Tuesday, May 5, 2020

My Top Mexican Filmmakers

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I'm sharing with you guys my Top Mexican Filmmakers!

Let's celebrate with my top favorite Mexican filmmakers. On Sunday,  I released video of my top Mexican filmmakers that I had an opportunity to chat with. You can check out the video here!

Today, I'd like to continue praising more Mexican filmmakers. This list is in no particular order, and there may be some movie spoilers because I was super excited about this!

I'm also interested in knowing some of your favorite Mexican filmmakers. Feel free to comment. 

Issa López

For those of you who haven't checked out Issa's mystery horror Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017), I highly recommend that you do!

Her film is a dark fairy tale that follows a group of children trying to survive the grisly violence of the cartels--and the ghosts created on a daily by the drug war. It's a touching story that will take you on a journey of emotions. While it is charming and innocent, with scenes that may make you cry with joy, it's also disheartening and full of pure horror, making alarming scenes linger in your mind long after the film is over.

I know she's working on an untitled werewolf western, and I'm beyond excited to learn more about it! Guillermo del Toro is producing it.

Follow Issa on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Jorge Michel Grau

I first came across Jorge back in 2010 with his horror thriller We Are What We Are a.k.a. Somos Lo Que Hay. In this disturbing yet beautiful psychological horror, the patriarch of the family passes away, leaving behind his teenage children to take responsibility for the family duties, which include preparation of the rituals, hunting, and putting meat on the table. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, wrong. These responsibilities are far more baffling than what they seem. This is a family of cannibals living in urban Mexico. 

Although this film may not be everyone's cup of tea, I remember praising it for its 70s feel. It's honestly one of the most beautiful and intense horror films I've ever watched. Jorge wrote and directed this bold and innovative movie, which spawned an American remake released in 2013. Although Jorge didn't direct it, he served as a writer. Granted I enjoyed the remake, I don't believe it does the original justice.

I really hope to see another genre film from Jorge soon.

Follow Jorge on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Gigi Saul Guerrero

When I think about staples in the horror community, Gigi is one that comes to mind. I spoke about Gigi in my Top 4 Mexican Filmmakers video. Check it out here

Follow Gigi on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Rigoberto Castañeda

Rigoberto is the director for one of my favorite international Netflix shows, Diablero. I spoke about Rigoberto and his awesomeness in my Top 4 Mexican Filmmakers video. Check it out here

Follow Rigoberto on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Sandra Becerril

Never want to sleep again? Well, check out one of Sandra Becerril's stories. She's a director and writer who I spoke about in my Top 4 Mexican Filmmakers video. Check it out here!

Follow Sandra on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Guillermo del Toro

Isn't it clear why he's on this list? Guillermo is one of the most ingenious and idealistic artists of our generation. He shares with us his original style as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author. At age six, I watched his first feature film Cronos (1993), an original, stylish vampire film that has often been overlooked. This classic tale is mixed with family, addiction, gorgeous vintage props and awesome performances. It honestly is a unique take on vampire movies. I personally feel like it's perfect; but if you don't, then cool. We can't be friends. 

The film follows an antique dealer named Jesús Gris who lives with his wife Mercedes and granddaughter Aurora. One day, Jesús finds a mechanical scarab that latches itself onto his palm, causing him to bleed. Over time, he gets addicted to the scarab, all while someone else pursues it. The film is unpredictable, intelligent and genuinely creepy.

Follow Guillermo on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Emiliano Rocha Minter

I respect Emiliano, especially when it comes to his first feature We Are the Flesh. The film follows two siblings who are wandering in a ruined city for years, searching for food and shelter. Soon, the two find themselves inside one of the last remaining buildings, where they meet a man who will make them a dangerous offer in order to survive the outside world. Sounds like it'll be a dark adventure, right?

This film explores the dark and grim thoughts of humans. Honestly, because of that, it was hard to watch. It's not because of the blood and gore, although there's plenty of that. It's due to the incest and erotic-ness of the film.

This film gets some hate, but it may be do to it's uniqueness. I recommend if you ever have the opportunity to experience We Are the Flesh, do yourself a favor and watch it!

Check out Emiliano on Vimeo:

 René Cardona and René Cardona Jr.

This father and son duo definitely had a love for film! Not only was René Sr. suave AF, he was multi-talented! He was a director, producer, screenwriter, actor and film editor in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. He has a long list of film, but one of his most notable films is La Horripilante Bestia Humana a.k.a. The Horrible Man-Beast. It's a remake of his 1962 film Las Luchadoras Contra El Medico Asesino a.ka. Doctor of Doom, the first in a series of films blending elements of the lucha libre and horror genres.

