Known as Pedro Almodóvar’s favorite horror film, 1979’s arthouse movie Arrebato (Rapture), is coming off its first U.S. theatrical run and going to video on demand and then DVD/Blu-ray. Altered Innocence has put together a stunning new 4K restoration of the mind-bending film about drug addiction, sex, and altered consciousness, written and directed by Spanish filmmaker and artist Iván Zulueta.

Playing like an extended drug trip, Arrebato opens with low budget filmmaker José Sirgado, played by Eusebio Poncela, editing a black and white vampire sequence from his latest horror movie. José is frustrated with the way the movie is coming along and leaves and goes home, where he finds his ex-girlfriend, Ana (Cecilia Roth), passed out. José receives an odd package in the mail which contains a cassette tape, a Super 8 film, and a key. The package is from an aspiring filmmaker named Pedro, played enthusiastically by Will More, who José met a couple of times through his friend Marta (Marta Fernández Muro). Pedro is eccentric, constantly muttering to himself, and always cold, leading him to wear a heavy wool coat everywhere he goes. José is clearly intrigued by the package from Pedro, so he listens to the cassette and watches the movie as he shoots up heroin. 

Arrebato then launches into flashbacks of José meeting Pedro for the first time, and immediately becoming mesmerized by his quirkiness. Pedro wants to be a filmmaker and talks a lot of what sounds like nonsense, while trying to find what he calls rapture. As the flashbacks show Pedro and José consuming a lot of drugs, becoming lovers, and José and Ana’s on-again, off-again relationship, Pedro uses a Super 8 camera to capture abstract images of everything around him. We also see José and Ana trying heroin for the first time, with José telling her they should only do a little because it’s easy to get hooked. As José and Ana become addicted, Arrebato explores drug addiction in new and nightmarish ways with trippy montages throughout the film, as well as a couple of scenes alluding to Ana thinking about overdosing. 

Eusebio Poncela is fantastic as he effortlessly portrays José’s lethargic descent into addiction. José appears apathetic to almost everything, with the exception of his growing fascination with Pedro and his quest to film different streams of consciousness. José is unhappy with his own filmmaking and is seeking inspiration, while also plummeting into heroin addiction, and he views Pedro as his muse. Will More gives such a believable performance as the high-strung, sometimes frenzied Pedro, and skillfully alternates between aloofness and euphoria. Pedro believes he has the ability to capture a different level of consciousness on film, and soon José believes it as well.

When José nears the end of the Super 8 film Pedro sent him, he realizes that Pedro actually has caught something unexplainable on film, and he has to use the key to get into Pedro’s house to find out what happens next. The end of the film contains weird, red frames that grow bigger and bigger as Pedro films himself sleeping, convincing him that he has succeeded in capturing a new level of consciousness on film. 

As José, Ana, and Pedro all spiral deeper into heroin addiction, Arrebato utilizes intoxicating, hallucinogenic sequences to illustrate the perils of addiction. Pedro compares the red frames of his film to a vampire that comes when he is asleep, not to drink his blood, but to steal him away to an alternate reality. The film highlights the physical and mental toll of drug addiction, as Pedro grows pale and sickly, and José becomes completely obsessed with Pedro’s film. Ultimately, Arrebato is an exhilarating, sometimes exhausting, study of drug addiction, which uses vivid imagery to effectively depict the paranoia and hopelessness that comes with addiction. Interestingly, Arrebato was the final film from cult filmmaker and poster designer Iván Zulueta.

Movie Score: 3.5/5

The brand new 4K restoration of Arrebato will be available from Altered Innocence on digital on December 21st and on DVD/Blu-ray on January 25th.

  • Michelle Swope
    About the Author - Michelle Swope

    Michelle credits seeing Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street in the theater as the reason she’s a lifelong horror fan. For the past several years she’s been writing film reviews, conducting interviews, and moderating live panels for various online sites, while also advocating for accessibility and inclusivity in journalism, as a disabled woman working in the horror community. She was previously a featured writer at and has also written for Ghastly Grinning, F This Movie!, Nightmarish Conjurings,, and several other sites. She has also been published in the online zine We Are Horror and wrote an essay for the Blu-ray release of the film Dinner in America for Arrow Films Video. She now resides in Wilmington, NC where she is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association.