Spanish Horror Movies

Friday, March 25 by Elizabeth Ahn

Spanish horror movies rarely disappoint–in fact, many film critics consider Spain one of the best producers of horror in the entire world.  Whereas American and Britain rely on gore and blood to get a rise out of people, Spain chooses a more subtle approach, scaring people by stimulating a person's senses instead.  To get a taste of horror, try on these movies for size.

  1. "The Devil's Backbone": Highly acclaimed when it was first released, "The Devil's Backbone" takes place during the final days of the Spanish Civil War, following the story of a boy named Carlos–a boy who unknowingly comes across a ghost lurking in an orphanage.  Although Roger Ebert originally gave this move three stars, others have given this movie a full four stars, clearly enchanted by this unusual ghost story.  The ending isn't predictable.
  2. "Palabras Encadenadas": A serial killer by the name of Ramon kidnaps a psychiatrist and binds her to a chair, vowing to play a game betting life or death.  He calls it the Word Game, which will grant her freedom if she wins–but he will slowly mutilate her if she loses.  In English, this movie is called "Killing Words", and this movie truly holds true to that title.
  3. "Viva la Muerte": Based on an autobiography written by Fernando Arrabal, this story follows Arrabal, who begins developing a sexual attraction to the one woman he could never have–his mother.  What follows is his struggle to cope with his taboo attraction and a horrific tale of his other strange sexual desires–namely, the torture, the feces and the extreme violence.  This is definitely not a children's movie.
  4. "The Orphanage": Guillermo del Toro clearly loves his ghosts and orphanages–and this tale is no exception to his horrific movie-making infamy.  The story follows Laura, who returns to her childhood home only to come across an abandoned orphanage, which is ridden with ghosts that threaten to harm her and the ones she loves.  To make matters worse, Laura's son mysteriously disappears, and her supernatural friends may be behind it.
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