Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us. From September 15th to October 15th, many people come together to celebrate culture, identity, and representation in the Hispanic community. When it comes to horror films, there are many different kinds for sure. To see some of the best ones you might have to go beyond this country. Every country has its own films that they make. The Hispanic community has left a big impact on the world of horror. In fact, some of the best and most influential horror films have come from Spanish-speaking countries. Here are 5 Spanish horror films to watch during Hispanic Heritage Month.
1. Rec (Spain)
Rec is a horror film from Spain released in 2007 that is very important to the found footage genre.
The movie is about a reporter and her cameraman who are following a fire department when suddenly the police quarantine the building. There is an infected old woman inside and slowly the inhabitants of the building are either becoming infected themselves or dying off.
Rec is a scary movie. Besides the infection aspect, you also feel claustrophobic throughout. The characters are all stuck together in this apartment complex with not many places to go. This was before found footage became a tired trope so the movie definitely feels fresh.
There are plenty of chills and scares throughout. The movie isn’t a long one so it does well in jumping right into the action and not letting go until the final frame. A remake was made but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. A twist at the ending also leaves people with a conversation to be had. Definitely check this one out if you haven’t.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico)
Pan’s Labyrinth is a lot of things. It’s creative. It is original, It is a fantasy. It is a horror film. It is a fairy tale. It is an adventure. It is Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece.
Pan’s Labyrinth is about an 11-year-old girl named Ofelia who is unhappy living with her new stepfather, a sadistic captain. After witnessing her stepfather commit some brutal acts, she is drawn into a magical world full of mythical beings.
This is a special movie that shows scares based on reality and those in a fantasy world. This movie just has to be experienced to be believed and appreciated. The creature effects for one are so inventively scary yet inviting. The fantasy world is beautifully constructed and the characters all are fleshed out and have purpose. It is a juggernaut of a film and one of the best fantasy horror films ever made.
3. Tigers Are Not Afraid (Mexico)
Tigers Are Not Afraid is a movie from Mexico that mixes drama and horror very well. The movie is about a young girl named Estrella who lives in the middle of a Mexican Drug War. When her mother suddenly disappears, she joins a gang of street children and does her best to find her mother and survive.
This is a dark movie. There are many scenes and moments which involve dangerous situations and children. Similar to Pan’s Labyrinth there is a good mixture of fantasy and horror. After an incident, a teacher gives Estrella 3 pieces of chalk and tells her they will grant her 3 wishes. She uses these wishes throughout the film to protect herself and her friends.
There are many ideas and deep conversations to be had about poverty and war. The acting from the children is well done and the horrific moments truly stand out. Estrella throughout the movie sees the ghosts of the children who have passed and it is haunting and chilling. This one is worth a watch for sure.
4. The Orphanage (Spain)
Director J.A. Bayona and producer Guillermo del Toro gave us the chilling ghost story, The Orphanage back in 2007.
The Orphanage is about a woman named Laura who had spent her time happily as a child in an orphanage. She decides with her husband to buy the same orphanage and turn it into a home for sick children. When Laura’s adopted son goes missing for several months, he is presumed dead. There may be some good or bad spirits who try to help Laura find the truth about her boy.
The movie is as atmospheric as it gets and is the definition of a haunted house movie. A slow burn that builds tension that leads to a worthy twist and ending. The performances and special effects are top-notch here as well as the acting. The story is heartbreaking and the director relies less on gore and more on dread. This is one very similar to a Hitchcock film and that is a great thing.
5. The Platform (Spain)
The Platform is about an inmate locked in a special kind of prison. There are many floors and a platform in the middle that rises up and down between floors. Food is on this platform and the prisoners on the highest levels get as much as they can first and the prisoners towards the bottom are left starving and sick. One man inside decides to change how things work especially after finding out a child might be stuck in the prison.
The movie takes place in a dystopian future and has a lot to say without being in-your-face preachy. Messages about higher and lower class and society and what is right or wrong. If people took just enough food, everyone would have enough and be fine. That isn’t how life works though.
The Platform is filled with a great set piece as well as fantastic performances. It has a lot to say but is also gory and hard to watch sometimes but that is what makes it effective. It is a grim ride that will leave you thinking about the world we live in.