Happy Horrorthon!!! What do you get when you have Basques, Demons, Blacksmithing, and Illegitimate Children? About 91 minutes of entertainment! The toughest part of this movie is getting the title spelling correct. I couldn’t tell if they were speaking their Euskadi language or Spanish. I remember this dialect when I ran with the bulls in Pamplona. I was 22, hard-drinking, and up for anything dangerous. Once you left the city, it all looked liked rural Massachusetts and this film captured that old world culture and better yet, you have didn’t see me at 22 vomiting Paella, making out with Brits and Argentines, or ACCIDENTALLY ending up in a brothel.
The story centers around the reclusive Patxi who is considered a crazy hermit who lives outside of town and Usue, an orphaned child, who lives with the stigma of her mother’s suicide. Patxi was a veteran of the Napoleonic wars. When France invaded Spain, he fought, was captured and sentenced to death by firing squad. In order to see his family again, he made a deal with a demon Sarteal – as you do. Demons, they’re always acting like pun crazy evil genie’s, twisting your wishes to make them terrible.
I would be able to handle such a wish. I would draft a wish document with supporting case law, retain counsel for a minimum of 2 grand to review the wish, and insist the counsel indemnify. Sadly, Paxti did not have my savvy. After he made the wish, he survived and went home to find that his wife thought he was dead, had a baby – Usue- with a lover, and in a rage Paxti killed the lover and the mom hanged herself. In response, Paxti blames Sarteal for his wife’s death, captures Sarteal, and imprisons him in his bunker outside of town. Poor Usue is left parentless because of Paxti.
Side Note: Screw Paxti. Yes, Sarteal’s evil and blah blah blah, but it was Paxti who did the murdering. Take some personal responsibility, Paxti! It’s like that song “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. Joe is an asshat, but the Narrator is just as guilty. In Errementary, there’s no one else to blame! Unlike this story, Joe confessed that he was “gonna shoot [his] Old Lady and the narrator doesn’t do ANYTHING!!!” Why not say… Heeeey Joe, Where you going with that gun in your hand? Heeeey Joe, Maybe we should have a chat..take a breather…maybe up the meds a bit? Heeeeey Joe, you don’t down own your Old Lady and domestic violence is never acceptable! Heeeey Police, Joe’s got a damn gun and is threatening to murder his wife… yes… right now… he’s heading to.. where is that house honey? …. 72..yeah….7213 Robins Lane. Thank you.
The local kids are constantly taunting Usue and chasing her and, on one occasion, she’s fleeing bullies and goes where they will NOT follow- Paxti’s property. His home and property is riddled with traps, Christian crosses, and other warding. There appears to be a child in a cage that she sets free, but this in fact Sarteal- the demon. Sarteal attacks Paxti, but Paxti gets him back, and then Paxti bonds with Usue by torturing the demon with chickpeas. Yes, Chickpeas. Demons are all OCD if you throw chickpeas on the ground, they have to count them. It comes up repeatedly in the story. It’s a whole thing.
Sarteal is kind of funny actually. He’s a failed soul collector and has been in Paxti’s makeshift prison for at least 20 years. In town, a Tax Collector comes and convinces the townsfolk to enter Paxti’s property because there is supposedly gold there. The Tax Collector, however, is not who he seems (except to Libertarians!)- he’s a demon -Alastor – sent to collect both the Blacksmith’s soul as well as Sarteal who is in poor standing in Hell for being a screw up.
The townsfolk try to enter Paxti’s property, but get caught in Paxti’s many traps he set up to imprison Sarteal if he escaped. The Tax Collector convinces the townsfolk to believe that Paxti is holding or killed Usue on his property. They form a mob with torches…very 3rd Act Frankenstein. Usue wants to see her mom again; therefore, she makes a deal with Alastor to see her mom in Hell in exchange for her soul. Alastor takes her to Hell and Paxti’s sets out to rescue her. He goes to Hell with a Golden Bell because the chimes do things to demons….it’s weird.
The depiction of Hell on their budget was not bad. Paxti does manage to redeem himself. He sends Usue back to Earth and he stays in hell with his bell and to find Usue’s mom…it’s weird. I enjoyed this film A LOT, but mostly because of the live tweeting. So, my advice is to try to watch it in some way with friends!