entertainment

If You’re Looking For A Scary Yet Woke Halloween Movie To Watch, This Indie Horror Filmmaker Has You Covered

Groucho Reviews/Canal+ /Good Machine

Halloween is here, and while some are getting ready with their Latino-inspired costumes for a night or trick-or-treating or partying, the homebodies out there might be looking to make it a Blockbuster night. RIP Blockbuster Video.

For you horror fans looking for something a little bit different —  maybe something new, something scary, something that uses the genre in order to creatively delve into social issues and gender roles, then award-winning horror filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera has you covered.

CREDIT: Michelle Garza Cervera

“Gender issues have been present in horror films since the beginning of cinema. Monsters with specific gender and bodily differences exist in most classic horror films,” says Garza Cervera, a Mexico City-native who makes movies that bring a much-needed Latin American and female perspective to the genre.

“Even though gender was present, it has mostly kept a one-sided perspective since the majority of directors and producers have been male, which causes most of the spectators to also be male,” she adds. “This reality has created stereotypical female characters that are molded by writers and directors that are not interested in understanding the real complexity of femininity and doesn’t allow the female spectators to deeply empathize with the characters.”

However, Garza Cervera and many others are looking to change that. The filmmaker has written and directed short films that have been selected in more than 40 international film festivals, with her short film “Clara’s Rage” winning several awards, including Best National Short at the Campeche Film Festival. She’s currently writing her first feature film thanks to support from the Mexican Institute of Cinematography.

CREDIT: Clara’s Rage / Michelle Garza Cervera

“Fortunately, there are more and more different perspectives inside the horror genre, not only in gender but also in race and culture, which only makes horror films richer and stronger,” she says. “There are great example of horror movies that use the characteristics of its genre to understand it’s characters, their context and cultural background and make a metaphor of the real human conflict that she or he is facing.”

It’s a good thing Garza Cervera comes with some solid spooky and terrifying recommendations. Here’s her list of eight horror films with a socially conscious slant for your Halloween pleasure.

“El Paramo (The Squad)” by Jaime Osorio

CREDIT: A still from “El Paramo.” Credit: Rotten Tomatoes/Rhayuela Cine

“It’s a psychological thriller that talks about the conflict with the guerrilla in Colombia through the story of a squad of soldiers stuck with a woman in a military base in the middle of the mountains,” explains Garza Cervera.

It’s available for free on Vudu and for rent on Amazon, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.

“México Barbaro” Part I and Part II

CREDIT: From “Siete Veses Siete,” featured in “México Bárabro I.” Credit: No Real Danger/Simplemente Films

In this horror anthology from Mexico, eight directors created a 10-minute segment to tell a story that revolves around Mexican traditions and legends, and the result is horrifying. Garza Cervera’s segment, “Vitriol,” appears in “México Bárbaro II’

Pat I is available on Netflix. Both parts are available for rent on Amazon.

Mujer Lobo” by Tamae Garateuy

CREDIT: A still from “Mujer Lobo.” Photo credit: Cleveland International Festival/Crudo Films

“This movie shows an empowered woman dealing with our patriarchal world,” says Garza Cervera. “It is a clear example of how genre can be used with a complete different perspective and transform the person who is usually the victim character into a strong woman, owner of her life and decisions.” How does this character do this? By seducing men she meets in the Buenos Aires subway, having sex with them, then murdering them. Neat!

“The Babadook” by Jennifer Kent

CREDIT: Looking for The Babadook. Photo credit: Pitch.com/Causeway Films

Jennifer Kent’s first feature film tells the story of a single mom facing her inner fears of raising a child by herself. Those fears take the form of what Garza Cerver calls an “amazing antagonist.” The Babadook is creepy and wears a top hat, and somehow has also become a gay icon.

You can rent “The Babadook” on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, or stream on Showtime.

“Get Out” by Jordan Peele

CREDIT: A scene from Get Out. Photo Credit: The Mary Sue/Monkeypaw Productions.

“Get Out” was one of the biggest films of 2017, telling the story of a young black man who goes to meet his white girlfriend’s family in the middle of the woods. That’s when shit gets crazy, and racist af.

“This is an amazing horror film that tells a great and thrilling story, and makes a deep analysis of the kind of not-in-your-face racism within liberal white people,” says Garza Ververa.

Rent “Get Out” on Amazin, Vudu, iTunes or Google Play. It’s also available on HBO.

“El Espinazo del Diablo” by Guillermo del Toro

CREDIT: A creepy child in “El Espinazo del Diablo.” Photo credit: Groucho Reviews/Canal+ /Good Machine

Before Guillermo del Toro became one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, he made a name for himself with this film — one of his earlier works. “El Espinazo del Diablo,” or “The Devil’s Backbone,” tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who ends up in a haunted orphanage. Del Toro loves a creepy child story, and this is one of his firsts.

“One of the bests from this masterful director,” says Garza Cervera. “It is a poetic ghost story that talks about the horrors of war.”

Watch on YouTube, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and iTunes.

