The Holy Mountain - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Holy Mountain Reviews

Page 1 of 66
Super Reviewer
½ March 31, 2007
"Your sacrifice completes my Sanctuary of a Thousand Testicles." lol!

The only thing further out is a cartoon by A.A.P. Like a cinematic equivalent to the Beatles' Tommorow Never Knows - takes a few holy texts and rocks them out, hard.

"Zoom back, camera!"
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2011
This psychedelic, LSD-induced masterpiece is not only visually ambitious, with an impeccable cinematography and editing, but is also highly imaginative, using symbolism and archetypes in a brilliant social commentary. Also, it is impressive how the fantastic score helps create the perfect atmosphere in every scene.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2011
I've seen some movies that were really bizarre, trippy, drug firendly experiences, but this one might just take the cake, perhaps more so than Eraserhead.

Overflowing with sacreligious imagery (that might be shocking, but didn't necessarily offend me personally), and tons of nudity, this is the sort of movie that if I tried to explain the plot (or the semblance thereof), it would only make it sound more ridiculous than it is, and you probbaly wouldn't want to see it. I can definitely say this isn't for all tastes, and I don't even really know for sure what was going on a lot of the time, but I will say that if you like "out there" type of stuff that is art directed to the Nth Degree, and appreciate symbolisn, mysticism, and want to see some really wonderful cinematogarphy and listen to a strangely jarring and ecclectic soundtrack, then you probably should see this at least once if you haven't already.

I'm not gonna attempt to explain or describe this, since the internet can do a far better job of that, but I will say that seeing shots of birds fly out of bullet wounds, and amphibians dressed in costumes re-enacting the Spanish conquest of Latin America (and other events) are two things that I never dreams of witnessing, but feel like a better person for havign experienced it. And that's ultimately what this film is; an experience. It's not always pleasant, but it's far from boring, and sometiems even quite dazzling.

I'm not entirely sure that Jodorowski isn't full of crap, and he might have been trying a little too hard with this one, but I think it was sorta cool to watch, even if I barely was able to get through it, mostly because I was exhausted and not entirely sure what to expect, but, if in the right frame of mind (and depending on your personal convictions), this might be a really rewarding viewing for the more adventurous of you out there.
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2007
Vomiting out visual ideas and lots of new age-pseudo mystical bullshit is enough to make me roll my eyes and/or laugh uncontrollably. Jodorowsky doesn't hold a thing here, nevertheless I think this kind of film is quite necessary to serve for other artist like some sort of red traffic light, there's a point where is just much ado about nothing.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2011
Well, it's not el Topo for sure. This mix of spiritual flavours and colors are just going to make more sense to people who are really into the esoteric. I prefer el topo, but once more, Jodorowsky has a great eye for composition. There are several fantastic visuals here, and Mexico city's unique aura is captured with great energy here.
Super Reviewer
½ December 18, 2008
After wordless adventures with a legless and armless companion, including some time spent at a carnival where bullfrogs are dressed as conquistadors, a Christlike figure rides up on a moon-shaped hook to a tower where an ascended master prepares him and eight others to ascend the Holy Mountain by shaving his head and burning his feces. Then things get strange. Alejandro Jodoworsky decided that EL TOPO was too tame and conventional and he wanted to do something weird and outlandish this time; the results must be seen to be believed. Set designs, with live animals wandering through them, are incredible, and several illusions (like the birds that fly out of bullet holes in corpses) are unforgettable. The first 30 minutes or so are unparalleled in modern surrealism, though things take a dip in the middle portion when Jodorowsky tries out some tone-damaging social satire.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2009
Another helping of vanity, insanity and profanity from the man who inflicted El Topo upon us. Hmm, I'm racking my brain here, trying to think of something complimentary to say about this... I like the art direction and I can't deny that he does pull off the occasional dazzling visual coup, but it would take a much better alchemist than Jodorowsky to turn this shit into gold. "I promised you the Great Secret and I will not disappoint you." Yeah, right! The ending is a total cop-out. Not that I was expecting the answer to the Meaning of Life or anything like that, but if Jodorowsky's message is that we should make the most of the real world and stop questing after illusory holy mountains, I wish he'd let me know two hours earlier and I wouldn't have wasted my time on his lousy movie. I was also irritated by the arrogant way he broke the fourth wall to impart this pearl of wisdom, as if I'm supposed to be so wrapped up in what he's doing I've forgotten it's only a movie. "Oh my God!!! You mean this is only a movie I've been watching? Not the profound spiritual experience I thought I was having?!?! The man's a genius!" I'm sorry, Alejandro, but you have to cast the spell before you can break it, and you never did.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2009
I get the impression that writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky was raised in a repressive Catholic boarding school populated with sadistic nuns and this, The Holy Mountain, is his revenge. It's full of blasphemous imagery that I'm certain caused more than one self-righteous christian to exit the theater before the last reel concluded. Personally, I wasn't offended, but I'm a less-than-devout protestant who is detached enough to see the irony of it all. I don't necessarily agree with Jodorowsky's vision but I definitely applaud his courage.
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2007
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2009
First thing I'll say is that this is a movie you should watch by yourself and then never watch again. Don't bring this to a party trying to be hip and then bust this out, like, "Hey, have you guys seen this...". If someone did that at my house, I would ask them to leave. I would thank them, but I would ask them to leave. There are some beautiful shots in this film and some brilliant sequences, but there are a lot of I am going to shock the shit of anyone moments and some sexual things that will never allow you to watch a porn ever again. I do appreciate the fact that some of these sets were really impressive and the fact that so much work went into creating them. Also, the film looks great and it kept my interest the entire way through, even through the cringing.
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2007
Like El Topo, Holy Mountain is slow but often poignant. The beginning and ending are both equally stunning, arguably moreso than its predecessor.

