While the Aztecs created one of the world’s great empires filled with grandiose cities, they also had a slightly unsettling fixation with blood. To be fair, in their pre-Columbian religious worldview, blood sacrifice was necessary for the continued survival of the world, so who could really hold it against them? But now, thanks to Christian morality, we get to look at these traditions as gruesome, barbaric, and – why not? – fit for a horror anthology film featuring eight established and up-and-coming Mexican directors.
Entitled México Bárbaro, the film’s producers invited the eight chosen directors to delve into the colorful traditions and legends of Mexican folklore for a deeply local take on the otherwise universal horror genre. The results range from bloody narco rituals to small town ghost stories, Día de Muertos, and even a Mexicanized remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set on Xochimilco’s creepy Isla de las Muñecas. Included among the directors are veterans like Jorge Michel Grau (Somos lo que hay) and promising new voices like Edgar Nito, whose numerous shorts have been featured at the Guanajuato Film Festival.
Naturally, with so much variety, it’s hard to guarantee top-to-bottom quality on a film like this, but the project should definitely help put Mexico on the map in the world of international cinematic horror. The newly released red-band trailer certainly oozes style, as well as a number of bodily fluids, and more importantly it showcases some of the anthology’s most terrifyingly convincing moments. In a country where themes like death and blood are such a casual part of the cultural landscape, Mexico’s steadily growing film industry should definitely have a bright future in the genre.