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We look at the history of horror filmmaking in Latin America and recommend 25 films from Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay you can stream now.

Today is the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. It recognizes and celebrates the contributions Hispanic Americans — with roots tracing back to Spain, Mexico, Central America, and the South American and Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean — have made to American society and culture.

To celebrate, we’re taking a look at the history of horror cinema throughout Latin America, with a focus on filmmakers and films you may not yet be as familiar with. We’ve also compiled a list of great films from several countries you can stream right now. It is our sincere hope you will spend time over the next month broadening your horror horizons and seeking out more must see Latin American horror.

Argentine Horror

Argentina is one of the most prolific producers of Latin horror cinema. And they’ve managed to do one thing quite well, which sets them apart from other countries: they have appropriated the sub genres of horror called “gringos” — like slashers, zombie films, etc. — and have adapted them to the local culture. Argentine horror has suffered a great deal from strict censorship laws, as have other parts of the continent. However, when an opening presented itself, genre cinema simply exploded.

The primary drivers of this explosion, interestingly, were two high school students named Pablo Parés and Hernán Sáez. In 1997, they took a camera and made an amateur feature called Plaga Zombie (which you can watch right here on YouTube). This film was a huge success, and people realized they could film their ideas without big budgets. As a result, hundreds of horror filmmakers emerged. And that was how the great names of the genre appeared in the country, such as Adrián García Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil), Gonzalo Calzada (Luciferina) and Demián Rugna (Aterrados/Terrified).

FIVE FILMS FROM ARGENTINA TO STREAM NOW

  1. THE BAR (2017, NETFLIX) – Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, this horror comedy follows strangers who are holed up in a Madrid bar after witnessing a murder. They begin to turn on each other as panic sets in and the body count rises.
  2. TERRIFIED (2018, SHUDDER) – Police commissioner Funes and three researchers of supernatural phenomena investigate inexplicable events that are occurring in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. (FULL REVIEW)
  3. LUCIFERINA (2018, TUBI/SHUDDER) – Natalia is a nineteen-year-old novice who reluctantly returns home to say goodbye to her dying father. However, when she meets up with her sister and her friends, she decides instead to travel the jungle in search of mystical plant. (FULL REVIEW)
  4. FRANCESCA (2015, TUBI) – Someone is viciously murdering people, people with criminal pasts. It appears that the murders may be linked to the disappearance of a young girl 15 years previously.
  5. COLD SWEAT (2010, AMAZON) – A horror film from the Spanish born Adrián García Bogliano, Cold Sweat follows Román, who stumbles upon his ex-girlfriend Jackie, who has somehow gotten caught up in a torture cult run by two sadistic, old men. The aging political radicals have managed to put Jackie’s life in incredible danger. But when Román and his friend try to help Jackie out of her confines, the elderly psychos prove to be more than meets the eye.

Uruguayan Horror

The father of Uruguayan cinema is the filmmaker Ricardo Islas, who is now based in the USA. Ricardo was 16 when he directed his first medium-length film, called Posesión (1986), on a television channel in the city of Colonia del Sacramento. The following year, he would make his first feature film called Crowley. The film tells the story of a bloodthirsty vampire who returns from the grave to seek the reincarnation of his lost love. The tile character was played by Islas himself. It was extremely low budget and DIY, but it was unlike anything that ever been done in the country.

The success of this film even spawned a sequel in 1990, called Las Cenizas de Crowley. Islas made several other independent films in Uruguay before heading to the States, where he works as a TV producer and independent filmmaker. He definitely opened the door for other filmmakers, like Gustavo Hernandéz and Manuel Facal.

FIVE FILMS FROM URAGUAY TO STREAM NOW

  1. CROWLEY (1986, RENT ON AMAZON OR YOUTUBE) – In a small, coastal colonial town, a clawed vampire rises from the ground near an old cemetery and begins terrorizing the community.
  2. THE HEIRESSES (2018, HBO MAX) – After her girlfriend is imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality. Driving for the first time in years, she begins to provide a local taxi service to a group of elderly wealthy ladies. As Chela settles into her new life, she encounters the much younger Angy, forging a fresh and invigorating new connection.
  3. THE SILENT HOUSE (2010, RENT ON YOUTUBE) – A girl becomes trapped inside a house and becomes unable to contact the outside world as supernatural forces haunt it. The plot is based on a true story that occurred in the 1940s in a small village in Uruguay.
  4. A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS (2016, AMAZON) – When Sonia receives news that her husband’s cancer has progressed to a critical stage, she races to secure the insurance company’s approval for the care that can help him. Met with indifference and negligence at every turn, Sonia’s desperation triggers a primal survival instinct as a series of increasingly violent confrontations unfold.
  5. MONOS (2019, HULU) – On a faraway mountaintop, eight kids with guns watch over a hostage and a conscripted milk cow.

Chilean Horror

Chile started taking its first steps into the genre world back in 1946 with the production La Dama de la Muerte, directed by Argentine filmmaker Carlos Hugo Christensen. However, the first official pure