However, A little editing in between would've gone a long way this time around. There are so many gems, verbal and visual alike, but I couldn't watch it in one setting. So many great one-liners and scenes are all-but-lost in a smattering of pointless and half-retarded dialogue and scenes, namely between the middle and ending. The explanation of the universal journeyman was especially harrowing.

Half the time it was funny and interesting and half the time it was simply poorly written and truly unnecessary, and strangely, formulaic. How odd for Jodorowsky! The music was further boring and formulaic, and it takes a lot for me to enjoy a movie with a (near) piss-poor soundtrack.

How sad that his Dune production never came to be, that David Lynch and not he, who cared so much more deeply about the project, eventually made the movie. Jodorowsky influenced so many great artistic talents in the process. It's truly horrible that he never got to see his own great masterpiece come to life.
Super Reviewer
½ July 3, 2007
Weird hippy shit that's like a Mexican attempt at a Monty Python-style movie on politics and religion
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2008
This is one of a kind, only his other films come close to it. The drunks at the drive-in used to honk in protest over Holy Mountain, one of its few general release venues, because they couldn't make heads or tails of it. Jodorowoski describes himself as a game player or "trickster" not a film maker. Much of Holy Mountain does, indeed, play tricks on the viewer. While the movie seems to be telling a story of some sort of quest to find cosmic enlightenment, this is only a thread which ties together Jodorowoski's many strange and hallucinogenic images. Jodorowoski frequently makes use of grotesque and revolting scenes, as well as bizarre music, to startle and unnerve the viewer. At some level he challenges the audience to make sense of his movie, if that is what it you'd call it, though not many have succeeded. With much nudity, violence and sexual content this is not a family movie and certainly will not please every taste.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2007
For some reason I really can't explain, I liked The Holy Mountain. It started off with that Full Of Shit Or Complete Genius thing that El Topo had going on. It started off with what seemed to be the sole purpose of just trying to shock the shit out of people under the guise of brilliance. I like the imagery (namely of the nine) here even if the execution of the story was hit and miss. The music was pretty wild but overall I'm convinced that Jodorowsky had the extremely good fortune of being in the right place at the right time as far as being a filmmaker is concerned. He was in an era where it was seemingly so easy to (like in the film) just shit in a jar and convince people it was gold. That's something that can't be done so easily these days with more skeptical audiences. So when all's said and done, I think Jodorowsky is more of a lucky filmmaker than a good one even if he can create some spectacular imagery.
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2007
This movie could be set on another planet and considered a sci-fi/fantasy.
A masterpiece in filmmaking, but watch out! The images are very powerful and burned into my mind forever. There is much ugliness and freakiness in this movie. But the experience is alluring; I find myself wanting to re-watch it regularly. It shows human excess in the form of characters who rule the 9 planets. It takes all organized beliefs, chews them up, and vomits them out in multi-colored reeking detail. It's an offensive, but mind-stretching experience, which takes us to the answer we've all been seeking, but might be something we don't appreciate after the tiring and insane journey.
Super Reviewer
½ July 9, 2014
Admittedly "The Holy Mountain" is one of the most difficult film I ever had to interpret. Not because it's story is so complicated it demands your full undivided attention to every detail in a frame, but because it draws its inspiration from Tarot cards (thank you Mr. Edogawa for those long lessons), Christian Iconology, Latin American History, futurism, mysticism, politics, astrology in a combination to strange images that correlate together into a difficult to decipher theme. Never do it characters explicitly tell you the significant of the events, but much like the characters it's a journey of enlightenment. It's also one that'll leave you scratching your head until you realize you hit a nerve in your skull.

