September 16 is Mexico’s day of independence, in which Mexico’s heroic revolutionaries are literally shouted out! In honor of the holiday, we’re shouting out 5 Influential Mexican Horror Directors who have made their mark on the horror genre!
René Cardona Jr.
Son of legendary Mexican filmmaker René Cardona, René Cardona Jr., is a legend in his own right directing, writing, and producing over 100 films in his lifetime! He rose to fame in the 1970s producing a B-movie knock-off of Jaws. Many of Cardona’s films were genre films, and his focus on international projects brought him world-wide renown.
Cardona’s films are what you would expect from the 70s and 80s schlock with shock gore effects and hammy acting, but if you’re a fan of Larry Cohen or Hammer films, these flicks are right up your alley!
Recommended Films: Night of 1000 Cats (1972), Beaks: The Movie (1987), Tintorera (1977)
Isaac Ezban hit the horror scene by storm with his debut feature The Incident (2014), receiving critical acclaim. Since then, Ezban has written, directed, and produced a second film, The Similars (2015), and directed the speculative genre film Parallel (2018).
Ezban’s films lean towards speculative fiction, but not without a touch of horror! His films pose questions that the audience must answer. For those looking for thought-provoking horror with out of the box concepts, Ezbans films are for you!
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Recommended Films: Parallel (2018), The Similars (2015), The Incident (2014)
Jorge Michel Grau
Rising to horror prominence with the 2010 film Somos lo Que Hay (We Are What We Are), Jorge Michel Grau is a film academic with the credentials to prove it! Having studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia, and becoming professor of Production and Set Direction at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, Grau has a profound understanding of direction and production.
While his films steer more towards the drama/thriller side of the genre, Grau cultivates a moody, dark atmosphere that will enthrall fans of more cerebral horror.
Recommended Films: Somos lo Que Hay (2010), Big Sky (2014), Perdida (2019)
Gigi Saul Guerrero
Gigi Saul Guerrero is a breakout horror director who made her name with the horror web series La Quinceañera (2017). Her focus on Latinx horror makes her a personal favorite for this writer, and her directorial debut Dead Crossing (2011) is a must-see! Guerrero is quickly becoming a genre favorite directing installments of Hulu’s Into the Dark series and even The Purge television show.
Guerrero strives for a gritty, gory “TexMex” style for her films, leading to some incredibly unique films. She is currently signed on to direct a Santa Muerte feature that is very exciting for anyone familiar with its cultural significance! It’s no wonder she has received almost universal praise from the horror industry.
Recommended Films: Culture Shock (2019), Dead Crossing (2011), La Quinceañera (2017)
Guillermo del Toro
What is there to say about Guillermo del Toro that has not already been said? Del Toro is a darling of the horror community, writing and directing films such as Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), and The Shape of Water (2017). His reputation as a writer and director is well earned, and it is rare for del Toro’s projects to receive anything but critical acclaim.
Besides his cinematic work, del Toro is a beacon of positivity and support for the horror community and new artists. Del Toro is a staunch supporter of the arts and even tours his collection of art and artifacts for the world to enjoy! His dark but whimsical and fantastically realistic films echo del Toro’s personality, and, just like him, are universally beloved!
Recommended Films: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), The Shape of Water (2017)
Latinx horror has grown significantly within the past decade. Every year we see more horrifying flicks from Latinx directors, writers, and producers, with Mexico among their origins. It is exciting to see such a rich culture and tradition explored in genre film by those closest to it. So, in closing, Viva el horror! Viva México! Y vivan los directores!