"CRIMEN", as I'll call it for short, is generally considered the film that launched the horror film genre in Mexico. The film was produced by Sergio Kogan and Abel Salazar; the latter would bring us many of the Churubusco-Azteca productions of Mexican horror films including "EL BARON DEL TERROR" aka "BRAINIAC" in which Salazar also starred. The film is directed by veteran Chano Urueta ("EL BARON DEL TERROR, "THE WITCH'S MIRROR"). "CRIMEN" is mainly a mad scientist film but it's crammed full of many other horror tropes; the result, however, doesn't feel cheap but instead more like a tribute to the classic Universal horror films of the 30s-40s (as well as other movie studios of the time). We get the strong flavour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, FRANKENSTEIN, MAD LOVE, Boris Karloff's series of "mad doctor" films at Columbia and even a presaging of future medical horror flicks like EYES WITHOUT A FACE.
A bored reporter named Nora (Miroslava) is assigned by her editor Mr. Gherasimos (Fernando Wagner) to answer a "lonely hearts" ad from a well-to-do man "ripe in years" looking for female companionship. When she meets the man down by the docks, Nora encounters a mysterious cloaked figure whose face is entirely covered by black cloth and dark glasses underneath a slouch hat.
The direction by Urueta is sure-handed and the cinematography by Victor Herrera is sumptuous, moody and expressionistic. Herrera (who also shot such Mexican horrors as "THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M" and "THE LIVING COFFIN") is a master of chiaroscuro lighting and "CRIMEN" is a beaut from beginning to end. There is judicious use of backscreen projecting but it somehow is made to look less artificial than I've ever seen it in any movie; it almost becomes an artistic statement which is quite beautiful!