México Bárbaro [aka Barbarous Mexico] (2014) is a horror anthology film directed by Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores, Jorge Michel Grau, Ulises Guzmán, Edgar Nito, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saúl Guerrero, and Aarón Soto.
Eight Mexican directors unite to create tales of the most brutally terrifying Mexican traditions and legends to vividly shocking life. México Bárbaro presents haunting stories that have been woven into the fabric of a nation’s culture, some passed down through the centuries and some new, but all equally frightening. Stories of boogeymen, trolls, ghosts, monsters, Aztec sacrifices and, of course, the Day of the Dead all come together in urban and rural settings to create an anthology that is as original as it is familiar and as important as it is horrifying.
The eight films, in order, are:
- “Tzompantli”. Directed by Laurette Flores.
- “Jaral de Berrios”. Directed by Edgar Nito.
- “Drena” [aka “Drain”]. Directed by Aarón Soto.
- “La Cosa más Preciada” [aka “That Precious Thing”]. Directed by Isaac Ezban.
- “Lo que Importa es lo de Adentro” [aka “What Matters is on the Inside”]. Directed by Lex Ortega.
- “Muñecas” [aka “Dolls”]. Directed by Jorge Michel Grau.
- “Siete Veces Siete” [aka “Seven Times Seven”]. Directed by Ulises Guzmán.
- “Día de los Muertos” [aka “Day of the Dead”]. Directed by Gigi Saúl Guerrero.
Not rated. 114 minutes. Watch the official red band trailer here …
My thoughts… I rented México Bárbaro on Amazon Video in lieu of waiting for the film to appear on Netflix because of my current appreciation for Mexican-Canadian filmmaker Gigi Saúl Guerrero! I went in expecting only to be awed, once again, by Guerrero’s work; but I walked out, metaphorically speaking, having seen an excellent horror anthology film! México Bárbaro is creepy, bloody and, at times, very disturbing! I loved it! However, like most anthology films, some stories are better than others. “Día de los Muertos” is my favorite film but, at least, three others make México Bárbaro worth watching!
“Día de los Muertos”, of course, was directed and co-written by Gigi Saúl Guerrero for her Vancouver, BC-based LuchaGore Productions. The film was nominated for 4 awards at the 2013 British Horror Film Festival including ‘Best Actress’ for which Adelita Rockhill, who plays Doña Luz, won.
On the night of ‘Dia De Los Muertos’, the women of the strip club ‘La Candelaria’ seek revenge on those who abused them.
Watch the official trailer for “Día de los Muertos” here …
“Día de los Muertos” is like the second act of Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk till Dawn in 10 minutes – except without vampires! It’s just gory good fun as a dozen or so strippers with sugar skull-painted faces take out their bloody revenge on a dozen or so bad guys!
“La Cosa más Preciada”, written & directed by Isaac Ezban, is my next favorite film! Teenagers Javier (Rubén Zerecero) and Valeria (Sara Camacho) rent a secluded cabin in order for Sara to lose her virginity. However, she ends up being abducted and raped a Mayan sprite! “La Cosa más Preciada”, filmed in a ’70s grindhouse style, is wonderfully graphic and distasteful! Now, I need to see Isaac Ezban’s Twilight Zone-influenced latest film Los Parecidos [aka The Similars] (2015)! Watch the trailer for Los Parecidos (here).
“Drena”, directed by Aarón Soto, is even more repulsive than “La Cosa más Preciada”! A young woman (Leslie Arce) is visited by a demon that demands she drain the blood from her sister’s (Joyce Cuervo) vagina within 12 hours or else her soul will be sucked out through her anus! Yeah, you read that right! This film is vile, for sure, but it’s not as graphic as “La Cosa más Preciada”!
“Muñecas”, written & directed by Jorge Michel Grau, is an atmospheric B&W thriller in which a woman (Patricia Ortiz) attempts to escape the horrible fate of being cooked into a doll on the Island of the Dolls at the hands of Él (Alberto Palavicini)! The eerie music at the end is awesome! Oh, and Patricia Ortiz is adorable!
Those four films are my favorites but the other four are good, too! In “Siete Veces Siete”, directed by Ulises Guzmán, a man laboriously resurrects his dead brother in order to kill him for murdering his children. In “Tzompantli”, directed by Laurette Flores, a young journalist learns that a group of missing youths were sacrificed to Aztec gods. In “Lo que Importa es lo de Adentro”, directed by Lex Ortega, a perverted homeless man kills children to sell their organs. And, finally, in “Jaral de Berrios”, directed by Edgar Nito, a pair of bandits take refuge in a haunted hacienda.