THE MACABRE TRUNK (1936)
(a.k.a. EL BAUL MACABRO)
Article #874 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-6-2003
Posting Date: 1-3-2004
Directed by Miguel Zacarias
Featuring Ramon Pereda, Manuel Noriega, Rene Cardona
A madman is kidnapping women from the hospital in order to use them to restore the health of his wife.
Yes, we’re back in “Spanish-no subtitles” mode here, but this time I was helped by a hint that it was somewhat similar to THE CORPSE VANISHES, and that gave me something of a handle on it. Despite the fact that I didn’t always know what was going on, I found myself quite entertained; the story involves a sinister-looking assistant, a suspicious beggar, a pigeon-toed nurse, an intentionally bad music performance, a comic relief cop, and the trunk of the title. It also shows more skin than a Hollywood film would have done at the time, and even throws in a gag involving a severed limb that wouldn’t have made it past the Hays office here. All in all, the movie has the feel of a forties Monogram cheapie, which is interesting, because it predates them by a few years. It uses an interesting editing technique by which scenes are switched via the use of props that appear in both scenes, which is impressive at first, but ends up being overused. However, the movie’s most memorable moment involves one of the most glaring editing gaffs I’ve ever seen in my life, and though I don’t want to give it away completely, I’ll say that it occurs about twenty minutes into the film (during the song), and it offers proof positive that Mexican filmmakers used clapboards.