Entertainment

These 11 Terrifying Latino Horror Films Need To Be Added To Your October Watch List

If you’re a horror fan, and you haven’t seen these, then you know nothing about real fear. As a child, I would binge-watch every single horror movie I could find. They creeped the hell out of me, but I loved the adrenaline rush. Name any classic you want, I’ve seen them all; the more I watched, the less they scared me. Later, I discovered that most of these mainstream films relied on what is known as “boo horror,” which basically means that what scares the audience is thanks to good editing rather than the story.

And well, let me tell you that, just when I was starting to get bored of this particular type of horror: enter Latino cinema. The thing about Latin American horror movies is that they don’t rely on jump scares or outdated clichés. The reason why they’re scary is the plot and the themes they explore. So, if you’re ready to be really scared, I dare you to watch these 11 films.

Night Of The Living Dead

Did you know George Romero’s dad was Cuban? (I did, because like all Cubans, I keep a running list.) Well, he is! And so Romero is on this here list. Now, you’ve very likely already seen his opus, Night of the Living Dead, and know its contributions to the zombie genre, effectively changing the pop culture perception of zombies from corpses controlled by others through ritual means, to undead jerkwads lumbering slowly towards you while you take shelter in a shack or perhaps, later, in a shopping mall. But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch it again. And again and again.

Santa Sangre

No one does avant-garde psychedelic weirdness like Jodorowsky. Santa Sangre is no exception, following the story of Fenix, a former circus performer, and his relationship to his parents, particularly to the mother who keeps a literal and figurative hold on him through much of his development.

Roger Ebert praised Jodorowsky for expanding the horror genre by reminding viewers that “true psychic horror is possible on the screen–horror, poetry, surrealism, psychological pain and wicked humor, all at once.”

KM 31

This one is secretly about La Llorona. I have to admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending but the rest of the film was amazing. The production value was on par with a Hollywood horror film. This one is about the power of twins. One has an accident that leaves her in a coma. The conscious twin tries to figure out what happened to her sister and winds up in the tangles of a curse on the highway’s Kilometro 31.

Mas Negro Que La Noche

Hot girl inherits creepy old house and is forced to watch after a black cat. What can go wrong? They used to play this on Univision back in the day when they used to have old Mexican movie marathons on Sundays. This flick is filled with famous 70s & 80s Mexican telenovela stars: Lucia Mendez, Claudia Islas, Elena Rojo, and Susana Dosamantes (aka Paulina Rubio’s mom).

The Devil’s Backbone

I originally had four (4) del Toro movies on this list and had to narrow it down to two, which was like picking from among one’s children. (I assume picking a favorite child is equally difficult as picking a favorite movie, yes? I knew it.)

But here’s the thing: You’ve already seen The Devil’s Backbone. You already know the deal: Spanish Civil War, orphanage, defused bomb, mysterious ghost-boy. So I’ll use this space to share this link to the story of why del Toro often distances himself from a movie taken off the list: Mimic. Because there’s always a place for classic ghost stories, but never enough for giant mutant insects.

Cronos

Here’s our other del Toro entry: Cronos! Because who doesn’t love a good, inventive twist on a vampire story that also serves as a metaphor for society’s obsession with youth and virility? Cronos beat out Crimson Peak because, while the latter is truly a beautiful, visually stunning work, Cronos‘ story of love, loss and sacrifice simply holds up better throughout the film.

REC

Spain is at it again with this cinéma vérité (aka mock documentary aka found footage) style zombie flick. Scary as hell! Don’t let the crappy American version, Quarantine, fool you. This one will make you check behind the shower curtain when you pee.

Alucarda

Being a teen girl is hard enough, never mind being an orphan in a Catholic convent. Add demonic possession into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster / a truly fantastic horror movie with stunning visuals (just take a look at the nuns’ super stylized and highly evocative habits and robes, for instance). The film’s emphasis on a close emotional and physical relationship between two young girls has drawn comparisons to the classic vampire tale, Carmilla, made all the more apparent when you notice that “Alucarda” is simply “Dracula” with the letters rearranged.

