Horror anthology movies are not anything new. For decades, we have seen the horror genre pump out numerous anthology movies that tell many different short stories that are not always wholly connected to the films main plot. Films like Trick’ R’ Treat, The ABC’s of Death, and VHS are just a few of the many examples of great horror anthologies. It’s an underrated genre, with few masterpieces but lots of pretty great films. Keeping that tradition alive is the 2023 horror anthology, Satanic Hispanics.
Satanic Hispanics comes from a team of Latinos both in front of and behind the camera to tell a culturally specific horror story influenced by some terrifying folklore. To that end, Satanic Hispanics is a celebration of Latino heritage, as the many talented people that worked on the film get to show off their skills in the horror genre.
Satanic Hispanics may not be the best in the horror anthology genre, but it might be up there, and it’s certainly unique. Each segment delves into different subgenres in the horror franchise, such as a ghost story, a horror/comedy, scary demonic possession, and a Green Inferno-esque sacrificial story. The sections are all compelling in their own individual ways, with captivating performances and styles that are occasionally over-the-top and creepy at the same time, elevating the film’s terrifying, fun, and comedic energy. The jump scares are effective, and combined with a haunting and unpredictable atmosphere, more often than not will leave audiences shaking in their boots. Satanic Hispanics is another entry into the genre that proves why 2023 has been excellent for horror.
A Brilliantly Authentic Latino Horror
Satanic Hispanics begins with a police raid on an abandoned factory, laced with blood and numerous dead bodies. After a short and efficient search, the heavily armored police officers find an unconscious male victim sitting on a chair with a gun in his hand, along with a chain connected to his wrist. The chain suddenly begins to move. The unconscious male victim raises his gun at the police, causing them to open fire. The cops decide to follow the chain where they find another, this time conscious male who is also chained to the floor, but not for long — he begins to hack his hand off with a cleaver.
It’s a disturbing, engaging beginning to the film, which continues as the conscious victim is taken into custody where he is interrogated by two detectives. The victim claims that he is immortal while treating the detectives to story time, retelling some creepy, bizarre, and hilarious tales revolving around some terrifying Latin lore.
One of the most captivating and intriguing aspects of partly subtitled Satanic Hispanics is the film’s broad incorporation of Latin culture, something mostly missing from English-language horror films (though some of the best horror movies are Spanish-language). Thankfully, for those looking for a culturally authentic horror experience, Satanic Hispanics is easily one of the recent best.
5 Intoxicating Stories
Each story shines in its own way. Some are far better than others, but each offer a different kind of effect that can hook you distinctly. Whether you enjoy a laugh from a horror/comedy, a haunting experience with a ghost story, or a terrifying journey into a blood-soaked sacrifice, Satanic Hispanics will offer more than enough to please any and every horror fan.
The horror comedy segment, “Chapter 2: El Vampiro,” is perhaps the best story to come out of the film. It’s a hilariously bonkers and entertaining short story that we would love to see a full-fledged feature film about — a vampire and his journey home after a long night of feeding on the blood on the innocent, akin to a drunk man trying to navigate his way back form the bar. The vampire, gets into all kinds of shenanigans on his way home before the sun comes up. He has a hilarious argument with his wife over the phone, steals an electric scooter, gets egged by a trio of teenagers, an maybe even gets arrested. The short’s end is heartwarming and a perfect cherry on top of the hilarious, thrilling and entertaining ride that was “El Vampiro.”
Another favorite is the first chapter, which delves more into the supernatural side of things. It offers up some great scares, compelling characters, and a fantastic twist at the end, and is best left unspoiled. Again, no story is bad, it’s just that these two stories are the most interesting and the best the film has to offer. It makes Satanic Hispanics quite top heavy, but it’s a great first half of a film.
A Balance of Spoofs and Spooks
The atmosphere of Satanic Hispanics is overall spooky yet incredibly fun. For the most part it is quite haunting, offering many moments of genuine scares, but balances this with humorous entertainment. This works perfectly in “El Vampiro,” for example, but the humor seems to continue during the moments where the film should probably be more serious, such as the police interrogation. It’s unsure whether this was on purpose or not, as the performances and dialogue can sometimes feel a little cheesy, but not enough to take us out of the experience.
However, and this is not often said in horror movies, but a large amount of the jump scares in this film actually live up to the term’s name and will cause the audience to jump out of their seat. Typically, jump scares are predictable, and whilst that’s sporadically the case in Satanic Hispanics, the film sets them all up in a way that still produce many satisfyingly scary jumps. Through it’s mix of tension, grotesque practical effects, dynamic music, and committed performances, Satanic Hispanics offers many effective jump scares.
Likewise, the film’s atmosphere during the majority of the stories, specifically Chapter 1 and Chapter 3, remains utterly creepy. Satanic Hispanics plays with tension captivatingly, in a way which will force audiences to keep their eyes fixated to the screen. It isn’t the best horror anthology by all means, but it’s a very strong one with a wonderfully specific voice. It’s a perfect choice for any horror fan to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Dread and Iconic Events are releasing Satanic Hispanics in theaters on September 14, and you can find tickets and showtimes here.
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