Morbidly Beautiful

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One of the finest Mexican horror films ever, “Skeleton of Mrs. Morales” is the very definition of an oldie but a goodie; essential viewing.

Nosy neighbors. Gas Lighting. Taxidermy. Mean Wives. Revenging Husbands. Tainted alcohol. A pretty arrogant murder plot that would certainly constitute the perfect crime.

And the whole thing is in black and white and in Spanish.

Trust me, it’s even better than it sounds.

This week’s Tubi Tuesday is 1960’s The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales. Also known as El Esqueleto de la señora Morales, it is an absolutely beautiful and complex horror film by director Rogelio A. Gonzalez.

Most horror films of the late 50s and early 60s focused on bizarre science fiction. However, this gem of a film focuses on the complex relationship between a man and his absolutely horrible wife.

Dr. Pablo Morales is a good man, a kind man who works as a taxidermist.

While Morales does his best to be a good man, his wife is just unbelievably mean to him at every moment she can.

He comes home from work as a taxidermist, and she calls him disgusting and makes him basically bathe in rubbing alcohol.

He tries to eat a steak, and she retches. He cracks a beer, and she calls him an alcoholic. He compliments the maid on her cooking, and she accuses him of cheating. He lays in bed, and she demands that he doesn’t touch her because he stinks.

She takes all the money he makes doing taxidermy and uses it to elevate her status amongst the people at the local church.

She tells everyone he is mean to her and bullies her about her birth defect, a twisted leg. And if that were not bad enough, she injures herself and says he gets drunk and hits her.

He takes all of this in stride.

But when he buys a fancy camera he’s been saving up for, and she smashes it, he decides to commit the perfect crime.

Actually, perfect is debatable.

He poisons her wine and uses his talents as a taxidermist to preserve her bones and places the skeleton in the front window of his shop. You might think this is the most illogical thing ever if you wanted to commit the perfect crime, but Dr. Morales has the most charisma of anyone ever.

The film’s atmosphere is fairly dark, though it is what you might call a slow burn.

The central focus of the film is not horrific imagery but the strong acting of Arturo de Córdova as Dr. Morales.

He is very convincing in his role as a good guy husband dragged down by his mean wife — and even more convincing as the cold-blooded killer with extreme confidence that he will get away with the crime of the century.

In the end, he escapes judgment from man’s laws, but can he escape judgment in the eyes of god?

There is something about black-and-white films from the 60s that is just so beautiful, and this film is no exception.

This is a genuinely wonderful horror film, and it’s no wonder why it’s listed as one of the greatest Mexican movies of all time. Check it out now on Tubi.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5

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