SATANIC HISPANICS Is An Anthology Full Of Fast, Ferocious, Frightening Latin American Fun!


By: Chris Hammond

Directed by: Mike Mendez, Demián Rugna, Eduardo Sánchez, Gigi Saul Guerrero,

Written by: Alejandro Mendez, Demián Rugna, Pete Barnstrom, Lino K. Villa, Shadan Saul, Raynor Shima

Produced by: Patrick Ewald, Mike Mendez, Alejandro Brugués

Starring: Efren Ramirez, Greg Grunberg, Hemky Madera, Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Patricia Velásquez, Jacob Vargas, Ari Gallegos, Demian Salomon, Christian Rodrigo, Michael C. Williams

Distributor: Dread

Synopsis: When police raid a house in El Paso, they find it full of dead bodies (which all appear to be Latin American), and only one survivor. He’s known as “The Traveler” (Efren Ramirez). The cops take him to the station for questioning, he weaves a weird story full of magic and about the horrors he’s encountered in his long time on this earth. Detectives Gibbons (Sonya Eddy) and Arden (Greg Grunberg) are cynical at first, but as the night goes on they pay attention to the wonderous four tales about Latin American legends which include portals to other worlds, mythical creatures, demons and the undead. Will they let “The Traveler” go or will time run out for all involved?  

First, Satanic Hispanic is from some of the leading Latin filmmakers in the
horror genre, spotlighting Hispanic talent both in front
and behind the camera.

The film is overflowing with Latin American lore (in a very positive way). It is a love letter to Latino horror fans, but not limited to Latinos. This is an anthology of stories that deserve to be up there with films like Creepshow, Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, and Tales from the Hood.

The Story of the Traveler is helmed by director Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider!). Ramirez (The Traveler) is a narrator of sorts, which connects all of the other segments together. Think of him as the Latino Crypt Keeper. This storyteller pops in and out throughout the film, to set up stories and give the audience a sense of reality.

Demián Rugna (When Evil Lurks) unsettles the audience with “Tambien Lo Vi”. This is a hell of a creeper haunted house segment about Gustavo (Demián Salomón) a Rubik’s Cube expert living in his deceased grandmother’s house. He’s not great with people but excels at inventing formulas. One night he uses a flashlight on a multi-coloured glass pane window (just like the coloured pieces on the Rubik’s Cube) and unlocks a portal of unworldly proportions.

Rugna sets the horror knob to 11 with this very first full-story chapter. This one is pure nightmare fuel with glorious acting, shocking special effects and exemplary direction.

Cuban-born Eduardo Sánchez, who some will know from co-directing the cult hit The Blair Witch Project, sinks his teeth into the audience with the humorous “El Vampiro”. Sánchez tells the story of bloodthirsty El Vampiro (Hemky Madera) on Halloween night. The Comedy is forefront while El Vampiro uses this night to cover the town in red until his wife calls to remind him about daylight saving time. Now the race is on for him to get home before the sun rises. He must elude pursuing police, and navigate through egg-throwing pranksters before he goes up in flames. Not everything is full-on comedy in this chapter. There are some pretty brutal kills but in a “fun” way. This is in the same vein as some other vampires out there (I’m looking at you, What We Do in the Shadows).

“Nahuales” brings back the horror in a story of Mexican Folklore. Director Gigi Saul Guerrero (Bingo Hell) ushers in a story of shapeshifting, Shamen mythology. Taking place in Catemaco, Mexico, the story follows De la Cruz (Ari Gallegos) already on the run from a group he was informing the CIA on. He escapes back into his house and is still under pursuit by the odd members of the gang (if you watch closely, you’ll notice the windows are blue, red, white and yellow like in this first segment “Tambien Lo Vi”).

The gang known as the Nahuales finally captures him and says ominously “Mother Awaits”. Things go from bad to worse for Cruz at the conclusion of this truly odd (and very short) segment. I wish this one was expanded on a little more as it feels cut down for time and not fully fleshed out.

Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead) swings the film’s tone back to comedy once again with “The Hammer of Zanzibar”. This Chapter deals with Malcolm (Jonah Ray Rodrigues) and his ex-girlfriend Amy (Danielle Chaves). They meet up at a restaurant where they break up and discuss a weird ceremony which leaves Malcolm believing they are cursed.

Rodrigues impresses with his physical acting a la Ash Williams, but rather than a chainsaw Malcolm uses a truly unique weapon to fight the evil.

Jacob Vargas steals the show as the intense and unintentionally funny “El Jefe” (shop owner who gives Malcolm the weapon to fight the evil they brought back from Cuba). Vargas has some of the funniest dialogue and audiences may find themselves bursting out in laughter. Also, listen to the song on the recorder that Rodrigues actually performs. It’s catchy and to the point.

Satanic Hispanics is full of different themes and sometimes the back and forth between horror and fun can be hard to digest. These are stories that for the most part are vastly different from each other, but held together by the Traveler segments. They shouldn’t work so well together, but they do.

There’s a broad appeal and inclusive feel to each story that the audience will connect with. The fact that some segments also incorporate Spanish language and English makes it all the more authentic. The film delivers on frights, and fun in a truly entertaining way. Hopefully, this film will be the jumping-off point for more installments of quality Hispanic horror stories in the future.

SATANIC HISPANICS opens in theatres September 14, 2023

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