Nightstream Film Festival Review: ‘The Morbido Crypt’s Guide To Mexican Fantasy And Horror Cinema’

by Rachel Bellwoar

Hosted by Abraham Castillo Flores and brought to Nightstream by the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, this isn’t the first time Flores has given this lecture, and hopefully it won’t be the last. Anyone with an interest in Mexican fantasy and horror cinema is going to want to see this presentation.

Starting with 1899’s Don Juan Tenorio, Flores jumps to the 1930’s to give an overview of Mexican fantasy and horror films by decade. While Guillermo del Toro’s name comes up early, the chronological structure gives Flores a chance to draw attention to other directors and actors who have worked in genre fare over the years. From El Santo to La Llorona, the two hours go by quickly, and in a perfect world someone would give Flores a miniseries so he could expand on this talk and devote more time to each decade. He’d certainly have enough material for it.

Having it stream live on Zoom wasn’t without drawbacks, but they are similar to the kind an in-person presentation would’ve had. Maybe the video clips being choppy is Zoom-specific, but you really have to have a pencil and paper on-hand to write down the titles as Flores names them since you can’t rewind or pause a Zoom any more than you can pause a real person. It would be nice to just take in what he’s saying without trying to multitask, but then you miss out on all the great recommendations like Chabelo and Pepito vs. the Monsters and The Curse of the Weeping Woman. On the plus side: Flores is clearly keeping this presentation up-to-date, and at the end mentions a ton of projects in-development.

Falling in love with these movies is easy. Finding them afterwards is harder. A few were released by CasaNegra, but since that company went under their remaining stock has become rare and expensive. Carlos Enrique Taboada’s Even the Wind is Afraid was released by VCI Entertainment earlier this year. Hopefully, VCI will continue their Clásicos del Cine Mexicano imprint and more of Taboada’s films get to see the light of day. Even Los Espookys (which aired on HBO and is coming back for a second season) hasn’t received a home video release yet, and that show is excellent.

Here’s a trailer for Flores’ talk:

Nightstream ran from October 8th to October 11th. Click here for the full lineup.

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