Being the first all-Latino horror anthology, Satanic Hispanics, features five short films from some of the leading Latino filmmakers in the genre.
Produced by Patrick Ewald, Mike Mendez (The Convent) and Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), the team of directors includes Gigi Saul Guerrero (Bingo Hell), Demián Rugna (Terrified), Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project) with Brugués also directing one of the stories.
The story begins when police raid a house in El Paso. They find it full of dead Latinos with only one survivor (Efren Ramirez) known as ‘The Traveler’. When he is taken to the station for questioning, he talks about lands that are full of magic and about the horrors he’s encountered in his long time on this earth, about portals to other worlds, mythical creatures, demons and the undead.
Stemming from The Traveler arch, each short showcases specific stories, myths or legends from Latinamerica. Having this in mind, the five shorts not only take different stories but also different tones.
Demián Rugna’s También Lo Vi is set in Argentina and is all atmosphere. The dark presence in the story provides some scares and features some great visuals. Gigi Saul Guerrero’s Nahuales is certainly darker in terms of the evil it depicts while also mixing Mexican folkore in its elements.
To change the tone a bit, Eduardo Sánchez’s El Vampiro, provides comic relief as it takes on the vampire lore in a much lighter yet effective manner. I appreciated the joke of an older vampire trying to make it ‘home’ before sunrise. The final short is Alejandro Brugués’ The Hammer of Zanzibar has good creature effects and some jokes as well, although it was my least favourite.
Of all the shorts, I personally enjoyed the darker tones in También Lo Vi and Nahuales. They each tackle dark elements but Nahuales succeeds in combining real world issues and monsters in a cohesive manner.
As an anthology Satanic Hispanics, has its ups and downs. The overaching story of The Traveler is a good anchor, but I wish we had seen more Latinamerican folklore and legends in a more interesting way. In its aim to spotlight Latino talent in front and behind the camera, however, Satanic Hispanics succeeds quite well.
Images courtesy of Dread.