‘Even The Wind Is Afraid’ Of Ghosts In Taboada’s Spanish Horror Movie
by Rachel Bellwoar
A hanged girl (Pamela Susan Hall) and a forbidden tower. This is how Carlos Enrique Taboada’s Even the Wind is Afraid (Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo) begins. Released in 1968, this Spanish horror film centers on a group of girls at a boarding school forced to spend vacation in class as punishment. If Claudia (Alicia Bonet) had been resting like the doctor (Enrique García Álvarez) prescribed, she wouldn’t have found the door to the tower unlocked or told her friends about it. As a result, Claudia learns that the staircase inside the tower looks exactly like the one she dreamed about in a nightmare her headmistress, Miss. Bernard (Marga López), did not take seriously. Does that mean the girl she found dead in the attic was real too, and is haunting the school as a ghost?
Over the next few nights Claudia hears a voice calling her name, while the wind from the title blows open doors and windows. Shadows are another common sight at the school. Instead of finding it necessary to show the body of the girl who committed suicide, Taboada has her shadow appear on the wall while her feet dangle at the top of the frame.
Taboada’s approach to horror overall in this movie is much less about blood and violence than creating a sense of danger. It’s the kind of danger, too, that sounds exaggerated, like the wind being alive (or the girls’ bright, red uniforms) – terrifying when experienced but doubtful when said aloud.
Stylistically, Even the Wind Is Afraid is quite different from Black Christmas (1974). Even the Wind Is Afraid isn’t as lethal, for example, though how much less so you’ll have to watch the film to find out. The best horror films know how to keep their viewers uneasy, and you never get the sense that anybody’s safe.
Where Black Christmas and Even the Wind Is Afraid are alike is in how attached you grow to the different characters. While Claudia and the sexually frustrated Kitty (Norma Lazareno) have slightly bigger parts, it’s not one of those films where two or three of the girls have personalities and the others are all interchangeable. So often, too, films set at schools forget about the characters being students. Even the Wind is Afraid shows them working on assignments and taking their work seriously. When Claudia has to miss class, thought is actually taken into how she will make-up the notes that she missed, and it becomes another way of showing the girls’ camaraderie. Claudia never has to ask for help. It’s always freely offered.
VCI Entertainment’s Blu-Ray release of the film has some flaws. While the sound is always audible the volume sometimes changes. Not subtitling the trailers feels like a missed opportunity. After enjoying Even the Wind is Afraid so much I’d have been keen to find out more about the other films they’re releasing (and it’s hard to find subtitled trailers online), and the worst part is that at one point in the movie a few lines aren’t subtitled. It’s not enough to lose the plot, but they’re still lines that aren’t translated.
While usually that would make me angrier, in the end I’m just grateful that VCI made this film available in English (from the looks of it the film’s been released before but at this point VCI’s is the most affordable option). The cast is terrific. The plot is full of surprises, and it’s available on Blu-Ray and DVD starting February 25th from VCI Entertainment.