From 1993 Chronos, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro it quickly became synonymous with horror from Mexico. Latest releases like Issa lopez‘s Tigers are not afraid, Emilio Portes‘s Belzebuth, and even Gigi Saul Guerrero‘s Culture shock they indicate a new emerging class of talented contemporaries of the genre. While that’s exciting for the future of horror, there is already a vast and rich history of Mexican horror worth exploring: a world of genre films that reinterpret national culture, history, and trauma through the lens of the terror.
El Santo and his respective movie series that saw the fighter take on vampires, mummies, and monsters made fighters famous on a broader scale. Still, for every El Santo movie, there is a horror gem waiting to be discovered. So much so that it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s a short, helpful introduction to help you get started. A quick warning before you begin; Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s Holy blood It’s worth a look, but this manual was missed as a co-production and much better known than the other movies on the list.
Two monks (1934)
If you want to start at the beginning, start at Juan Bustillo OroFilmography, father of Mexican terror. When dramas and westerns were all the rage, the prolific filmmaker focused on genre narrative. Two monks, also know as Two monks, tells the non-linear story of the rivalry between Javier and Juan. Set in a Gothic monastery, Oro employs a strong German Expressionist style for his violent narrative told from two different perspectives. He is temperamental and minimalist, waiting for his moment to reveal the truths behind the opposition of men. While the gold ones The ghost of the convent (1934) is much more firmly in the realm of horror, the written / directed by Oro Two monks offers a better understanding of the filmmaker and is more accessible thanks to Criterion.
The Vampire (1957)
director Fernando Mendez and writer Ramon Obon brought the classic blood-sucking monster to Mexico, marking its first vampire movie. The plot sees a young woman returning to her small hometown to make arrangements for her aunt’s funeral. When rumors begin to circulate that a vampire infestation has taken root, he becomes suspicious of his new neighbor, Count Karol de Lavud (German oaks). The vampires proved to be very popular and influential, ushering in a Mexican wave of horror classics. It should also be noted that The Vampire strewn with stars Abel salazar, the native genre equivalent to the icons Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. Salazar also stars in two additional features on this list; The cesspool of Dr. METRO. other The curse of the crying woman.
Dr. M’s cesspool (1959)
To underscore how comprehensive and prolific director Fernando Méndez and writer Ramón Obón were in Mexico’s genre production of the 1940s and 1950s, this is a hidden masterpiece of gothic horror. Occupying the same space as Mario Bava or Val Lewton’s Gothic work, The cesspool of Dr. METRO. is a haunting and moody feature that makes excellent use of shadows and composition. As for the plot, two doctors make a pact that whoever dies first will return to tell the other the secrets of the afterlife. Because it’s horror, things don’t end well for many of its characters. There is melodrama, there is tragedy, and of course there is a lot of surprising terror.
Macario marks the first Mexican film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Directed and co-written by Roberto Gavaldon, the film follows his eponymous character desperate for a meal on the Day of the Dead. When his wife cooks turkey for him, he is visited by the three apparitions of the Devil, God and Death. Everyone asks Macario to share their food, but he refuses everyone except death. In return, Death grants him a potion that can heal the sick. Macario uses it for selfish gain, earning him a trip to the underworld. It is a beautiful and well crafted Faustian fantasy.
The Curse of the Crying Woman (1961)
Also know as The Curse of La Llorona, this vague narration of the legend is very little seen outside of Mexico. It’s a fantastic gothic gem that borrows a lot from Mario Bava (Black sunday, in particular). The plot follows Selma, who has summoned her niece Amelia to her mansion to claim her as part of an inheritance. It soon becomes clear that Amelia has been lured into playing a role in cursing the family and reviving the witch La Llorona. This one has witches, bats, gothic scenes and images that look like something out of a Bava movie. There isn’t much familiarity with the actual legend here, but La Llorona is pretty creepy.
Directed and co-written by Juan López Moctezuma, this Mexican horror film in English stars Tina Romero as the owner Alucarda. From childhood, the orphan Alucarda was raised by nuns in a repressive Catholic convent. Now a teenager, Alucarda finally has a friend her age with the arrival of a newly orphaned Justine (Susana kamini). They become inseparable, perhaps even more so when they stumble upon a crypt and unleash a satanic force that seduces best friends and uses them as a conduit to destroy everything in their path. Moctezuma weaves a sacrilegious coming-of-age story with shocking images that slowly developed a cult over time.
Cemetery of Terror (1985)
Ruben Galindo Jr. He went on to writing and producing long ago, but in the ’80s, the filmmaker delivered a trio of solid horror films that are worth watching. The best known of the three is that of American influence. Do not panic, but it’s the one centered on Halloween Cemetery of Terror that offers the most fun. A trio of college students decide to impress their women by stealing a body from a morgue for a Halloween prank and party in an abandoned house. It just so happens that it is the body of a serial killer, and reading an enchantment from a book brings it back to life. This supernatural assassin brings bloody chaos in the Fulci line and features legendary character actor Hugo Stiglitz as the occult expert.
Poison for fairies (1986)
Horror director Carlos Enrique Taboada He is considered a national talent in cinema and one of the most influential. His direct influence is reflected in the work of Guillermo del Toro. Pan’s Labyrinth other The devil’s backbone. Taboada also chose to work in horror when others sometimes only did it out of necessity. The filmmaker could take a small budget and run it through an expert atmosphere and create fear, and any of his films is a great starting point. Even the wind is afraid (available at Tubi), The stone book, or Darker than night they serve as masterclasses on hold. But it is its final characteristic that is most considered, and its surprising ending packs a punch. In it, a girl convinces her schoolmate that she is a witch, forcing her to participate in a series of games that become increasingly violent and unpleasant.