Somos Lo Que Hay

The family that eats together, stays together, for better or for worse. In this film, which was remade for U.S. audiences in 2013, follows a family struggling with maintaining an ancient, bloody ritual and the impact it has both on their bodies and souls. You’ll never look at family dinners the same way again.

From Dusk Til Dawn

Vampires, as it turns out, can take on all sorts of day jobs, like dancing at the infamous “Titty Twister” strip club. Robert Rodriguez’s pulpy take on vampires takes place in a small town in Mexico and includes plenty of bikers, truck drivers, fugitives, and the site of an ancient Aztec temple.

Mama

Argentine director Andrés Muschietti based his feature film about a spooky-but-maternal ghosts, Mama, on his own 2008, Spanish-language short, Mamá. You can watch the whole thing here, but make sure to keep the lights on. Muschietti is definitely one to watch

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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Cast Of ‘In The Heights’ Want You To Know The Importance Of Going To College

Entertainment

Cast Of ‘In The Heights’ Want You To Know The Importance Of Going To College

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights is finally coming to the big screen, and it has a star-studded cast to make it happen! Joined by Quiara Alegría Hudes – who wrote the book for the musical – and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu, Miranda amplifies the musical’s poignant narrative about community and pursuing your dreams with stunning visuals and tons of amazing music inspired by the rich Latinx culture of Washington Heights.

Ahead of the film’s opening at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lin-Manuel Miranda and several members of the cast join Maria Hinojosa for a poignant discussion on what the film means to them and the importance of going to college no matter who you are or where your come from.

Cast members share their own very unique experiences of growing up and making it into college.

Maria Hinojosa of Latino USA on NPR is joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Leslie Grace (who plays ‘Nina’), and Corey Hawkins, all of whom share their unique and profound experiences with deciding on if they would go to college and what they went through to get there.

So many of us are first or second generation college students, reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by our parents and abuelos to help us achieve our dreams. But not all of us share the same path to university, something made very clear as each of these In The Heights cast members make very clear with their own journeys.

Lin-Manuel acknowledges his own privilege on his path to university and how it influenced the film.

Manuel says that he had an advantage in his journey, thanks to his parents who really helped cultivate that desire for learning from a young age. He was able to attend a prestigious private school as a child but even then recognized a duality within him existed – going as Lin at school (in a predominantly white space) and Lin-Manuel back at home.

Upon going to college at Wesleyan University, Manuel met and made Latino friends, a lot of whom were first from their families to go to college. Many didn’t get the same crash course in code switching that he did from a younger age, so for many of his peers it was tough for them to adjust to college life.

By the end of his first year in college, his roommates at the Latino program house shrunk from eight other members to just four. This struggle and conflict with their time in college and their Latinx identity is reflected in the character Nina and her own struggle with returning to her home in Washington Heights.

For Quiara, the story of Nina’s journey is particularly personal.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes’ parents were also leaders in their community. Her father was a prominent businessman while her mother was an activist in her community. But unlike Manuel, her parents didn’t attend university, it wasn’t something that was on their path. She points out that “it wasn’t that they didn’t treasure learning, it’s just that university wasn’t part of that path.”

Quiara – who attended Yale – says that she was very conflicted as a half Latina and half white woman even though she had often grown up in white spaces. However, she wasn’t prepared for being in a space with so few Latinos. She had to learn how to merge those two parts of her life that she felt were drifting further and further apart.

The cast discusses ‘imposter syndrome’ and how to fight it.

Imposter syndrome is very real. And it can often affect those of us who feel like we don’t deserve our achievements or recognition. Maria asks the cast to how they overcame it and how they learned to own their space.

Leslie Grace reminds us that “you have a story only you can tell and you need to tap into your feelings of potential.”

Check out the full trailer for In The Heights below.

The festival’s opening night screening will be held on June 9 at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights. For the first time ever, Tribeca’s inaugural film will be screened simultaneously across all five boroughs in multiple open-air venues.

Following the opening night of Tribeca, “In the Heights” will debut in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service on June 11. It was originally scheduled to be released last year, but Warner Bros. postponed its release due to the pandemic.

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