Anthologies are my favorite for any genre, especially when it comes to horror. At the last Fantastic Fest I attended I found the amazing gem, The Mortuary Collection, and at this year’s festival, I got the chance to find another amazing anthology with Satanic Hispanics.
Starting with a police raid that reveals a tragic act of violence, the audience is introduced to a mysterious man chained up in a locked room. Instead of giving his name, he only identifies himself as the Traveler. Played by the iconic Efren Ramirez, the Traveler leads us through four stories directed by Demián Rugna, Eduardo Sánchez, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Alejandro Brugués, and Mike Mendez, the film brings together multiple horror subgenres and something new with each vignette. From gore to comedy to supernatural suspense and action, we get a wide depth of what the horror genre can offer in a fantastic way.
Demián Rugna’s directs my favorite of the shorts: “Tambien lo Vi.” A suffocating story told in one old house, we get to meet a man who has discovered something is in his house. Trying to get others to see it and verify it, he starts on a visceral and unsettling journey to find the truth and then tries to survive it. Atmospheric and really suffocating, Rugna manages to craft a vignette that feels like a feature-length film with creeping dread and killer effects work that stick with you.
Next up, Eduardo Sánchez gives viewers his take on a vampire tale with “El Vampiro” with lots of blood and lots of comedy throughout. With a scooter-taking vampire who is a little out of shape, we get a quest to get home with a comedy of errors along the way. Next, Satanic Hispanics moves back to violence and the supernatural with “Nahuales” from director Gigi Saul Guerrero. Better entered with little information, this bloody vignette shines a spotlight on indigenous identity and its importance of it. Then it all wraps up with Mike Mendez’s “Hammer of Zanzibar,” a vignette that leans hard into comedy and action in such a smart way while also bringing a lot of raunchy comedy to the table at the same time.
Often, anthologies have a hard time pulling things together with a wrap-around, but that isn’t the case with Satanic Hispanics. Mike Mendez’s The Traveler is hilarious, features a beautiful creature with San la Muerte, and even offers a pretty aggressive take on the inability of the police to protect those who need it, especially when they’re Latino or considered foreign.
“Traveler” does a damn good job of holding the film together in one cohesive narrative, working in larger themes about immigration and policing, presenting a dope action sequence, and just rocking as hard as it can to a classic song in Spanish. This doesn’t mean that any vignettes fall short, but rather that the entirety of Satanic Hispanics is artistically planned that it thrives because of the tonal differences and doesn’t suffer from it. And that’s thanks to “Traveler.”
With cameos from some awesome actors that will make you turn into the pointing DiCaprio meme, Satanic Hispanics is a thrilling ride that manages to show the depth of Latin takes on horror and on how much one genre can offer when combined with others. But one other element that has to be called out as spectacular over each of the vignettes is the beauty and detail and love poured into the practical effects. Every inch of effects work feels lived in and perfect when it needs to, absurd and zany when the story calls for it, and perfect throughout, this is why I love horror.
Satanic Hispanics is a near-perfect anthology. With so many different tones and themes, it also tells an astounding wrap-around that holds it all together. From me? It gets a resounding grito, and hope that we get more anthologies like this one. Satanic Hispanics is here to showcase exactly why Latinos deserve more opportunities to tell more horror stories and knock it out of the park.
Satanic Hispanic screened as a part of Austin’s Fantastic Fest 2022 programming.
Satanic Hispanics is a near-perfect anthology. With so many different tones and themes, it also manages to tell an astounding wrap-around that holds it all together. From me? It gets a resounding grito and hope that we get more anthologies like this one. Satanic Hispanics is here to showcase exactly why Latinos deserve more opportunities to tell more horror stories and knocks it out of the park.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.