The Holy Mountain gives an omniscient view of what social engineering caused by greed has done to the modern world, but shows us how to live and not give in to a material world. That's one way to put it or more honestly a series of strange visuals, odd metaphors, and a main character who isn't even involved in the ending. Breaking all logic of a traditional narrative being a witness of the journey is not at any point off putting. It speaks figuratively rather than expressing itself through a literal sense. If taken at face value the film will leave you wondering what in the world you just saw. Much in comparison to the thief we follow, the film asks its audience to either go on the journey and be open to whatever is let out of the floodgates of the storyteller consciousness, or if to be closed off then to might as well leave. Visually exploring what is the significant of immorality, religion, and beliefs pondering if reaching enlightenment is more important than the journey to achieve it. Over the top humor pokes fun of the lack of awareness of the form of escapism in surreal ways that ranges from manufacturing art with a fully functioning conveyor belt for butt-imprint paintings to conditioning children to hate specific future enemies. Scenes all of which are a natural representation of escapism either be through photographs, paintings, videos, or anything that mentally makes the subject escape reality. Before reaching the end the figurative meaning behind it images will culminate into a narrative that touches on various themes. Each of which make sense (in this film logic that is) in the surreal manner they are presented in. Once it reaches the abstract ending is where there's a glaring misstep. The ending itself spoon feeds everything the viewer witness in a final dialogue that reaffirms what you just saw was nothing more than it just appeared to be. Misguiding half of the meaning it actually was trying to get across. Then again, from a literal standpoint it goes along with the rest of the film.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is the film writer/director/producer/editor/music composer/costume designer/set designer/painter/sculptor/star and his input is on screen all the time. Creating a world that in semblance is no further than our very own, it's just presented in a different form. At times the film looks absolutely gorgeous and it's design are eye popping with surreal designs and bright colors. There is a scene where the thief enters a rainbow room with a single holy man and a camel. A struggle breaks out but the primitive learns that he is not worthy to overcome the much wiser man. Suggesting the brighter the color in the rainbow passage the greater the growth. It's just one of the symbolic nature elements within. This intricate collective designed is sure to challenge the thoughts and translation of the viewer. As well as the set decorations, props, and the costumes and it pays off as the film is gorgeous to look at even if at times it's a little hard to decipher without an innate knowledge of world religions and the occult. The whole film is a literal two hour intellectual LSD trip. In the scene where Axon of Neptune and his healthy young army massacre a town, the montage we see of blood, dust and guts isn't entirely wounds overflowing with deep red or gory close-ups of torn flesh. Instead there are sticky greens and blues bubbling from bodies, obvious red ribbons from the gut and, in a rather touching moment from within the violence, little birds fluttering from the chest of a dead body. This barely scratches the surface of the surreal images you're going to see in the whole film.

The Holy Mountain is surreal, deep, and one of the hardest films to make sense off if there's any to be found if we speaking in a literal sense. If taken at face value the series of events will have little correlation, but never is it boring because of it surreal images. It's a difficult film to recommend anyone to see because while it provides no background on everything it tackles. The abstract interpretation on the series of odd images is more than satisfactory for viewers seeking to challenge their minds. That is until it partially misguide viewers toward the end. No matter how the film is interpreted "The Holy Mountain" is never boring for what it bring to the forefront to the viewers that will confuse as well captivate the imagination.
Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"The Holy Mountain" is a surreal acid trip of a movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky. No matter how outlandish the imagery may get, there is at least something of a narrative under that. A thief(Hector Salinas) is not having a good day, being almost crucified and stoned(not the drug variety, although there is plenty of that to go around). He is also involuntarily used as a model for Jesus mannequins and develops a following amongst young women during a street festival as police kill protesters and have sex with anything that moves. At a tower, he is scooped up to have an audience with a mystery man(Alexandro Jodorowsky), an expert at martial arts and medicine, who has a proposition for the thief.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]With "The Holy Mountain," Alejandro Jodorowsky takes the idea of a quest and turns it on its head before putting it into a washing machine. The movie is saying that all the answers we seek are inside of us(quite literally in one case). And once we cast away this corrupt society ruled over by corporations and police that has imprisoned all of us, we can have faith in ourselves.[/font]
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2013
I'm all for weird and surreal movies, but The Holy Mountain just really didn't work for me. It's less a movie than it is a series of symbolic images, as there's not exactly a linear story to follow and there's minimal dialogue. It makes absolutely no sense when confronted with the expectations of a conventional movie. I didn't expect it to make sense, but I was still wondering what the point of the movie's imagery was. There's a brief scene where a group of frogs and lizards are dressed as Spanish conquistadors, then suddenly the frogs explode off-screen for no real reason. In another scene, a group of innocent people are shot, but instead of blood coming out of their wounds, birds fly out of the gaping holes in their chests. The Holy Mountain almost feels like psychedelic art in motion, but the beautiful visuals weren't enough to hold my attention. If you're interested in strange cult movies, you might as well give it a shot, but I just didn't find much to keep me interested in The Holy Mountain.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2011

