15 February, 2011

Franco's 80s actors: VERÓNICA ARECHAVALETA

Call her Verónica Arechavaleta, Arezchavaleta, Arizchvaleta, Areschavaleta or, the most un-euphonic among several contenders, Arecnavaleta …I have settled for the more probable Verónica Arechavaleta as the proper moniker of this actress who was billed under several variants of the same name. Arechavaleta is, after all, a surname a Basque person or someone of Basque origin could have, whereas the weird-sounding Arecnavaleta registers as the mistaken typed transcription of some handwritten text with low aitches.

Matters of correct spelling apart, little is known about Arechavaleta, whose film career was confined to the early eighties, except for rumours that she was born in Uruguay. At the end of her brief filmography, she was among the pioneering actresses of Spanish hardcore, working for the likes of Ismael González and Manuel Mateos, all of whom operated within homegrown porn in its earliest stages before it was brought to a temporary halt by heavy taxation. Prior to the legalisation of hardcore, Arechavaleta had appeared in, you guessed it, softcore movies, memorably as the reformatory governess in Ricardo Palacios’s Mi conejo es el major (1982).

Her occasional billing as “Mae Monroe” brings a stark contrast between the associations of this pseudonym and the hard, sub-nosed appearance of Arechavaleta herself. Not a pretty actress by common standards, she lent herself easily to evilly domineering types, such as those she played in at least two Jess Franco films, as in Sangre en mis zapatos (1983), partnered with Daniel Katz, and Furia en el trópico (1985), aka Mujeres acorraladas aka Orgasmo perverso, where she was once again seen as a prison governess. Neither her name nor its variants are anywhere to be seen in the credits of Furia en el trópico: she could well be the “Verónica Seeton” who shares a screen credit with Palacios.

Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen

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