Friday, January 18, 2013

Spanish horror! Instituto Cervantes screens eight scary films that span half a century....

Instituto Cervantes (IC), New York's hot spot for Spanish culture, has just begun quite a nifty (and unusual for IC) series of horror movies from Spain that range in time-frame from the 1960s through the current decade. The series -- Spanish Horror Films -- has been curated by José Luis Rebordinos, founder of the Horror Film Festival in San Sebastian and editor of Nosferatu magazine.

Señor Rebordinos has selected eight of his preferred horror films to delight IC patrons over the next eight weeks. (Unfortunately, news of this series reached TrustMovies only today, and the first film in the bunch -- the very frightening Thesis, staring one of Spain's sexiest imports, Eduardo Noriega -- was already shown this past Wednesday evening. The other seven films, however, remain on the horizon.)

Notes Rebordinos, “I had two possibilities: selecting eight unknown thrillers that I really liked or choosing eight films that represent the different ways the Spanish horror genre has been recognized with-in last two decades. I opted for the latter. For some Spanish horror film lovers, these will be well-known. For many others who are not familiar with this film genre, the films will prove a surprise treat”.

I can second Rebordinos' opinion, having seen five of the eight films being shown -- and as the other three come with plentiful bona fides, I shall make it a point to be there to view them. Here's the schedule, below, for the remaining films: Click on each title link to learn more and/or see further details about that film. For the address of IC click here and scroll way down. (Yes, this storied organization has perhaps the worst web site in the world: Shame!)

Oh, and one final thing:  As I understand it, these films will be shown free of charge, which makes this a very good deal indeed....

Who Can Kill a Child?
Wednesday, January 23, at 6pm
This nasty little masterpiece of horror from Narciso Ibañez Serrador in 1976 is considered a classic of the genre. It holds up remarkably well, and though its theme of kids-gone-bad has been done many times since, and may have come close to being done as well, it has still never been bettered.

Wednesday, January 30,
at 6pm
I had not even heard of this film until now -- which, so far as I can tell, was never released here in the USA -- but since its director Bigas Luna is a filmmaker whose work I generally enjoy, I very much want to check it out. Made in 1978, at the beginning of the post-Franco era of freedom for film (and everything else -- except the wealthy and fascist-minded), this should be unusual, and unusually sexual, too, I suspect. (A still from this film is shown, third from top.)

The Day of the Beast 
shown Wednesday, February 6, at 6pm
This early film from Alex de la Iglesia is not available in the USA on DVD, so far as I know -- which makes my visit to IC a must. Since this one, the talented filmmaker has made a number of other fine films, so I would think that catching up with his early work is a must for completists. It certainly will be for me. (A still from this film is shown, fourth from top.)

The Nameless
Wednesday, February 13, at 6pm
Still one of my favorite Spanish horror films of all time, this is also one of the darkest and most transgressive -- particularly for a country whose roots are buried deep in Catholicism. Beautifully woven and surprisingly subtle, the film upends so many of our notions of the appropriate that it remains in a class by itself -- while still conforming to the guidelines of its genre. This is a masterpiece, of sorts. (A still from it is shown at top of post.)

The Orphanage
Wednesday, February 20,
at 6pm
I was not as big a fan of this film as were many. It's lovely to look at and well-done -- up to a point. But although a big box-office success in Spain and elsewhere, the movie seems to me to be trying too hard to move us, rather than scare us. I love it when a film manages both -- but not when you are quite so aware of the wheels grinding. Still, Belén Rueda, in the lead role, is always a pleasure to watch. (A still from this film is shown, second from top.)

Wednesday, February 27, at 6pm
This is the film that we have to thank for the current zombies-run-rampant-via-hand-held-video (that includes 3 RECs, two American spin-offs, and countless other would-be horror films). Some critics think REC reanimated the zombie genre. It may have helped but it was not until [REC] 3 to that this series really took off. The original proved some fun at the time, but does not hold up as well as it might, given what we've now seen come down the pike.

The Awful Dr. Orloff
Wednesday, March 6, at 6pm
Directed by Jesús Franco in 1962, this is considered to be the first Spanish horror movie. I've never seen it -- though it sounds a lot like Franju's Eyes Without a Face, made the year previous. Movie-makers, god knows, have never been above ripping each other off. In any case, I'll be visiting IC at this screening, for sure.

The photos above are from posters of, 
or stills from, the films themselves; 
the photo at top--from The Nameless--
comes courtesy of

No comments: