The weather is getting colder, my belly and cupboards are filled with every variety of pumpkin spice Trader Joe’s could supply, and maybe your thoughts are turning to films of the darker, more scream-filled variety. I don’t blame you if your thoughts are always filled with horror films, but this is the time of year to start amping up your game.
This September, double up on your horror movie intake by also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanic filmmakers from Mexico, Spain, and Central and South America are not afraid to get gory, tell unique stories, and delve into the many terrifying legends as well as real-life horrors of their culture. Instead of that recent Blumhouse dumpster fire, check out some of these amazing horror films.
Ladies of Horror Film [directed by women]
Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven)
dir. Issa Lopez | Mexico | 2017 | Shudder
This movie focuses on the real-life horrors of Mexico’s drug wars through the eyes of children. It has a del Toro–type magical realism, a charming fairytale quality that only heightens the slow-creeping dread. A must see.
dir. Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores Born, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzman, Edgar Nito, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Aaron Soto | Mexico | 2014 | Amazon
An anthology movie of eight stories, this one is a great introduction to all the dark and twisted fears bubbling up in Mexican culture.
Into the Dark: Culture Shock
dir. Gigi Saul Guerrero | US | 2019 | Hulu
From Canadian Latina director Guerrero comes what I found easily the best of the installments of Hulu’s Into the Dark series. A pregnant woman crosses from Mexico into the good ole US of A, only to watch the dream she’s been searching for turn to a nightmare.
The Headless Woman (La mujer sin cabeza)
dir. Lucrecia Martel | Argentina | 2008 | Amazon
More of a thriller, this story follows a woman who hits something with her car and descends into paranoia, thinking that she might have killed someone.
Scream Queens [killer leading ladies]
The Untamed (La región salvaje)
dir. Amat Escalante | Mexico | 2016 | Amazon
The Mexican Possession. If you’ve seen that one, then you don’t need any more information. If you haven’t, think sex-driven tentacled space(?) creature and you’ll have the right picture.
dir. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza | Spain | 2007 | Amazon
The Blair Witch Project of creepy apartment buildings—this one almost requires a diaper with its balls-to-the-wall constant bombardment of truly frightening moments.
dir. Paco Plaza | Spain | 2017 | Netflix
This is hands-down my favorite exorcism movie after the classic. Catholic school, a spirit board, a blind nun, and a solar eclipse: what could go wrong?
dir. Guillermo del Toro | Mexico | 1992 | Amazon
This list wouldn’t be complete with a film from visionary Guillermo del Toro, and this oft-overlooked vampiric tale of the search for immortality is my pick since it is his only movie made in his native Mexico.
dir. Demián Rugna | Argentina | 2017 | Shudder
OK, while I’m not sure I completely followed the plot of this film, it has some of the most intensely scary and unique visuals that made my stomach drop out of my body. Nuff said.
We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay)
dir. Jorge Michel Grau | Mexico | 2010 | Hulu
This is a very human tale about kids just trying to keep their family together after their father dies. They also happen to be cannibals. Be sure to get the original version, not the 2011 US remake. Though both are good, the original has a certain darkness that just doesn’t translate.
If you think we missed any amazing movies drop a comment down below.