Entertainment

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

If you love movies in general and scary movies in particular, you would do well to recognize that Latinos have given the world many dazzling cinematic gems, particularly in the horror genre (probably because we’re just so damn goth). Here are 17 creepy, gross, chilling, terrifying and wonderfully bizarre movies by Latinos that you need to check out before a crying, eyeless woman greets you in a fog-filled field. For the purposes of this list, “Latino” refers both to U.S.-born Latinos and Latinos born in Latin America, and horror can include slasher, torture porn, particularly frightening thrillers, and your mom’s home movies. OK, let’s do this:

1. The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

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Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

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.

2. Cronos

Director: Guillermo del Toro

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Credit: October Films

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.

3. Santa Sangre

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Credit: Mainline Pictures / Expanded Entertainment

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.”

4. The Book of Stone (El libro de piedra)

Director: Carlos Enrique Taboada

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Credit:  Producciones AGSA

Because the only thing more frightening that creepy children are creepy statues of children. The Book of Stone deals with a near-universal story–the alienation children feel when adults don’t listen to them–but how it unravels will leave you delightfully creeped out.

5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director: George Romero

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Credit: The Walter Reade Organizatio / Continental Distributing

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.

6. Martin

Director: George Romero

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Credit: Libra Films International

So while Romero is best known for his zombie movies, he also added a little something to the vampire genre with Martin, a film about a weird young man (#NotAllWeirdYoungMen) who has a unique way of procuring his victims’ blood–it involves a syringe, and quite a lot of mess. And, because this is Romero, there’s not only a lot (like, a lot a lot) of blood, but also a good dose of satire and commentary on who we are, who we think we are, and how society views us.

7. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (À meia-noite levarei sua alma)

Director:  José Mojica Marins

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Credit: N.T.M.

You can’t talk about great horror villains without mentioning Brazil’s wholly unique, fantastically evil contribution to the genre: Coffin Joe (Zé do Caixão). Joe is an utterly depraved maniac set on finding himself a nice lady to settle down with, as one does, and sometimes that means murdering a whole bunch of people. He’s the star of Mojica Marins’ fantastically depraved  “Coffin Joe trilogy,” which includes the equally wonderfully-titled This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967), and the somewhat less wonderfully-titled Embodiment of Evil (2008). Watch out, literally, for Joe’s long, curled fingernails, as they’re liable to poke an eye out.

8. The Curse of the Crying Woman (La maldición de la llorona)

Director: Rafael Baledón

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Credit: Cinematográfica ABSA

We’re all familiar with the legend of La Llorona, right? It’s a classic horror story, replete with loss, gut-churning guilt, and the need for sweet, sweet vengeance. It’s a wonder there haven’t been more (and, you know, better) movies based on the mother of all ghosts. This film, for instance, isn’t so much about La Llorona herself (although her scenes are truly, gorgeously frightening), but about a family grappling with witchcraft and curses. Relatable!

9. The Witch’s Mirror (El espejo de la bruja)

Director: Chano Urueta

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Credit:  Cinematográfica S.A., Producciones ABSA, Studios Azteca

Pro tip: Never murder your wife in front of a witch’s mirror. Pro trip, part II: Stay away from witch’s mirrors altogether. Because then your dead wife might come back, and she’s going to be pretty pissed. Exciting, witchy story aside, this black and white film features some pretty gorgeous use of lighting and cinematography, as well as one of the most iconic uses of bandages ever.

10. Alucarda

Director: Juan López Moctezuma

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Credit: Yuma Films

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. SpoooOoOooky!

11. The Mansion of Madness (Dr. Tarr’s Torture Dungeon)

Director: Juan López Moctezuma

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Credit: Yuma Films

This film, also by Juan López Moctezuma, is a personal favorite of mine. As in, I own it on DVD and watch it over and over. Very loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” the story shows what happens when lunatics take over the asylum. It also happens to be a GORGEOUS movie, with every shot, costume, look and line carefully staged for maximum impact and weirdness. Take the scene, for instance, where two characters are walking down a long path as some of the asylum’s inhabitants playfully, and somewhat unnervingly, weave in and out of shot. You can take a look at it, and enjoy an in-depth synopsis, at Cinema de Merde.

12. We What We Are (Somos lo que hay)

Director:  Jorge Michel Grau

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Credit: Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica

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.

