A surrealistic film that involves true horror, psychological pain, and extremely dark humor, Santa Sangre tells the story of Felix, a man whose past environment shapes, distorts and haunts him. As a young boy, he grows up in a circus with his parents. His father, Orgo, is a knife thrower who is characterized by his large, bloated body as well as his overly sexual desires while his mother, Concha (Mexican slang for “vagina”), is the leader of a religious cult, Santa Sangre. Concha’s cult worships a saint, a little girl whose arms were cut off by rapists and was ultimately left to die in her own pool of blood. Around her blood, Concha’s church is built and in it contains a large pool of blood that is said to be “holy blood”. During a circus performance one day, Concha witnesses her husband running off with a tattooed lady to have sex. Enraged, she finds them, pours acid on her husband, and consequently gets her two arms chopped off by Orgo who proceeds to kill himself. All this in front of little Felix’s eyes. Felix ends up in a mental institution where he escapes when he hears and sees his armless mother out his window. From here, he literally becomes the arms and hands of his mother, standing behind her and slipping his own arms and hands (now with long nails and red nail polish) through the sleeves of his mother’s clothes and killing women at his mother’s bidding.
Without revealing too much about the film, Sante Sangre is ultimately a coming to age film. Felix struggles throughout the whole movie to find his identity as he is trapped by the memories of his childhood and the rules of his mother’s religion. Sante Sangre ultimately states that we are all formed by our families’ sins and beliefs and the only way to truly define oneself is to break free from all the rules and religion acquired from our parents.