Talking about “scary” movies in Mexican cinema has for many years been synonymous with leaving or some brief examples, even mocking laughter. And it is that, despite the fact that in our country there have been macabre stories, full of mysteries and characters worthy of bringing out the most bastard scares, there are few occasions in which they have managed to come out ahead.
Believe me, beyond the cult movies where the pankration kings faced off against female vampires, mummies or aliens, there is a rich quality of forgotten or little-known films that honorably defend the genre of suspense and horror without the need for big budgets, amazing effects or renowned actors, and this, since the early 30s, when our glorious golden cinema began to be forged.
For this reason, and with the certainty that you are unaware of more than one of these titles, I make this delicious offering of films that are very suitable for these days where the profane, the souls, the afterlife and all kinds of covens are mixed in this globalized culture to, more than anything, remember that there are things that escape our reason and no matter how skeptical, religious or curious, neither you nor I can deny that there have been nights or moments of darkness in which we have feared the unknown. Or what? Dare you deny me?
Monks, witches, vampires, the hanged, ghosts, beings of darkness, death and even the chamuco himself are part of this exquisite top that your faithful servant brings for you. So, grab your blanket and get ready to enjoy alone or in the company of this conscientiously made count to make you spend an evening or afternoon (if you like it) of luxury.
Bonuses – The Vampire (1957) Fernando Mendez
just as he did dracula of bela lugosi or the Nosferatu of max schreckIn Mexico, the quintessential figure of the bat man representing this Gothic tradition, was splendidly embodied by the great German Robles. The plot is simple but it works. Count Duval (Robles) who lives his secret life as a vampire on a village farm, wants to quietly claim the farm where his brother is buried. Thus, to get hold of it, he will have to overcome 3 brothers and their niece, the beautiful Martita (Ariadna Welter), who with the help of Dr. Enrique (Abel Salzar) will fight against the forces of evil, the fangs and that bastard look that only Germán Robles, the quintessential Latino vampire, managed to instill in his character. A classic that to this day, prevails as the tropicalization of the vampire in Latin lands.
10 – Blacker than the night (1975) Enrique Taboada
Featuring a striped cast of period beauties that includes Lucia Mendez, Susana Dosamantes, Claudia Islas Y Helena Red, this tape begins with the inheritance of a fifi house from an aunt of these girls, whose only condition to claim it, will be to take care of the aunt’s black cat, named Becker. Like a hippie and with different life stories, Ofelia and her friends decide to share the huge roof of this mansion where, upon their arrival and the treatment they have towards the mchi (whom they describe as blacker than the night), will unleash a series of paranormal situations that will end up taking feline revenge with each one of them. Perhaps the weakest film in the Taboada universe, which nevertheless had enough strength to shit on the remake they made of it in 2014, which passed with more pain than glory, since not all its “special effects” gave it a bit from the suspense of the original.
9 – Even the wind is afraid (1968) Enrique Taboada
Continuing with the universe of suspense and horror that the Mexican director left as a legacy for our cinema, in this film starring another cast of cool characters among which stand out Norma Lazareno, Maricruz Olivier, Alicia Bonet and the very marga lopez they witness a tragedy in a boarding school for young ladies, in the middle of a suicide, the lost soul of a student will not stop giving trouble until she manages to possess one of them to avenge the death of her mother and shits on the strict and absurd rules of the director Bernarda. This tape has everything, demonic presences, a possession, life after death and an extremely charming title that captivates and enchants the viewer. As we always say, with everything and the very poor production, Taboada manages in this and most of his work, to get away with it in a cinema that was not prepared for him. A true revolutionary of his time.
8 – Aunt Alejandra (1980) Arturo Ripstein
An aunt who is a witch would seem like a joke, but here it becomes a bastard anecdote. Isabella Corona gives life to aunt Alejandra, who, following the death of a relative, decides to move to her nephew’s house (Manuel Ojeda) and his wife (Diana Bracho). There, in the same house where it was recorded The castle of purity the strange prayers, the black candles and some puppets with which I continue to shit scared, will begin to make life impossible for each member of this family whose only crime was wanting to get out of middle class and see the aunt, her check in white. The handling of natural elements controlled by evil forces, tragic and gruesome deaths and a struggle with the love of a mother who apparently can do anything, are the elements to place her deservedly among the best of her genre.
