I was about 19 years old when I first saw Diabolique after finding the old Criterion DVD at a thrift store and naturally the movie became a favorite since the entire premise of the movie & its aesthetic is all so very intriguing. Several years later, I came in the possession of Crimen Por Muerte (aka "Death By Crime") and to my surprise this movie takes on the Diabolique premise—but with that good ol’ Diafragma Films tone that I am so damn intrigued by.
Lights, Camera, Action. Welcome to the filming of a crime-action movie directed by a man named Bosco (Miguel Angel Infante) who’s married to Brenda (Hilda Aguirre)—the executive producer of the movie. Brenda is on a wheelchair due to an accident caused by Bosco and ever since then she’s had resentment towards her husband & so much resentment that she believes Bosco is trying to tarnish her all the damn time and is supposedly trying to score with the young leading actress of the movie. Bosco is tired of Brenda’s bullshit and when Brenda overhears him saying he wants to “get rid of her” over the phone to someone—Brenda believes he’s trying to get her killed! Brenda not taking any chances; fatal shoots Bosco after the phone call and manages to get her sister Monica (Edna Bolkan) to help her hide Bosco’s body. Monica then becomes director of the movie due to Bosco “dropping out” and naturally this all doesn’t go well when somehow Bosco vaguely appears in the backgrounds of filming and even around Brenda’s home!
As soon as I saw the real on-location film set in the beginning of Crimen Por Muerte—I was head over heels. This was the real crew from Diafragma Films making a movie within a movie. Wonderful! What’s also wonderful is how Crimen Por Muerte basically took on the premise of Diabolique, but with differing occupations for the characters and most of the movie being set in on-location film sets. Everything familiar from Diabolique is in Crimen Por Muerte and this includes all the twists & of course the memorable scene of our leading dead man haunting his wife up-close.
Director & writer Arturo Velazco really did his homework for Crimen Por Muerte since he truly brought upon a fairly unique videohome and I say this because most videohomes in the mid-90’s were always over the top action-crime flicks, weirdo sex comedies & crudely melodramas—but Crimen Por Muerte is none of that at all. Crimen Por Muerte is a mystery-thriller that remains serious through its entire duration with a solid-story being told and a cast & crew giving it their best. Crimen Por Muerte is not to be underestimated. Don't let it being just another videohome make you think otherwise. Give it a shot like our main character Brenda did with Bosco because you just never know what might come about. You will be surprised though.