Friday, November 21, 2008

¡Qué Horror!

The following three films are not in the pantheon of “greats,” but are pretty good if you like horror, want to practice your Spanish, or want to see more from the man who will bring you “The Hobbit” in a couple of years.

Cronos (1993)
Okay, this one is only for you if you are a completist and are into: vampire films, Guillermo del Toro, or like Ron Pearlman. All three good reasons to check a film out, but no promise of a worthwhile investment of time.

El espinazo del Diablo (2001)
What is it about a ghost story that is so creepy? They usually fit the bill of perfect horror. No one really fears bodily harm from a ghost, but they still scare in a way a killer with a knife never could. Terror, meet Horror. In Espinazo, del Toro gives us the ghost of a kid that is as creepy as they come. Wait, maybe this one is one of the greats… almost anyway. Del Toro began exploring themes here that he more fully developed in El Laberinto del Fauno, so you have the evil of war, war seen through children’s eyes, and magic realism all over the place.

El Orfanato (2007)
Here del Toro doesn’t direct, but merely produces. Basically, you have a completely traditional ghost story, once again with kid ghosts. *shivers as he types* Plotline? Basically a former orphan moves into the abandoned orphanage where she grew up with her son whom she doesn’t really supervise nearly enough. His collection of “imaginary friend” suddenly grows and then he disappears. If you liked “The Others” (2001) you will like this one. Warning: Like the Others, the ending is a depressing let down. No wait, more than the others, the ending is a that’s-a-tragedy-so-great-I-don’t-think-I-can-go-on kind of ending. A true ghost story tragedy.

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