“Trouble Every Day” by Claire Denis

CREDIT: Trouble Every Day is bloody good. Photo credit: CineFiles/Arte France Cinema

This existential French horror film delves into gender roles through the story of an American couple on their honeymoon in Paris, experiments in the human libido, and the imprisonment of a woman. It gets pretty bloody. Garza Cervera calls it “one of the first movies from the new French extremity wave.”

Available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

“Rebeca a Esas Alturas” by Luciana Jauffred

CREDIT: Rebeca A Estas Alturas. Photo credit: Vimeo/La Fabrica Films Mexico

Garza Cervera calls this Mexican short film one of her favorites of all time. It’s the story of a mother and housewife who has a very hard time succumbing to those roles.

“It is a clever story that talks about the inner trouble housewives deal with in a fantastic way,” she says.

Watch the whole thing on Vimeo.

Happy Halloween!


RENT: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

Ready for a good scare tonight? Then share this story with your friends and plan a movie night!

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

Entertainment

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

HBO

There are certain universal similarities throughout the Latinidad that binds us to one another. We don’t mean stereotypes, but things that we honest to goodness all love. For example, our appreciation for cafecito and a rhythmic beat are accurate clichés tied to Latinx folk. Similarly, HBO’s new Spanish-language series is exploring another widely-held love within our culture.

On July 14th, the television network debuted its new series “Los Espookys” and it’s “horror” theme is very close to our hearts.

Twitter / @HBO

“Los Espookys” is a mostly Spanish-language comedy that includes a healthy dose of horror and camp. Created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, the series takes place in an undisclosed city in Latin America. It follows a group of friends —Renaldo, Andrés, Úrsula and Tati — as they turn their hobby of horror and special effects into a business of their very own creation.

While the show’s mix of comedy and horror is completely engaging, “Los Espookys” is also groundbreaking. As mentioned, the series is mostly in Spanish with English subtitles. The portions that aren’t in Español utilize slang and English with Spanish subtitles to communicate to its audience. For a large network like HBO to carry a Spanish language series and air it in primetime is a huge deal. Even more, it reflects how much confidence the “Game of Thrones” network has in the new show.

The premiere of “Los Espookys” opens with a super intense quinceanera. If you think you’ve been to some scary quinces before, just wait until you see this spook-tastic party. As it turns out, everything from the entrails cake to the mutilated waiters is the work of Renaldo and his crew. The party impresses everyone, including Renaldo’s uncle, Tio Tico (played by Armisen). Expressing his support, his uncle encourages the spooky connoisseur to pursue his passion — even if that passion is monsters and mayhem.

The friends get the chance to do just that when the local priest makes an unusual request of the group’s special skills.

Twitter / @HBOPR

Episode One also reveals more about the group of self-proclaimed “horror technicians.” The black-clad unofficial leader of the group is Renaldo and his life-long friend is Andrés. The electric blue-haired Andrés is the heir to a chocolate company. Called the “Prince of Chocolate,” he is a genuinely intriguing dude with dramatic past. (Note the intense telenovela music that plays whenever he gets contemplative.)

Rounding out the group is a pair of unusual sisters. Úrsula is a dental hygienist with the soul of an artist who is happiest when she’s making something terrifying. Her sister is the odd and unintentionally funny Tita. We first meet Tita when she is hand-spinning the blades of an electric fan to cool down her boss, the priest. Fortunately for us, she only gets more bizarre as the episode goes on.

The cast delivers some great lines but that’s not the only thing that makes “Los Espookys” so entertaining. Improbable situations, subtle humor, and references to popular Latinx culture all add to the series’s appeal, too.

However, it’s the focus on the characters’ love of horror that will really resonate with Latinx viewers — and for a valid reason.

Twitter / WigWurq

Whether it’s the scary legends of La Llarona y El Cucuy or the movies of Guermillo del Toro, the Latinidad loves horror. After all, we have an entire holiday completely devoted to honoring the dead. If you need additional proof of this love, look no further than our children — the future of our culture.

In early June 2019, 3-year-old Lucia Brown went viral for her very scary birthday theme. The birthday girl insisted on a party that included Valak, the satanic sister from “The Nun.” It wasn’t just Lucia that enjoyed the theme; her friends also painted their face in black and gave into the darkness.

Yet, a love of horror isn’t something we simply grow out of; it grows with us.

Twitter / @BlairGuild

When we become teens and start to explore our own independence, we strike out towards our own styles. This often means we explore music and clothing to find what best suits us. In these two subjects, we still see marked examples of our cultural love of horror.

The Emo and Goth subcultures have been notably popular with Latinx teens and young adults since its birth. Both categories are usually associated with teens who are not of color and can appear to be at odds with the colorful traditions of the Latinidad. However, there’s something about the Emo and Goth lifestyles that resonate with Latinx folk.

These categories are often hard to describe but most people can place the look when they see it. Both Emo and Goth subgroups focus on self-expression by embracing dark fashions and the mentality of “the individual.” These subcultures also incorporate a healthy dose of horror — using zombies, monsters and the occult in their fashion and art.

