In The Last of the Chupacabras, a new short, live-action film under the Disney Launchpad umbrella, an elderly, Mexican-American tamale vendor named Chepa, considered the last of her people who still celebrates the Mexican culture, befriends the legendary creature known as the chupacabra.
Disney Launchpad is a platform for diverse writers and directors to create short films for Disney+. The Last of the Chupacabras is written and directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros. She was one of six filmmakers selected out of 1,100 applicants for the program, which included a mentorship with Walt Disney Studios.
Siqueiros identifies as a “Chicana writer and director of mixed Indigenous Sonoran and European ancestry” who is looking to tell authentic stories about the Southwest Mexican American community through film.
“My goal is to challenge the perceptions of what we are allowed to be, who our audiences are, how we are represented, and what we look like,” Siqueiros told Remezcla in 2019.
The Last of the Chupacabras is a charming and sincere story about embracing culture wholeheartedly. As Chepa, actress Melba Martinez is a gem. When her paper mache chupacabra magically comes to life, she nurses it back to health with a gob of Vicks VapoRub, the accepted cure-all for all ailments.
She also invites the chupacabra in for a plate of her delicious tamales (it devours them, much to her delight) and teaches the creature how to dance to traditional Mexican music (a catchy song called “El Son del Chupa y La Chepa” written by Renee Goust).
“My mother always said, ‘We survive through our joy,’” Chepa tells the chupacabra as she pets it like a house cat in her lap. With The Last of the Chupacabras, Siqueiros has given audiences her own small dose of happiness.
The Last of the Chupacabras is currently streaming on Disney+.