13. From Dusk Till Dawn

Director: Robert Rodriguez

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Credit: Miramax Films

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. Also, obviously and famously, Salma Hayek dancing with a snake.

14. Mama

Director:  Andrés Muschietti

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Credit: Universal Pictures

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: He’s at the helm for a new adaptation of Stephen King’s It.

15. Sangre Eterna (Eternal blood)

Director: Jorge Olguín

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Credit:  Angel Films Producciones

Our second reference to Carmilla on this list, Sangre Eterna deals with a teen girl named (You guessed it!) Carmilla, a group of gloriously goth Chilean vampires, and the ancient ritual that makes ’em that way. The makeup and special effects in this film are low-key but effective, especially in how it uses color for maximum impact. Just check out the image above and try to tell me those milky-blue eyes and red, red blood don’t compliment each other nicely.

16. Magic, Magic

Director: Sebastián Silva

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Credit: Killer Films

OK, fine, you can argue that this more of a psychological thriller than a true horror film, but Michael Cera’s truly frightening performance as a disturbing weirdo seals its place on this list. The film deals with the idea of being an outsider–to a group of friends, to a culture, to a way of thinking–in the most dramatic and uncomfortable way possible.

17. Cold Sweat

Director:  Adrián García Bogliano

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Credit: Pampa Films

There is a whole lot of torture–both physical and mental, on the protagonists and viewers alike–in this Argentine film about, well. About torture. And Argentina. It includes several homages to films within the horror genre, which is always a nice little extra for horror fans.


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13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

Entertainment

13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

RgStudio / Getty Images

With Halloween fast approaching, we’re getting ready to cue up those scary movies for the best quarantine fright- fest yet. Horror movies are the one thing that seals the deal on making spooky season official. Time to butter up that popcorn, sip on that chocolatito, and snuggle up in front of the TV.

So, are you looking to kick back to some great horror films but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of our top 13 scary movies just in time for spooky season. These films range from classic horror to psychological thrillers. This list is the perfect way to get you into the spirit. Are you ready for the best scare yet?

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Let’s start off with a Guillermo Del Torro classic. After 10-year-old Carlos becomes orphaned after the death of his father, he soon discovers the secrets of the haunted school that shelters him. Set during the Spanish Civil War and filled with ghosts, defused bombs, and a whole lot of mystery, this movie is one that will definitely keep heads turning.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie White seems to think the world is against her and I mean: she’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t get upset and lash out with their mother and peers constantly antagonizing her? Little do we know, Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers that eventually leads to some problematic outcomes as she starts to seek out intense revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

Poltergeist (1982)

A classic tale of ghosts and exorcisms all combined in one. When the California-based Freelings’s family encounters that ghosts are communing in their television set, they are seemingly terrified. The parents have no choice but to hire an exorcist to help as soon as they discover their 5-year-old daughter is now missing. But the question is: will this help or hurt them?  

Mama (2012)

When two twin sisters mysteriously vanish on the same day of their parent’s death, their uncle and his girlfriend go on a thrilling search for their bodies. The twins are found in a decaying cabin in the woods after searching. This is when it becomes clear that their escape will not be as easy as it seems. A short by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, it’s no wonder why the film won the ASCAP award for the best Top Box Office Films. 

BirdBox (2018)

A mysterious force has wiped out humanity and everyone knows that if you see this thing you die. Everyone is now strategizing the best way to overcome this and stay safe. One woman desperately tries everything in her power to keep her children safe and away from sight. The best and safest way to seek this shelter ultimately results in them figuring it out blindfolded. This Netflix original sent chills down my spine, and I promise as soon as you watch it, you’ll get them too. 

Us (2019)

The protagonist Adelaide revisits her childhood town with her family and has a gutted feeling that the past may now take over the present. The movie recount a terrifying incident of her childhood when she was traumatized in a carnival fun house. The family soon encounters four strangers who look exactly like each one of them. This Jordan Peele creation leaves viewers the opportunity to piece together the puzzle pieces slowly but surely, and journeys you through a horrifying storyline that will leave you glued to your television screen. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” right? Well in this thriller it’s certainly the truth. A horror film that essentially has only a few pages of real dialogue, the premise is that if “they” hear you, “they” find you. The family of four must be the quietest they’ve ever been so that a breath or even a footstep won’t reveal their presence. You’ll be jumping out of your seat so maybe don’t watch this alone in the dark.

Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)

Sometimes the best films are the ones that scare you but also make you laugh. This coming-of-age horror comedy recently made its Netflix debut earlier this month and fans are non-stop raving about it. It follows a group of teens from the Bronx who are forced to save their neighborhood from an incoming vampire invasion. The concept incorporates prevalent societal issues with a lighthearted twist and is a perfect treat for all audiences to enjoy.

Hereditary (2018)

A family in mourning finds ways to cope with the loss of a loved one while experiencing supernatural phenomena. The encounters with the supernatural begin to grow more and more disturbing. The family is left with these moments linking to a grand unveiling of family history and secrets. It’s so haunting that this movie will stay with you forever.

Veronica (2017)

“Veronica” tells the tale of a girl and her friends summoning the spirit of her dead father during a solar eclipse using a Ouija board. However, there are more undesirable spirits that have come through. She’s quickly surrounded by evil spirits and presences that are now known to pose a threat to her family. Sandra Escacena was nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Actress in 2018 for her work.

The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Basically, a college cabin vacation gone wrong. A camping trip with five friends takes a turn when they are attacked by a family of zombies. The camping trip turns into a fight for their lives as the zombies are part of a ritualistic sacrifice. A Rotten Tomatoes reviewer even said “Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into ‘The Cabin in the The Woods.’” So that sums that up pretty nicely.

The Witches (2020)

Witches in the U.K. are plotting to rid the island of children by turning them into mice. Fortunately for all of the children, one young boy and his grandmother catch wind of the plan. The movie is all about the boy and his grandmother working together to make sure the witches fail in their dastardly plans.

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

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Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Entertainment

Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Looks like Sammy Davis Jr. is finally getting his place in the sun. On Wednesday, Variety announced that MGM will be producing a biopic about the Cuban-American triple threat. The prolific writer and actor Lena Waithe will be co-producing. The script will be based off of Davis Jr.’s daughter’s biography: “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father”.

According to reports, the movie will take a close look at the legendary singer’s later life and his relationship with his daughter. It will also give us a peak into Davis Jr.’s younger days, showing us flashbacks from his time as a “child prodigy” to a “global superstar”.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sammy Davis Jr., he was an immensely popular star of ’50s and ’60s. He was what some people would call the original “triple threat”–he could dance, sing, and act. And he did all three excellently.

Throughout his life, he would lie and say his Cuban-born mother, Elvera Sanchez, was of Puerto Rican descent. Later he admitted that he did this because he was afraid that the prevailing anti-Cuban sentiment in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis would have hurt his career.

But Sammy Davis Jr. was perhaps most known for being a member of the legendary “Rat Pack”–a powerful group of Hollywood hotshots that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Their collective power and raucous Vegas stays made them living legends in their time.

But beneath the fortune and fame, Davis Jr. struggled with internal demons. He was of a victim of the brutal racism of the entertainment industry, as well as his unrelenting health and addiction problems. He eventually died in 1990 at the age of 64 due to cirrhosis.

We hope that the upcoming movie does Sammy Davis Jr.’s story justice! Here are the actors we would love to see fill the very talented shoes of the Afro-Cubano star.

Jharrel Jerome

PHOTO: FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Jharrel Jerome took the world by storm when he portrayed the wrongly accused Korey Wise in “When They See Us”. His performance was so moving that he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. We’d love to see this gifted Dominican performer try his hand at playing Sammy. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a music career too.

Miguel

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Miguel captured our hearts long ago with his powerful but soothing vocals. We fell in love with him even more when the Mexican-American singer sang “Remember Me” at the 2018 Oscars. Plus, he’s acted before. So you know he’s no rookie.

Kid Cudi

Photo: kidcudi/Instagram

You may know Kid Cudi mostly as a hip-hop artist, but this rapper of Mexican descent also has a successful acting career. We also know that he would be able to tap into the pain and struggle of Davis Jr’s inner turmoil.

Elijah Kelley

Photo: oneelijahkelley/Instagram

Elijah Kelley is an immensely multi-talented singer-actor who you may know from hits like “Hairspray” and “The Butler”. He isn’t Afro-Latino (which we would love to see), but he’s a phenomenal singer and dancer. And he even looks a bit like Sammy Davis Jr!

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