Label: Nucleus Films
Release Date: 19th September 2005
Director: Miguel Bardem
Stars: Roberto Alvarez, Elia Galera
Nucleus Films is a brand new DVD label set up by writer/film researcher Marc Morris (author of "The Art of the Nasty" and "Shock! Horror!: Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era"), and filmmaker Jake West (RAZOR BLADE SMILE, 1998) and EVIL ALIENS, 2005). The intention is to create a high quality collector's film label for lovers of cinema - run by people whose passion for film is equal to that of the fans. Nucleus Films has already acquired its first four movies for release on DVD in the UK, and negotiations have begun for further additions to the Nucleus Films catalogue.
The first two DVD releases from Nucleus Films are Mañuel Gómez Pereira's BETWEEN YOUR LEGS (aka ENTRE LAS PIERNAS) and Miguel Bardem's THE UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD (aka LA MUJER MAS FEA DEL MUNDO).
THE UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD, 1999, directed by Miguel Bardem (previous films: INCAUTOS, 2004 and NOT LOVE, JUST FRENZY, 1996).
It is New Year's Eve 2010 and somebody has decided to celebrate the occasion in a most twisted fashion – by dressing as a nun and brutally dismembering an old lady at a party in a retirement home. In charge of the police investigation is the long-suffering and ever-patient Lieutenant Teniente Arribas (Roberto Álvarez, aided by a team of crack(-pot) detectives; the overweight cop is regularly used as a battering-ram and Arribas’ assistant, Sgt. Pelayo, emulates Clark Gable to impress a “girlfriend”. Indeed eccentricity is rife as various elderly residents blame the murder on bankers, social security officials and The Smurfs. The truth is no less strange as Arribas' investigations uncover a bizarre connection to several other unsolved murders and lead him to a renegade physician, Doctor Werner (Héctor Alterio), a cosmetic surgeon with a sideline in 'morphogenetics', and one of his patients, the beautiful Lola Otero (played by the astounding former model Elia Galera, in her screen debut).
The story starts in 1982 with Lola's birth, this sets the scene for her formative years as a nurse becomes hysterical when confronted with the sight of young Lola. Her parents reject her because of her gross disfigurement, and so she is raised by nuns. The only person who refers to Lola as beautiful in her entire childhood is the blind Mother Superior; she is reviled and abused by everybody else. It is only at the age of 24, thanks to Werner's revolutionary therapy, that she is finally able to externalize her internal beauty. However, her childhood traumas have left her with a few problems. We learn about the rest of her life story through a series of flashback sequences and archive news footage throughout the film.
The subject of facial disfigurement has been used several times within European horror films; from France there was EYES WITHOUT A FACE (d. Georges Franju, 1959) and from fellow Spanish director, Jesus Franco, THE AWFUL DR ORLOFF (1962) and FACELESS (1988). These films revelled in graphic depictions of surgical horror as crazed doctors tried to rebuild the damaged faces of their loved ones using replacement parts taken from female victims. Bardem’s film is set in the not-too-distant future, and his doctor uses chemical agents to combat genetic defects. The victims in this film are not slaughtered for reusable body parts, but rather in the pursuit of good old-fashioned revenge.
The film is awash with movie references that bolster its central theme; society’s obsession with physical beauty. As mentioned above Sgt. Pelayo grows a moustache like screen heart-throb Clark Gable. In a flashback to her childhood Lola uses a mirror that does not reflect her image; instead she has attached a photograph of Marilyn Monroe to the front of the mirror, this hides her own image and shows her what society regards as an ideal face. In some archive news footage, we learn that her unfaithful lover was killed in a car crash with his wife whilst they were honeymooning in Monaco. Monaco is famous for its association with Princess Grace (Kelly), a screen idol, and to many, a fairytale princess. She was the star of several of Hitchcock’s thrillers, and she died in a car crash in 1982 (in the film, the year of Lola’s birth). The flip side to this fascination with beauty is subtly referred to in a brief shot during a scene in a bar frequented by Lt. Arribas. Behind the bar is a poster for the infamous film FREAKS (d. Tod Browning, 1932).
Bardem's film is a sexy thriller loaded with black humour, combined with
twisted elements from "Beauty and the Beast", where nothing is
quite what it seems. The setting of a beauty pageant with a killer on the
loose is reminiscent of 1980's “slasher” films as indeed are
the special effects in the climactic scenes, and the killer's shrine filled
with giallo-esque mannequins, and dolls. All these elements, coupled
with some excellent cinematography by Nestor Calvo, add up to a splendid
THE UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD won the Golden Kebbi for best film at the 4th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea 2000.
Widescreen presentation (enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs)
Stereo 2.0 and optional Dolby Digital 5.1
"Making of" featurette
Trailers and TV spots
Optional English subtitles.