Entertainment

HBO’s ‘Los Espookys’ Is The Spanish-Language And Comedy-Horror Show That Will Have Your Head Spinning And Heart Full

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The launch of HBO’s much-anticipated series “Los Espookys” is almost officially here. The half-hour comedy series, created by Ana Fabrega and SNL alumni Fred Armisen and Julio Torres, has been on our radar ever since first reports of the series being picked up by HBO came through last year. Fans of horror, comedy, and Latin American identity have been waiting with bated breath for the series that has been described as following a group of friends who make a business out of their love for horror by providing it to those who need it.

Finally, after a year of excitedly waiting, the series – which follows a group of friends who make a business out of their love for horror by providing it to those who need it – is here! The show premieres tonight, June 14th.

HBO’s “Los Espookys” is expected to be the show of the summer.

 The comedy, which has already piqued online enthusiasm, has been called “delightfully weird,” “charmingly spooky” and “ wonderfully peculiar” by critics.

Set in an unnamed Latin American country, similar to Mexico, the show tells the story of a group of four oddball friends who launch a horror-productions company together. Individually, they all juggle the typical Latino concerns including family obligations and financial issues.

The show has a small cast, but critics say collectively they are packed with might.

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Brazilian actor Bernardo Velasco (of “Belaventura”) heads up the cast as Renaldo, the group’s leader who is also obsessed with gory makeup. There’s also Andrés (Julio Torres) who is the heir to a chocolate empire, and Ursula, a dental assistant played by Cassandra Ciangherotti. The show’s co-creator, Ana Fabrega, also stars in the show as Tati, a woman who holds a laundry list of odd jobs.

The bilingual six-episode series relies on Spanish subtitles and slang.

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While the show has yet to make its premiere (don’t forget to tune in tonight!) it’s trailer is a huge indicator of the direction mainstream networks are taking when it comes to television: English-only isn’t a thing anymore.

Thanks to shows like “Jane the Virgin,” “One Day at a Time,” and “Vida” American television is changing. The groundbreaking series, all of which strongly feature Spanish subtitles and the various cultures that make up Latin American cultures have slowly but surely exposed U.S. television viewers to the various nuances of Latinidad. All of this, while also providing Latinos with a chance to experience the shows they grew up watching from their own cultural point of view. “Los Espookys,” with its zany tone and pre-premiere buzz proves it will be no different.

Watch the trailer below.

Los Espookys premieres this Friday June 14 on HBO.

Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About Hulu’s ‘Culture Shock’ A Horror Film That Highlights The Migrant Crisis

Entertainment

Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About Hulu’s ‘Culture Shock’ A Horror Film That Highlights The Migrant Crisis

In the most recent installment of Blumhouse’s “Into the Dark” Hulu TV movie anthology series, “Culture Shock”, a story about a Mexican woman who finds herself trapped in a warped American utopia after attempting to cross the border, Blumhouse explores the horrors of the migrant crisis, adding a dose of supernatural to the already chilling situation many migrants are face when striving for a better life. 

“Culture Shock” follows Marisol, played by Mexican actress Martha Higareda, a poor young pregnant woman living in Mexico who dreams of a better life for her and her unborn child.

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“Culture Shock” immediately establishes the harrowing conditions that many immigrants face in their home countries before deciding to emigrate. Indeed, one of “Culture Shock”‘s first scenes shows Marisol being raped by Oscar, a man we had previously been led to believe was her loving boyfriend. Shortly after, we also discover that Oscar stole money she had given him to secure her passage across the border to the U.S. This leaves Martha stranded and alone in her home country of Mexico, and also now carrying the child of the man who assaulted her, which adds even more urgency to her situation.

Marisol bravely decides to attempt the crossing one more time to secure a future for her and her baby, paying a “coyote” hundreds of dollars to help smuggle her into the U.S. The journey isn’t an easy one–at nearly every stop on the way to America, Marisol is strong-armed into giving every new handler additional money–money that she wasn’t told about before. If nothing, “Culture Shock” gives a realistic, if infuriating,  portrayal of all of the injustice desperate migrants are subjected to while trying to cross the border. And the danger is steeper than ever for Marisol, a single woman who is also pregnant. The threat of sexual violence on Marisol’s body is constant, and what’s more disturbing is how habituated to sexual and other forms of violence she seems to be. It’s just another subtle nod towards her complicated and traumatic history.

After being caught at the U.S. border, Marisol wakes up in a pastel-colored paradise that embodies the American dream in every aspect: the residents are beaming, the food is delicious and abundant, and the pervading sense of peace and harmony of the so-called town of “Cape Joy” easily lulls Marisol into an immediate sense of security. It’s here that the director, Latina auteur Gigi Saul Guerrero, begins to flex her artistic muscles. The cinematography is disorienting, with off-center and odd-angled close-ups, quick cutaways that mimic Marisol’s constant confusion, and a visual stark contrast between Marisol’s old, dreary life in Mexico and her new, vibrant life in Cape Joy, USA.  

But something isn’t right in Cape Joy.

