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Memory of the Dead ("La Memoria del Muerto")

World Premiere
  • Argentina
  • 2012
  • 100 mins
  • HD
  • Spanish
  • English (subtitles)
Hosted by Director Valentín Javier Diment

49 days after the untimely passing of her husband Jorge, his distraught widow Alicia gathers his closest friends at their sprawling home for the reading of a letter he had written to all of them before his death. Little do they realize, though, that Alicia has an ulterior motive — she has assembled this motley crew as a sacrifice of souls, determined to bring back her lost love. As the clock strikes twelve, a strange fog creeps over the estate, bringing with it ghosts from the pasts of all those gathered. And one by one, the friends of the recently deceased find their worst memories coming to bloodthirsty, vengeful life.

A striking mix of horror and comedy, MEMORY OF THE DEAD strives to be the Argentinean EVIL DEAD II, a low-budget parody of genre films that never concedes to self-referential humour or knowing winks. Wearing his meager budget proudly on his sleeve, director Valentín Javier Diment works magic with a limited set and predominantly digital landscapes, as the fog-drenched moors outside Alicia’s home become a CG playground for all manner of ghouls ranging from antiquated spectral visions to cranium-blasting zombies. The splatter, a mix of practical and digital FX, certainly doesn’t waste any time coating the walls… and keeps slopping it on until the film’s surprisingly sweet finale. Besides the aforementioned EVIL DEAD II, MEMORY’s wild visuals borrow substantially from the works of fellow Spanish horrormeister Álex de la Iglesia, with just a touch of William Malone’s HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL remake, and — to ensure all bases are covered — even a bit of PSYCHO. The seasoned cast, led by South American television star Lola Berthet, have a blast playing up all manner of gratuitous stereotypes — with the men hamming up their brutishness and the women so catty that they’re literally clawing each other’s eyes out. More than simply a homage to the films it reveres, MEMORY OF THE DEAD offers something gleefully new, all the while feeling like a very strange friend you’ve had tucked away in the cellar for decades.

— Ted Geoghegan