René Jr. began by acting in his father's films before stepping into his father's position in the mid-1960s. He directed, wrote and produced over a hundred films in his lifetime. One of his most popular movies, Tintorera (1977), is a Jaws-inspired film and is considered a cult classic to many. I think it's incredible that he dabbled in various genres such as horror, science fiction, drama and disaster movies.

René Jr.'s two sons, René Cardona III and Christian Cardona, both followed in their grandfather and father's footsteps. René is a filmmaker and actor, while Christian is a visual effects artist. 

Watch some of their movies:

Rubén Galindo Jr.

I recently heard about Rubén, which is insane! @treatshair on twitter told me that Cemetery of Terror (1985) is a Ruben film I desperately need to watch.

I actually remember seeing one of his films, Don't Panic (1988) many years ago. It's about a seventeen-year-old boy named Michael, who unwittingly unlocks evil entities from a ouija board on his birthday. I wish I could find it streaming, I'd totally rewatch it. I did see it available on DVD on Amazon. It ONLY costs $137.99. Cool. Additionally, he's the executive producer for the popular drama series in Mexico, Sin Miedo a la Verdad. I'm a sucker for a dramas!

I do have some catching up to do with his movies and dramas. I'm beyond excited for that!

Follow Rubén on social media:

Emilio Portes

Director and editor Emilio is truly a fan of comedy. I noticed the majority of the projects he's worked on are comedies, which is far from a bad thing. However, I really enjoyed his horror Belzebuth (2017). Belzebuth is a Shudder original. The basic synopsis reads: An agent investigates a series of homicides on the border between Mexico and the United States. The only way these gruesome acts can stop is for the agent to start by facing his very own demons.

Belzebuth is seriously anything but ordinary. The first fifteen minutes crosses lines that majority of horror films would not dare. I won't spoil it for you, but just know Belzebuth demands your attention. Throughout the film, there are intensely graphic mass killings that are definitely not for the faint of heart.

Emilio truly takes his viewers down an entirely different direction than typical demon horror movies. And the visuals--will blow your mind.

Please come back to the horror genre, Emilio! You gave us the gem, Belzebuth and then left us!

Follow Emilio on social media:
Twitter   |   Facebook

Isaac Ezban

Isaac is a director, writer and producer. He's best known for his films The Incident (2014), The Similars a.k.a. Los Parecidos (2015), and Parallel (2018). He's also the co-founder of the production company Red Elephant Films and Autocinema Coyote. Autocinema Coyote is the only drive-in theater in Mexico. He's so cool, isn't he? I know. Isaac is a year older than me. You guys think he would hang out with me?

Isaac’s first feature sci-fi film, The Incident, was a huge hit at many festivals. It even received high praise from director, writer, producer, and all around incredible person, Joe Dante! I watched his sci-fi film The Similars a couple of years ago on Netflix (I believe). It follows eight people who experience a strange phenomenon while waiting at a remote bus station on a rainy October night.

There's so much to like when it comes to The Similars, such as how it's a retro film of the 1950s. (Think older sci-fi movies that involve the lost of identities.) Then there's the score, which flourishes with theatrical violins. Although I wouldn't say it's scary, it's very much unsettling, which is still a good time for me!

Follow Isaac on social media:
Twitter   |   Instagram

Fernando Méndez

Unfortunately, I don't know too much about Fernando personally, other than him being a director, writer and producer. I do know of his films El Vampiro (1957), The Living Coffin (1959), The Body Snatcher (1957), The Vampire's Coffin (1958) and Black Pit of Dr. M (1959). He has a great range of horror films, which inclued vampires, sci-fi and fantasy.

Carlos Enrique Taboada

I wish I had the opportunity to have met screenwriter and director, Carlos Enrique Taboada! He is best known for supernatural horror and suspense films. One of my favorite films of his is Veneno Para Las Hadas a.k.a. Poison for the Fairies (1984). I first watched this supernatural horror a couple of years ago, and I wasn't too sure if I liked it. Then, I realized how much it remained in my mind. Ever since then, I've been trying to find the right words to describe why I adore it so much! Because of this film, I took a trip back in time to check out Carlos's previous films. He has become one of my favorite film directors and screenwriters.

Majority of his films were low budget but incredibly effective. He was truly the master of atmosphere and suspense, with his work still inspiring filmmakers today.

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