Tag Archives: Spanish horror

Suitable for the Faint of Heart


 by Christie Robb

My husband is a wimp this time of year.  Horror movie images lodge in his brain and after watching the one he deigns to view per season, lights are left burning around the house at bedtime, sometimes for weeks. But he could totally take watching Asmodexia.

Screening at the Gateway for their Nightmares on High series on October 17th, this Spanish-language, English-subtitled move tells the tale of 15 year-old- Alba (Clàudia Pons) and her pastor grandpa, Eloy (Lluís Marco). They travel the Barcelona environs as partners in exorcism, counting down to Resurrection Day—which happens to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar (remember that?).

Along the way, they make pit stops to kick a few squatting souls out of little girls, car-crash victims, and rat-eating dead ladies. You know, anything to kill some time.

As the days count down, the duo are tailed by a cop and shadowed by a hooded figure driving a black van. The story is intercut with events at a Barcelona mental asylum where the inmates and staff are catching possession like it’s ebola.

Everyone in the movie seems to be connected with Alba and Eloy and throughout the film the audience is presented with snippets from the past. Kinda Lost meets the Exorcist.

It’s slow burn of a movie, more eerily atmospheric than truly scary with great cinematography, fantastic makeup, and a creepy score.

Like Lost, the ending will probably be a bit meh for some. But you can safely view it with the squeamish. There are only a few scenes where they will have to avert their eyes.



One Scary Movie a Day in October! Day 28: The Last Circus

The Last Circus (Balada triste de trompeta) (2010)

Who’s in the mood for something weird?

Unhinged Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia (Perdita Durango) returns to form with The Last Circus, a breathtakingly bizarre look at a Big Top love triangle set in Franco’s Spain.

Describing the story in much detail would risk giving away too many of the astonishing images. A boy loses his performer father to conscription in Spain’s civil war, and decades later, with Franco’s reign’s end in sight, he follows in pop’s clown-sized footsteps and joins the circus. There he falls for another clown’s woman, and stuff gets nutty.

Iglesia’s direction slides from sublime, black and white surrealist history to something else entirely. Acts 2 and 3 evolve into something gloriously grotesque – a sideshow that mixes political metaphor with carnival nightmare.

Like Tarantino, Igelsia pulls together ideas and images from across cinema and blends them into something uniquely his own, crafting a film that’s somewhat familiar, but never, ever predictable.

The Last Circus boasts more than brilliantly wrong-minded direction and stunningly macabre imagery – though of these things it certainly boasts. Within that bloody and perverse chaos are some of the more touching performances to be found onscreen.

Carlos Areces and Antonio de la Torre soar as the clowns at odds over the love of an acrobat (Carolina Bang, in another of the film’s wonderfully fresh performances). Areces’s tortured Sad Clown versus Torre’s sadistic Happy Clown – it’s a battle to the death in one of the more entertainingly garish political allegories in Spanish cinema.