Alexandro Jodorowsky is one of my favorite filmmakers; a man able to summon his very dreams onto the screen. He makes surrealist films like nobody else can, and admittedly, many people attempt. He is different. He is a man who will go as far as to do psychadelics to create an image. He's a passionate and frequent lucid dreamer. I wish I could be as genius as him.

He began his reign of surrealist terror and fascination with "El Topo", and he went from there to here. "The Holy Mountain", his second film, is also the second film I've seen from the filmmaker; my first outing being the mind-blowing "Santa Sangre". But perhaps the very term "mind-blowing" cannot be attached to a Jodorowsky film; since all of his films serve their purpose as escapist imagery-driven works of art. To call "The Holy Mountain" one of the director's best is a lie; it is a great film, and there are no "best" Jodorowsky films. They are all, at least somewhat, fascinating.

This is one of those films that leaves a certain impact on the viewer, and it is the kind that disturbs us because we can't quite identify it. While most films attempt stories which are straight-forward and spoon-fed to us, films like this one are different. "The Holy Mountain", unlike "Santa Sangre", does not so-much tell a story; but more-so, it is a celebration of the macabre and the gruesome corners of our darkest imaginations. It came from a brilliant, educated, one-of-a-kind mind; that is Jodorowsky's.

So, what exactly is the film, if its story is almost non-existent? I can't tell you much beyond what I am about to. The film is basically a series of religious and rather admittedly sacrilegious images. An almost Christ-like figure walks from scenario-to-scenario; stopping only when he meets a man (played by the director) who takes him in as an apprentice. The hero of the story wants gold, and he will get gold, as well as he follows his mentor. He meets seven people; all of whom live on different planets. They are, like the Christ-like man, mortal...but perhaps they are something more.

There, that's all you get in terms of story; because that's (nearly) all there is to it. One would consider doing an entire study on the imagery shown here, most of which I won't spoil for you, because it must be experienced; and what an experience it is. These are some of the richest, most symbolic, powerfully resonant images I've ever seen in film. I don't consider myself religious, and you don't need to be to appreciate what you see and feel whilst watching the film, but the more you know; the more you are ultimately able to perceive and understand. So in ways, there are rewards to living your life, in a spiritual sense; and one of them is being able to survive such a sensory assault as "The Holy Mountain".

On top of how beautiful (and disgusting) the images can be, the film also cares about what it needs to care about. It has a story, albeit a confusing (but still worthwhile) one. The acting is solid, but not crucial to the overall film. Perhaps this is because, in an Alexandro Jodorowsky film, you need not worry about having memorable characters; only memorable directorial choices. Some of the filmmaker's best work is contained within the frames of this film, and watching it shot-by-shot might just be essential for understanding everything. It is an overwhelming film. It is unlike anything I've ever seen. It could be seen as either overly indulgent and pretentious, or beautiful and unique. All I know is that the film is what it is; a fascinating, symbolic film, and I loved it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2014
The Holy Mountain stands as the most bizarre film I've ever seen, Jodorowsky's surrealistic piece is best described as a blitzkrieg of imagery. I soon found out it was pointless to analyze what was being shown, so instead I sat back and just acknowledged the religious symbols I spotted. I probably missed a vast majority of the allusions but the spiritual message stands strong. Incorporating such philosophies as "Money is the Root of All Evil", Jodorowsky takes a stand against THE church, but shows importance of spirituality. Similar to Bunuel's Mexican film Simon of the Desert, and stylistically similar to the work of Makavejev, The Holy Mountain criticizes greed with in the church, in the exploitation of the crucifix. The planet segment (representing bureaucracy) was the most fascinating and lively part of the film. The only issue I had was the South Park like humor (menorah gun), was fun and all, but took away from the message of the film.

The Holy Mountain explores to many spiritual, sexual, sociological, and psychedelic concepts to understand in one viewing. But with a wicked score the film is grasping even without any search for a meaning. The Holy Mountain is hallucinatory to watch and thought provoking to reflect upon.
Page 1 of 66