(A.k.a. LA NOCHE DEL VIRGEN)
It's New Year's Eve and a Spanish nightclub bounces with revellers dancing their way into 2016. Rodent-featured Nico (Javier Bodalo) is an awkward figure, a goofy young man dressed in an ill-fitting black suit, frilly white shirt and dickie bow tie. His dancing is clumsy and erratic, and if there's one person on the dancefloor that you'd suspect of being a virgin, it's poor Nico.
Still, that doesn't stop him from jiving with a couple of ladies in the hope of getting lucky. The first slinks away when he inadvertently spills his drink over himself; the second is quite responsive to his charms until she vomits over his shoes.
Nico retires to a seat as the bells chime in the new year. It's then that a mature lady on the dancefloor catches his eye. Blessed with strong features, a piercing stare and a figure to die for, Nico can hardly believe that Medea (Miriam Martin) is beckoning him to come to her.
Our hapless protagonist leaves the club and goes back to Medea's apartment, ignoring the messages on his 'phone from his mates accusing him of being a "granny fucker".
The apartment is dim and dingy, lit only by several candles. Nico is slightly perturbed by cockroaches roaming around the place, and the gold statue of the Goddess Naoshi, whose tragic story Medea seems to know an awful lot about. And why the fuck is there a cup full of blood in Medea's bathroom?
But Nico wants to lose his virginity, and nothing's going to ruin his big chance. Medea certainly seems unconcerned when the questions she throws at him quickly reveal him to be a first-timer.
Spurred on Medea's advances and more texts from his pals - "We want evidence", "We need a pic of your dick in the mouth of that granny" etc - Nico puts any reservations aside and follows the seductress into her bedroom.
All is going well until Medea falls asleep on Nico mid-foreplay. After an hour or so, he gets up and retires to her living room - where he masturbates over a family photo album. Medea catches him post-cum and asks him to leave ... but it's at this juncture that her ex-boyfriend Spider turns up, braying at the apartment door. Medea and Nico barricade themselves in, which now means the latter is in for a very long night indeed.
See, not only does Medea have a psycho ex and the creepiest apartment Nico's ever seen, but he's unwittingly placed himself into the centre of a bizarre ceremony involving the mixing of blood and semen ... and whether he'll escape the night in one piece is anyone's guess.
THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN is the feature directorial debut of Roberto San Sebastian. Having cut his teeth with several shorts and a couple of TV series, the Spanish filmmaker offers up an incredibly assured, bold feature here.
It's been likened to Peter Jackson's BRAINDEAD in some circles. It's a convenient comparison to make: the comedy is as cartoonish as it is frequently irreverent, with lots of gags revolving around bodily fluids of all manner; there is a healthy amount of blood being shed in the film's latter half. But THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN is also a darker affair, with more subtext to speak of (Medea's name, her affinity to Naoshi, the racial slurs of the opening TV presenters' narration offering a glimpse at modern Spanish attitudes), and a meaner streak beneath its playful gore than Jackson's far more goofy offering.
The physical humour in VIRGIN largely stems from Bodalo's deliberately exaggerated performance. He's an affable lead, whether wanking into a pair of his date's knickers while she sleeps or howling in pain as he gives birth through his anus, his body language and facial mannerisms mark him out as a natural comic. But there's a balance between his comedic displays and the dark set design, and Martin's more series delivery. Sebastian strikes this equilibrium well for the most part, albeit taking a little too long to establish the equal levels of mood and humour in the overlong first hour.
Once the film gets going though, and becomes more frantic, the zealous camerawork and showy editing make more sense, complementing an array of increasingly sick, enjoyably gooey set-pieces.
Matchbox Films bring NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN to UK DVD in all its uncut glory, clocking in at 113 minutes and 16 seconds in length. The picture is correctly framed at 2.35:1 and has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Images are crisp and detailed, bold colours and deep blacks adding to this excellent transfer's vivid qualities.
Spanish audio comes in options of a reliable 2.0 mix and a more bombastic, but equally clean and balanced, 5.1 surround offering. Easily readable English subtitles are burned in to the transfer.
The disc opens to a static main menu page. From there, a static scene selection option allows access to the film via 20 chapters.
Only one extra appears on the disc: the film's enjoyably frantic 49-second trailer, complete with flashing text on the screen: "Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. FUCK ...".
THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN is a crazy film, economic in execution (largely based in a single setting; very small cast) but big on energy and gleeful irreverence. It gets very bloody, and offers a lot of bloody good fun for those who don't mind their evening's entertainment lewd, crude and spiritedly splashy.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Matchbox Films|