Writer Marcella Ochoa on the Inspiration Behind Horror Film About 1970s Migrant Farming Community

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
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The production company behind such horror movies as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Invisible Man announced four new horror films that it will release on Amazon Prime in 2021–and one of them is a Latinx narrative.

The film Madres is included on Blumhouse’s new slate, which was announced by Deadline late last week. Madres tells the story of a Mexican-American couple, expecting their first child, who relocate to a migrant farming community in 1970s California where strange things begin to happen to the pregnant mother.

Madres is directed by first-time filmmaker Ryan Zaragoza. The screenplay was written by Marcella Ochoa and Mario Miscione and stars Tenoch Huerta, Ariana Guerra, Evelyn Gonzalez, Kerry Cahill, and Elpidia Carrillo.

An avid fan of the horror genre, Ochoa said she always wanted to see “people who looked like me” in a high-profile horror movie that dealt with social justice issues. So, she wrote one herself.

“I wanted to explore a story that focused on the migrant farming community and some of the terrible things they experience that lends itself to a horror story,” Ochoa told Remezcla this past weekend. “This story is important to me as my grandparents worked in the fields picking crops in Texas. I wanted to show these three-dimensional migrant farmworker characters that are so often overlooked and stereotyped in film and TV.”

With an underrepresented Latino community in Hollywood, Ochoa wants the film industry to realize that Latinx stories are just as important to tell as any other stories out there. Hiring Latinos to play roles that have depth is one way to fight against the lack of diversity.

“I think there is a direct correlation of how we are often stereotypically portrayed and negatively perceived in this country,” Ochoa said. “The Latinx community has an incredibly rich culture. We have amazing stories to tell. We just need to be given the opportunity to be hired, so we can accurately and authentically tell our stories.”