by Ulises Silva
Isn’t it odd that most Latinos have at least 26 family members who positively swear they’ve seen/heard/played soccer with a ghost? I guess it’s to be expected, what with our collective torment at the hands of El Cuco, La Llorona, El Chupacabra, and beings who didn’t exactly roll with Casper the Friendly Ghost. And now, it seems we’re helping to keep Hollywood horror (such as it is) afloat: Paranormal Activity 2 was expected to be a hit with Latino audiences.
I’ve always thought that something about our culture made us more receptive toward supernatural shenanigans and superstition. We Latinos definitely seem gluttons for supernatural punishment: we like to be scared, we think the dead of night is the ideal moment to share our latest run-in with a restless spirit, and we like to endure terrible suffering (case in point: telenovelas). Whether it’s recounting grandma’s story of the haunted chicken coop, telling our misbehaving kids that the police siren outside is actually La Llorona’s tricked-out new ride, or coping with the real-life horror that is Arizonan immigration policies, horror and the supernatural seem to be parts of our shared experience.
You’d think we could somehow use this to help Hollywood make horror films actually worth watching.
Hollywood horror films often give us the screaming, stumbling cheerleader running from a nail-clipper-wielding maniac who wears a mask, has unresolved anger management issues, and, oh, is very human (i.e., stoppable with the right amount of common sense, though this too is a rarity in horror films). The supernatural is typically not something the big studios delve into, unless it’s some silly remake of a moderately successful Asian horror flick. Is it any wonder that American horror films usually do terrible at the box office?
Maybe it’s time for horror…Latino-style! Asian filmmakers long ago realized that vindictive folks from beyond the grave made for much scarier (and more plausibly unstoppable) horror film villains than the guy at the hockey supply shop with the unrequited crush on Brittney the Cheerleader. But Latinos, as receptive as we are to supernatural possibilities, probably have more supernatural inspiration to draw from. Whether it’s turning grandma’s haunted chicken coop tale into a screenplay, or turning our fears of that dastardly Cuco into something fictionally compelling (like, Night of the Cuco 3D. This time, it’s personal), we’ve probably got a wealth of ideas just waiting to revive the horror genre.
So, is anyone out there working on a horror film or book, or do you know of any Latino filmmakers or authors we should be aware of and warning American audiences about? Or should we just go to Hollywood and pitch our script for La Llorona vs. Jason?
To learn more about Ulises’
unhealthy predilection toward horror and zaniness,
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.