Music is the heart of the Emo and Goth subcultures and is what most links the Latinidad to the lifestyle.

Twitter / @missbreton
Twitter / @_smromero

Emo and Goth music often explore dark and emotional topics in their lyrics and evoke feeling with their music. Bands like Morrissey, Joy Division and The Cure led the way for this type of music in the 80’s and 90’s. Later, groups including AFI, My Chemical Romance and The Used became the modern voice of their genre.

For these bands, Morrissey especially has become beloved to Latinx Goths and Emos. Maria Hinojosa’s exploration of this love — entitled “Goths: Latinos on the Dark Side” is an interesting episode of Latino USA that explores this topic.

In it, a guest explains, “For whatever reason, Latinos love Morrissey and no one really knows why. I think it’s the melodrama.”

It could be argued that melodrama is also the reason the Latinidad loves horror.

Many have expressed a sense of community in finding these subgenres so maybe that’s the real reason Latinx folk feel so at home with them.

Twitter / @llavvves

Often times, Latinos and Latinas feel excluded from the larger communities we’re a part of. Sometimes we’re marginalized by income level. Sometimes it’s our nationality or citizen status that isolates us from others. We can even be excluded from others within our own Latinx community.

However, a shared appreciation of the Emo and Goth subgenres and all things horror unites us in a mutual love. In a world where we can feel so alone, we can go to a Guermillo del Toro film and feel connected. When feeling as though no one understands us, we can listen to Morrissey and hear our feelings in his words.

In this way, “Los Espookys” also has the potential to unite our Latinidad with something we’ll love. Though we’ve only seen one of the six episodes of this season, the response online has been more than positive. Obviously, the hilarious script combined with the characters’ love of horror makes for a combination that audiences relate to. We can’t wait to see what spooky surprises “Los Espookys” has in store for us still.

90’s Cult Classic ‘The Craft’ Is Being Remade For Our Generation With Its Lead Role Going To Trans Latina Woman

Entertainment

90’s Cult Classic ‘The Craft’ Is Being Remade For Our Generation With Its Lead Role Going To Trans Latina Woman

tarotbymaisy / Instagram

There are so many reboots and revivals and sequels to nostalgic media of the past right now that it’s hard to keep track, and it’s often hard to care. And too many of them just retread the same ground the originals already covered — a cash grab, and not a reinterpretation of a beloved story, bringing something new and original to familiar ground.

But maybe, just maybe, the reboot of ‘90s teen girl witchcraft staple, The Craft, isn’t going to fall into that trap.

Friday afternoon, a casting notice began circulating on Twitter, saying that Blumhouse Productions is looking to cast a trans-Latina actress for one of the main roles.

Credit: @anderfinn / Twitter

The notice reads: “Transgender, to play Latina, a punk rocker, Lourdes is the second member of the teenaged Clique. Her super-Catholic mother threw her out for being trans and she now lives with her 80 year old abuela, who has taught Lourdes a variety of supernatural practices.”

The flyer goes on to specify that yes, they are seeking an actual trans actress for the role.

Yup, the 1996 horror about four outcast teen witches is getting the LGBTI-inclusive reboot treatment

Credit: captainabsea / Instagram

The Craft (the original) was a 1996 film starring Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, and Rachel True as teenagers who dabble in witchcraft until, naturally, everything goes terribly wrong when they get a little too power-hungry. Upon release, it received mixed reviews from critics and only grossed $55 million worldwide, but has since developed a devoted cult following.

It’s an iconic film, and one that was destined to join the ranks of rebooted flicks from the ‘90s.

Basically, all of the Internet is totally here for it.

Pretty much all of Twitter is saying how excited they are for this and that the project has so much potential.

And many are adding one big demand – don’t f*ck it up!

Like I mean just imagine a fierce Latina bruja in such a badass role!

Credit: @TransEquality / Twitter

This is absolutely something I would want to watch.

Many point out that The Craft was already an iconic queer film and this is just the cherry on top.

Like for real though, basically everyone who has been to a sleepover or had a Netflix and chill kind of night, has seen this amazing movie.

It’s time that a new generation gets its own adapted version.

All of this is made even more exciting because just this year the original cast reunited for the very first time.

Credit: @Nevecampbell10 / Twitter

Was this a tease at things to come? Or just a strange coincidence?

Our new version of The Craft is being produced by the same company behind The Purge and Paranormal Activity.

Doug Wick, one of the producers of the new film told Entertainment Weekly that, “there will be callbacks to the original movie, so you will see there is a connection between what happened in the days of The Craft and how these young women come across this magic many years later.” He adds that the film will be more like a sequel, which we are so excited to discover.

“Here are some young women who once again discover the power of magic, and we explore their emotional lives, their wants, their fears, their longings, as they become empowered,” he added.

The reboot is expected to start shooting in July 2019 with a likely 2020 release.

I mean same, right? This movie can’t come soon enough for diehard fans of The Craft.

What are some of your favorite cult classic films that you’d like to see remade?

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