will betray man,” and plan to offer him in a ritual sacrifice to die and be reborn in the womb of a gargantuan goddess monster with gigantic boobs that dwells in the caves under the town. However, Eva, it seems, has fallen in love with José, much to her family’s chagrin and José’s surprise; and, after Silvia, Calvo and Pacheco crash the dinner party, she helps José escape into the tunnels under her mansion. He finds Eva’s brother Louie (Javier Botet), who has been chained under the bathroom of the town’s bar for 15 years, and frees him. Eventually, Eva joins forces with José and Louie to stop her mother from destroying Western civilization! Oh, and did I mention that the witches can crawl on walls and ceilings like spiders? Watch the trailer here …

Witching & Bitching is a feverish good time! Álex de la Iglesia wears his influences proudly, especially in the film’s climax which is basically a tribute to Peter Jackson. Not only is Witching & Bitching‘s goddess monster and Sergio’s rebirth inspired by Dead-Alive‘s mother monster and Lionel’s rebirth, but the ritual sacrifice of Sergio to the goddess monster is inspired by King Kong‘s ritual sacrifice of Ann Darrow to Kong. Well, it’s more reminiscent of the original 1933 version but Jackson re-made the movie in 2005. The film’s tone changes visually from the bright-soaked first third to the darker, atmospheric final thirds to match its shift from high-octane action to Gothic horror, and the dynamic balances perfectly. However, the final thirds offer a little something extra …

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Bang! Bang! There Goes My Heart!

Carolina Bang is deliciously delightful as sultry witch Eva with her darkened eyes, half-shaved head and perpetually sardonic grin! She’s like a witchy Lisbeth Salander [from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo]. Bang worked Eva’s wonderfully dark magic on me with that grin in every scene she appeared in but, still, I have two favorites [which are actually one long single scene] …

Favorite Eva Scene #2: José realizes that he left the bag of wedding rings in the mansion after their first encounter with Graciana, Maritxu and Eva, before they find out that they’re actually witches even though they stopped Maritxu from baking Sergio in an oven. Graciana and Eva blame it on Maritxu’s senility. Anyway, José and Tony sneak back inside, and Tony peers through a door ajar only to find Eva, wearing only her black bra, panties and high heels, drinking the blood of a toad. She drips the blood on her broomstick, then strokes it up and down, before sliding the stick, back and forth, between her legs! Oh, my! Watch that scene here …

Obviously, you don’t need to speak Spanish to appreciate that scene!

Favorite Eva Scene #1: José and Tony find the bag; but, in doing so, they encounter Graciana and Maritxu, who reveal themselves to be witches by climbing up the walls. Meanwhile, Manuel and Sergio are waiting outside in Manuel’s cab. Suddenly, Eva drops onto the roof, and grins at them, upside down, through the windshield. Manuel panics and steps on the gas. The cab hits a tree and Eva flies off, rolling back up to her feet, like a cat. She walks casually over to the cab, as Manuel runs. She opens the trunk and finds Manuel’s passenger, whom they tied up to keep him quiet. She throws him across the property like a rag doll, then finds a photo of Manuel’s children, which he keeps in his cab. She grins and bends the photo which causes Manuel to collapse. She drags him toward the mansion by his foot. Sure, the previous scene is sexier, but, in this one, Eva is badass!

Oh, and I love, at the dinner table, when Eva, as she cruelly yanks out one of Manuel’s passenger’s teeth, winks at José! Later, to stop José and Tony from arguing, Eva uses a spell to make them kiss. “Eva, I told you not to play with your food!” Graciana scolds.

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Carolina Bang, who is considered “one of the most beautiful women in Spain,” is best known for her role in Álex de la Iglesia‘s drama The Last Circus (2010) [aka Balada Triste de Trompeta; trans. Sad Trumpet Ballad] for which she was nominated for a Goya Award [the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards]. Watch the trailer here. She previously starred in de la Iglesia‘s Spanish sci-fi TV series Plutón B.R.B. Nero from 2008-09. Watch some sexy scenes from that series here.

Carolina Bang, sans the Eva look, reminded me of Agnes, frontwoman for the Spanish hard rock band Lilith. Check ’em out. The video for Lilith‘s song “El Amor Duele” [trans. “Love Hurts”] is quite possibly one of the most sexually suggestive videos ever – without any actual sex or nudity. It’s an awesome song, too! Watch the video here. Note the resemblance between Agnes and Carolina (if you can cool down long enough to do so).

Now, I must go watch more Carolina Bang movies!

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4 thoughts on “Witching & Bitching

  1. Pingback: Witching & Bitching « Girls, Guns & Zombies!

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