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Not only does Marisol have no recent memories of what happened to her after being caught by US Border Patrol, but the fellow immigrants she crossed over with have no idea who she is. And while Marisol mysteriously gave birth to her baby while she was presumably unconscious, she’s never allowed to hold her. When Marisol expresses concern to her host mother, Betty (Barbara Crampton) about her missing old belongings, Betty tells her: “Don’t worry about what you’ve lost. Think instead of all that you’ve gained.” It’s lines like this, which are obviously meant to convey more than just the literal meaning of the words, that the movie leans hard into.

Throughout “Into the Dark”, there is an underlying current of not-so-subtle political messaging that makes it obvious that this movie isn’t your typical straight-forward horror film. It’s as much a vehicle for social commentary and critique on the migrant crisis and America’s inhumane treatment of migrants at the border as it is about delivering stomach-churning gore and jump scares. The movie, directed by,  confirms the existential fear many migrants have of looked at as sub-human when they try to cross the border. Sometimes, the social commentary comes off as a little too on-the-nose, with Big-Bads saying things such as: “Nobody gives a fuck about these people,” and “We’re not paid to give [them] the American Dream. We’re paid to keep them out of it”. 

When the mystery behind the oddness of Cape Joy is finally revealed, the element of sci-fi and horror that’s added to Marisol’s story can almost feel like a relief, purely due to its obvious fictional tropes. The more terrifying parts of the movie–the abusive boyfriends, the violent men, the human traffickers, and the Mexican cartel–are arguably more frightening than the supernatural parts.

And lest, while watching, you trick yourself into thinking the movie isn’t really a horror movie, prepare yourself for a few jarring scenes.

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The climax of the movie is an extremely gruesome and violently gory climax that establishes the anthology installment as exactly what it markets itself as: a horror movie. But as we’ve seen in headlines that flood the TV, the newspapers, and our phones, sometimes, reality can be more horrifying than fiction. 

George R.R. Martin Says The Starks WILL be in the ‘GOT’ Prequel That Takes Thousands Of Years Before The Original Series

Entertainment

George R.R. Martin Says The Starks WILL be in the ‘GOT’ Prequel That Takes Thousands Of Years Before The Original Series

If you have a giant hole in your heart (and your Sunday nights) where Game of Thrones used to reside, then you’re probably one of the many fans who is waiting for the recently-announced GOT prequel series with bated breath. According to HBO, the series will chronicle “the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”. The still-unnamed series will cover everything from White Walkers to the “mysteries of the East” to the “Starks of legend”. In other words, we’ll be watching. But until the series premieres (it’s currently filming in Northern Ireland), fans are still trying to find out as much information as possible about the new show when much of the details have been kept under wraps.

Recently, the “Song of Ice and Fire” author George R R Martin (who also serves as an Executive Producer on the new series) sat down in an interview with Entertainment Weekly to answer some of the fans’ burning questions regarding the who, what, and where of the prequel. Read on to find out some of the exciting facts he shared about the upcoming series!

1. The show will be set thousands of years before the events of “Game of Thrones” took place

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, George R R Martin described the time period that the new prequel would be set in: “We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” he said. “But if you go back further, then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.” According to the Game of Thrones Wikia, this time period is set during the “Age of Heroes”, a time period that happened 5,000-10,000 years ago.

2. It is a truly female-led production

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Not only was the pilot written by showrunner Jane Goldman, but the recently-announced cast consists of Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, and Denise Gough. This is a stark (no pun intended) departure from the original series that was written, produced, and directed by almost an exclusively male production team, which often came under fire for its portrayal and treatment of women on the show.

In other exciting news, this cast also includes people of color, including black British actress Naomi Ackie and American Latino actor Marquis Rodriguez. This is also a massive change for the epic fantasy series which had only a few people of color in its sprawling ensemble cast.

3. The Starks will be in the prequel

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Die-hard “Game of Thrones” fans know that it’s only logical if members of House Stark appear in the prequel. After all, House Stark is one of the oldest lines of Westerosi nobility, with their line of descent being able to be traced back eight thousand years. According to George R. R. Martin himself in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, “The Starks will definitely be [in the prequel]”. We’re definitely pumped about this. What’s a “Game of Thrones” show without the noblest and (blindingly) loyal family in all of Westeros there to root for?

4. There will be White Walkers, direwolves, and…mammoths? Oh my!

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Just as “Game of Thrones” was full of giants and dragons and witches, the prequel will also have no shortage of mythical creatures. “Obviously the White Walkers are [in the prequel] and that will be an aspect of it,” said Martin. “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.” We, for one, can’t wait to see giant CGI mammoths marching across our TV screens.

5. The Lannisters won’t be there to pay their debts.

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According to Martin, the Lannisters, along with their wily ways, have not yet entered the Westerosi picture. Instead, Casterly Rock (the famous castle that the Lannisters occupied in the original series) will be occupied by, well…the House of Casterly. “The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Casterly Rock is certainly there,” Martin said. “It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones”. According to legend previously referenced to in the GOT universe, Lann (the founder of House Lannister) “won Casterly Rock from the noble house of Casterly during the Age of Heroes” using “only his wits”. Here’s to hoping that storyline features prominently on the new series!

With all of this new information, we’re certain that the “Game of Thrones” prequel will perfectly scratch the itch that we’ve been having since the dear departure of our beloved fantasy series. Now, all that we have to do is wait for someone to leak information about the series premiere so we can send out invites to our watch party. Until then, we’ll just be re-watching old episodes on HBO.

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