Cine Latino covers, well, all things relating to Latino culture and the movies, every Friday.
With Halloween only a week away we decided to take a look at a few nail-biting horror films crafted by 15 directors from Mexico, Spain, Chile, Uruguay and Cuba. Our roundup includes some classic scary tales, a few currently in theaters and a handful of new titles we hope you’ll add to your queue. If you’re easily scared–and we don’t blame you–grab a friend and have yourself a terrifying movie marathon.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Directed by Pedro Almodovar (Spain)
Released in theaters just a few days ago The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito) chronicles the life of brilliant plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas), haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)/ The Devil’s Backbone (2001)/Cronos (1993)
Produced or directed by Guillermo Del Toro (Mexico)
Guillermo del Toro got his first big break when his horror film Cronos won nine academy awards in Mexico, he then went on to win the International Critics Week prize at Cannes. Horror, fantasy, adventure and drama became his specialty, creating an array of titles from The Devil’s Backbone and Hellboy to Pan’s Labyrinth and his recent produced project Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s for del Toro’s films to entertain and scare the living day lights out of you. You’ll think twice before turning out the lights.
Directed by Fernando Barreda Luna (Mexico)
Think Paranormal Activity meets Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark minus the little CGI creatures. On April 4, 2010, the Quintanilla family was found murdered in their countryside house. Police reported the existence of 37 hours of recorded evidence over a five day period, which shows members of the Quintanilla family investigating the disappearance of a young girl in the Garraf woods.
Julia’s Eyes (2010)
Directed by Guillem Morales (Spain)
Julia’s Eyes (Los Ojos de Julia) tells the story of a young woman who is losing her eye sight while trying to investigate the death of her twin sister. Guillermo del Toro produced.
The Orphanage (2007)
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (Spain)
The Spanish language film, The Orphanage (El Orfanato) has the power to absolutely make you paranoid about imaginary friends. Belen Rueda plays Laura, a woman who brings her family back to her childhood home, which she turns into orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend, the same one that haunted her as a child.
Rumor has is that New Line Cinema is looking to remake the film with Amy Adams as the lead, Guillermo del Toro producing and Mark Pellington directing.
Directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza (Spain)
The film follows a Spanish television reporter, Angela Vidal, through the lens of her cameraman, Pablo. One night the two decide to shadow a team of firefighters who get a call from an apartment building nearby about a trapped woman. What follows is a long nightmare…
Tesis (1996)/The Others (2001)
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar (Chile)
Chilean director Alejandro Amenabar takes college thesis writing to the next level in Tesis. While researching old movies for her thesis project a young film student in Madrid finds a snuff movie in which a young girl is tortured and killed. Soon she discovers that the girl was a former student at their school.
The Others stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children. She oppresses and enforces strange religious rules but with the arrival of new servants rules begin to be broken with unexpected consequences.
Directed by Ricardo Islas (Uruguay)
Calling out all cheaters! Headcrushers will remind everyone of why they shouldn’t cheat on their partner. The story goes like this; a mobster kills his cheating girlfriend and her lover. They get buried in a wall and 20 years later construction workers discover the bodies. Things get really creepy when someone–or something–begins a bloody revenge streak.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Mexico)
It’s always a feast for the eyes when you have George Clooney and Salma Hayek in a film. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn tells the story of how two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, which turns out to be a Hell of a strip joint. Get ready for strong violence, gore and of course, nudity.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)/Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Directed by George A. Romero (of Cuban and Lithuanian descent)
No need for an introduction. Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are familiar cult classics written and fine-tuned by the legendary zombie-obsessed director.
Sisters of Satan (1978)
Directed by Juan L. Moctezuma (Mexico)
Who would expect a trip to the convent to become a demonic filled adventure? Sisters of Satan gets really scary, really fast. A young girl’s arrival at a convent after the death of her parents marks the beginning of a series of events that unleash an evil presence on the girl and her mysterious new friend, an enigmatic figure known as Alucarda.
Fangs of the Living Dead (1973)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio (Spain)
A virgin + castle + vampires = Fangs of the Living Dead.
The House that Screamed (1969)
Directed by Narciso Ibanez Serrador (Uruguay)
One by one they will die. Lilli Palmer owns and runs a school for wayward girls in France. Her absolute discipline has fostered a social order among the girls with rampant sex, lesbianism and torture. Girls are being murdered with no trace left behind.
Doctor of Doom (1963)
Directed by Rene Cardona (Mexico)
A mad scientist terrorizes a city by kidnapping young women with his ape-man Gomar and then using them as subjects in sadistic brain transplant experiments!
The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962)
Directed by Jesus Franco (Spain)
Slashers and serial killers are found all over our list, and The Awful Dr. Orlof fits right in. Dr. Orlof, a former prison doctor, abducts beautiful women from nightclubs and tries to use their skin to repair his daughter’s fire-scarred face.
Join the conversation and fill us in on your favorite scary movies directed by Hispanic filmmakers.