7 – The stone book (1969) Enrique Taboada
Recovering the Gothic tradition, of the governess who arrives at a house far from civilization to create a special bond with a somewhat forgotten girl judged crazy by an absent father and rejected by a new stepmother, Taboada presents a story (the first ) where he gives prominence to children and in whom he finds beings capable of generating the most absolute fear that puts one on the edge of the seat. Once again taking part in Marga López, her role as Miss Julia will be key to unraveling this fantasy full of tragedy and the occult that begins as a game and ends as a horrible reality. Special mention to see one of the divas of the golden cinema, high heels, skirt and climbed on top of the dome of a temple … how barbaric! And what about the animal?
6 – Poison for fairies (1986) Enrique Taboada
Perhaps Taboada’s best and most successful film in the genre that, like no one else, he nailed and nailed at a time when the common denominator focused on a coarser cinema full of naked women, second-rate cowboys and other cuteness. With a fantastic performance by Ana Patricia Red (who we would later see lost in the universe of the telenovela) in a duet with the late Elsa María Gutierrez, Verónica and Flavia, respectively, make the 90 minutes of this film a joy. They are the absolute masters of a screen that reduces adults to voices and legs and that finds in these two little girls the perfect combination to “play” with a psychological terror that leads us down the path of witchcraft, the evil that can inhabiting a small body and the courage of a fear that first soaks the viewer, before any of its protagonists.
5 – The Mystery of the Pale Face (1935) Juan Bustillo Oro
I can almost guarantee that you haven’t seen this little-known and painfully poor quality gem on YouTube. However, I tell you that this film is an institution in the horror and suspense genre in our cinema, perhaps the first film that, in the purest style of Dr. Frankenstein, presents us with the story of a doctor obsessed with finding the cures a strange disease (leprosy) and whose foolishness will put an end to a love relationship that will try to go through death to (literally) revive the fire of passion of two young people that he carries between his legs, one of them, his own son. A drama with overtones of works like The Phantom of the Opera, which I assure you, will not leave you indifferent. Don’t miss out on its special effects and the exquisite art deco decoration of its sets.
4 – Spiritism (1962) Benito Alazraki
Another little-known jewel that at the beginning of the 60s, dares to present us with a story where the ouija, the spirits, the different religions and of course, the cult of Chamuco himself, are totally ahead of their time to present us with a tape beyond fascinating. I don’t want to spoil anything, I just ask you not to take into account the moral message with which it ends. Focus on its strange theme and on the sublime tropicalization of W. Jacobs’ story “Monkey’s paw” (Did you associate it with The Simpsons and the horror house?) where this element will be able to fulfill the most fervent desires accompanied by the more dire consequences. Do you dare to see it? I assure you that you will not regret it.
3 – The ghost of the convent (1934) Fernando de Fuentes
Responsible for pillars of our cinema as Let’s go with Pancho Villa, The compadre Mendoza either There in the big ranch, the genius of de Fuentes also had to create an authentic pearl of horror and suspense that I guarantee will not leave you indifferent. This story of monks, a love triangle, the power struggle between good and evil and even one of the first special effects on the big Mexican screen (a book in which a message suddenly appears in blood on its pages). it is a joy. A classic that few know where perhaps the idea of seeing women as the cause of all sins may seem retrograde. Don’t take it so personally, understand the Catholic context that prevailed at the time and enjoy all the other elements, which are what actually continue to exalt the film.
2 – The scapular (1968) Servando González
With the complicity of the lens of Gabriel Figueroa, this story in the context of the Mexican Revolicon shows us the excellent management of a good suspense. A camera that makes us accomplices from the beginning and that plays a fundamental role in the development of a story that could perfectly be anyone that you or I may have heard from our grandparents. A woman about to die, in full confession, speaks to a priest about the enormous powers that a magical scapular (which he offers her) has witnessed for good and for bad, how, when reason does not give us, we can always take refuge in faith, the spiritual and everything that escapes human understanding. Special mention of the animation that with love pigeons, hearts and flowers, Figueroa is fanned. Don’t stop watching it.
1 – Macario (1960) Roberto Gavaldón
The oneiric and the real, life and death, the rich and the poor, good or evil and the most beautiful chiaroscuro, give life to a film that, over time, continues perennially, captivating locals and strangers alike. it did over 60 years ago. It would seem absurd, but after its misunderstood premiere in Mexico (not everyone understood it), this masesta work traveled halfway around the world, being honored among many other awards, with the first Oscar nomination as a foreign film, and in Cannes, the tremendous scene of the Cacahuamilpa Caves full of candles representing the universe of souls, won the prize for best photography. A beautiful ode to death and one of the greatest performances by the immeasurable Ignacio Lopez Tarso.