Our Halloween fun continues here at the ol’ Litterbox with a visit to sunny Spain for a “Nekoliscious” review of director Mateo Gil’s 2006’s haunted horror story “Regreso A Moira”, known on this side of the pond as “Spectre”, one of 6 films packaged together by Lionsgate and released as a three disc set called “6 Films to Keep You Awake” aka “6 Películas Para No Dormir”.
Our Synopsis for it goes like this:“After the tragic suicide of his beloved wife, an elderly writer named Tomás visits the small coastal village in Spain where he was born and raised. He reminisces of his childhood, and the beautiful, mysterious woman, Moira, whom he’s been unable to forget all these long year, once rumored to be a witch in league with the Devil. As he walks through his old village he catches ghostly glimpses of her, and is haunted once again by the dark story of their forbidden love affair those many years ago. Dare he visit the house where once they made love, where she was brutally killed, and where local superstition says her restless spirit still lurks to this very day? Will he risk his very soul to return to Moira once more?”
Yep. This one certainly meets our needs for “Haunted House” stories this month… and this wee Catgirl can’t wait to take a peek! Naturally those of you Gentle Visitors with similar tastes in film fare will wonder if you too need take this creepy trip to haunted Spain… so fear not! Merely “Read On” and you’ll know for sure. 😉
This particular film is part of a 6 film boxed set of English subtitled Spanish chillers that this wee lady bought quite a while back… one that somehow managed to get itself buried waaaay down in the bottom of one of my big ol’ boxes of DVD’s and sadly never watched. Till now. Yep. Thankfully a search for some classic scary films for this month’s Halloween review fest brought it to light once more. But… was it worth my lucky efforts to find? Let’s find out, shall we?
Our story starts out with the return of an elderly man, Tomás (played by Jordi Dauder), to the sleepy little Spanish village of his birth after 44 years spent living abroad. Why has it been so long? Ahhhhh… now that would be the “meat and potatoes” of our little tale. Seems Tomás has a bit of a guilty conscience…. Ahhh yes, that and and the eternal stain of murder and betrayal on his soul. Once upon a time he made a petty, jealous mistake… and provided the spark that fed the hatred that ended the life of a woman he loved… and still loves even after all these years. But… they say “love is eternal”. Unfortunately… so it seems, is hate.
Tomás has returned following the tragic death of his wife… a mysterious death by suicide that was followed by the arrival in the mail of a tarot card, “The Lovers”… a card which reawakens memories of a past that Tomás has tried in vain to forget for 44 years.
Back then, in the Summer of his 16th year, Tomás (played in flashbacks by Juan José Ballesta) became obsessed with a mysterious newcomer to his village. A darkly beautiful stranger named Moira (played by Natalia Millán) who lived a solitary life in a lonely house overlooking the village. A woman scorned by the villagers… a woman who never attends church, and one they whisper, who consorts with the Devil by night… a witch!
One day Tomás and two of his friends, Carlos and Vicente (played by David Arnaiz and Adrián Marín respectably) decide to see if the scandalous rumors are true and sneak up on the house for a peek only to have the whole thing go wrong. They give themselves away and Tomás twists his ankle and knocks himself silly while his frightened friends abandon him as they run away. He awakens… to find himself in Moira’s bed and Moira herself amused by the situation he’s found himself in as she soothes his swollen ankle and treats his bleeding head.
Darkly beautiful, sultry and sexy, and so, so unlike anyone Tomás knows, it’s inevitable that he becomes infatuated by her and fairly soon they become illicit lovers, despite the difference in their ages and despite the continued whispered stories of her alleged nocturnal diabolic couplings and the supposed curse of drought and livestock deaths the women of the village accuse her of being responsible for.
Guilty… suspicious… and basically immature…. it isn’t long before he begins spying upon Moira to discover the truth of what she’s up to after dark only to see something shocking one evening as he spies through her bedroom window. What exactly that is we only find out later… and that forms the “twist” ending that Neko isn’t planning to tell you about, but I can say it’s a pretty neat one and well worth the time for it to come around for you to see.
You do know that whatever he’s seen, it makes him think Moira has betrayed him… betrayed their love.. and so to get petty revenge he tells his mother that she really is a witch, that she “bewitched” and seduced him and that he’s witnessed her engaged in sexual congress with Satan himself. After that, under the cover of darkness, Tomás’ mother and the other women under her direction break into Moira’s house and burn her alive. It’s only the next day that the villagers discover the real truth. Moira was no witch. Her nocturnal visitors were women seeking her help for illegal abortions, a sad reality in Catholic Spain and a necessity for poor scared unwed women not wanting the stigma of illegitimate children. Tomás is horrified. He is as guilty of her murder as was his religious fanatic of a mother. He leaves his village soon after seeking to forget.
But we wouldn’t have much of a movie if he found that escape from his memories now would we? Nope. In the future the elderly Tomás returns to his hometown to discover who sent him that tarot card… the very same one he saw in Moira’s deck all those years ago and finds a very much different town from the one he left a lifetime ago. The sleepy town he grew up in is nearly gone, the victim of tourist development that has new construction springing up everywhere. Everywhere that is, except for the boarded up ruin of Moira’s old house atop the hill. Tomás resists the urge to go there… but the more he fights the inevitable the more he comes to understand how impossible that will be if he wants to uncover the truth behind the eerie circumstances that haunt him.
He sees the image of a shrouded woman everywhere, the apparent ghost of Moira as well as the spirit of his dead wife Greta. His old friends Carlos and Vicente still live in the town, but neither is particularly glad to be reunited with him… not while Moira’s ghost still follows him everywhere.There’s a reckoning close at hand and one they want no part of.
All that continues to lead to Moira’s house… and you just know Tomás will end up there at the climax where all will finally be revealed… including the truth of what he witnessed through his lover’s window all those years before, a truth which will seal both his and Moira’s fate once and for all.
Ooooohhh!! Now this one was a good lil’ horror film. Not particularly gory… with a spicy hint of doomed and forbidden love, and one who’s story does takes it’s time to unfold but who’s ending is well worth that time. Both Carolyn and I enjoyed this creepy tale and if old style ghost stories are your thing, a certain little Catgirl thinks you’ll like it too. It’s told with an easy rhythm as we pop back and forth from the present day to the past and little bits of the story fall into place one by one. It’s not hard to follow and although some may find it’s brand of quiet scares a bit tame, this is the way all the old classics ghost stories were told once upon a time, letting a viewer add their own elements to the story through imagination, tricking you into thinking you’ve seen much more than you really have and unsettling you by insinuation rather than gratuitous shock. Bravo!!
With that, I give “Regreso A Moira” a well deserved 4 “Meows” out of 5. It was well worth that lucky re-discovery deep in my old box of DVD’s, and I can only hope the other 5 films in the set are of equal quality, if so, I’ll be one happy movie-lovin’ lady indeed!
And… if this one sounds like a winner to you as well, then you ought to be able to score yourself a copy pretty easily too. The Lionsgate Region 1 boxed set turns up most places for right around 16$ US, a veritable steal for 6 films. The films are provided widescreen and letterbox formatted, 2 films per disc on the three disc set. Each is in the original Spanish audio language with excellent separate English subtitles. Given how well I liked this one, don’t be surprised if the others don’t join us soon for review…. 😉
Unfortunately this wee Catgirl wasn’t able to find a Trailer for just this film… but fortunately I did manage to find one for that 6 movie boxed set… and that’s certainly better than nothing… so here goes. 😉