SATANIC HISPANICS Review: A Bounty of Bloody Tales From All Across Latin America
What do you get when you bring five of the most talented Hispanic genre filmmakers in the indie space together on a horrorific anthology project? A whole lot of bloody fun, and that’s exactly what Satanic Hispanics delivers. Four very different spooky stories connected by a fun wraparound from a variety of voices explore the diversity of the Latin American horror scene, from Argentina to Cuba to Mexico to Los Angeles, it’s a smorgasbord of guts and gore – and more than a few laughs – sure to entertain genre fans no matter where their preferences lay.
The project, a brainchild of Mike Mendez (The Convent, Big Ass Spider, Don’t Kill It) and Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), begins with the discovery of a mass murder of Latinos, the only survivor being a mysterious character who calls himself, The Traveler (Efren Ramirez, Napoleon Dynamite). Brought in for questioning by the cops, The Traveler regales them with a series of gruesome stories from across Latin America; some funny, some sad, all leading to a final showdown in the precinct with an ancient evil that Latinos know all too well, San La Muerte – or Santa Muerte if you prefer a northern variant – the saint of death.
The Traveler’s stories span the gamut of emotions, starting off with Demián Rugna’s (Terrified) Tambien Lo Vi (I See You, Too), the genuinely creepy story of a Rubik’s Cube prodigy who discovers a doorway to the world beyond death, only to find that they can see him as well. From there The Traveler guides the cops to Eduardo Sanchez’s (The Blair Witch Project) zany El Vampiro, a really fun little comedy about a vampire losing track of time and trying like hell to get home before the sun comes up.
After moving from serious to straight up silly, The Traveler delivers Gigi Saul Guerrero’s (Culture Shock, La Quinceañera) Nahuales, a rarely seen dive into Mexico’s indigenous cultures, often overlooked in international film circles. It’s a very cool horror tale that looks at a folklore that has lived in the dark for hundreds of years. From that unseen slice of life, we go back to the broad comedy of Brugues’s Hammer of Zanzibar, the story of an ancient artifact that is uniquely crafted to vanquish a very specific evil, and it just happens to resemble an enormous cock.
Each segment has its own flavor, and each director brings not only their own voice to the piece, but also the uniqueness of the wildly varied cultures of Latin America. Yes, the overarching theme of the piece is that of Hispanic horror, but the variety brought by the filmmakers is an amazing testament to the breadth of talent among them. As is the case with any anthology, there are slight fluctuations in execution, but overall, this is one of the most evenly successful anthologies I’ve seen in a long time, there’s truly something for everyone.
It isn’t often that talent from the Spanish speaking world – and even filmmakers of Latino descent in the United States – gets a showcase of its own, so it’s important that when it happens, it’s successful. Satanic Hispanics takes the ball and runs with it, presenting the viewer with a bevy of bloody delights, at least a couple of which are bound to stick to the ribs.
- Alejandro Brugués
- Mike Mendez
- Demián Rugna
- Pete Barnstrom
- Alejandro Mendez
- Lino K. Villa
- Efren Ramirez
- Jonah Ray
- Hemky Madera