Besides your chambelanes dropping you on the dance floor after lifting you six feet in the air, what could go wrong at a quinceañera?
Director Gigi Saul Guerrero and writer Shane McKenzie have a few ideas. In their new seven-episode grindhouse web series La Quinceañera, they put their main character, Alejandra Santos (Mia Xitlali), in an unthinkable scenario when her 15th birthday party is crashed by a gang of gun-wielding drug dealers who shoot up the celebration leaving a trail of carnage behind.
We knew right away that things were going to go bad when the tilde in the title card is stylized as a blood splatter. The influence of San Antonio-born director Robert Rodriguez‘s films is confirmed in an interview where Guerrero described the show’s aesthetic as having a “Tex-Mex vibe.” Below are some of the awesomely grotesque scenes in La Quinceañera that gorehounds will appreciate.
Stage 13‘s La Quinceañera can be seen by downloading the Studio+ app.
Drug dealer and main villain Chavo (Mathias Retamal) doesn’t even bring a gift to the quinceañera when he and his murdering thug friends knock on the front door of the family’s home and are invited in by another guest. Chavo, who is upset because he thinks Alejandra’s father, Reynaldo (Mauricio Mendoza) stole something from him, makes his intentions clear by putting a bullet between the guest’s eyes from point blank range and joining the festivities in the backyard.
Upper Lip Face Lift
La Quinceañera tries to do its best imitation of the work of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Remember when Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) cuts off a cop’s ear in Tarantino’s 1992 classic Reservoir Dogs? In La Quinceañera, Chavo orders his fellow killer Nacho (Mauricio Moreno) to take a piece of flesh from one of the partygoers with a machete. We’ll let you figure out what part of the face he slashes (they call the procedure the “Bloody Sanchez”), but chances are it’s going to be hard for him to eat Alejandra’s birthday cake.
The Santos family kicks the hornet’s nest when Alejandra’s brother Santiago (Gustavo Gomez) and their crazed cousin Guillermo (Victor Ayala) break into a storage unit where Chavo hoards drugs, money, guns and victims. It’s not as gruesome as the dead bodies wrapped in plastic behind the walls in Sicario, but you probably shouldn’t take anything from that unit knowing it belongs to a violent drug lord, unless, of course, you want a Ziplock baggie over your head, too.
We’re surprised McKenzie didn’t write a scene where the drug dealers asphyxiate a member of the Santos family with a holy pendant, but when it comes to traditional quinceañera gifts, he does offer Alejandra a scepter as a weapon to use against her assailants. With the way Alejandra uses it (to bash in the head of one of the killers), it might as well have been a sledgehammer. Someone take that tiara away from her! It has sharp edges!
Abuela in Arms
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t be afraid of a Latina grandmother carrying a chancla, at least in La Quinceañera. Instead, Alejandra’s grandmother (Gabriela Reynosa) chalks up the most kills in this web series, not with a huarache, but with a whole lot of firearms. In one scene she shoots a bad guy in the groin with a shotgun. In another, she stabs one in the head with an indistinguishable sharp object. As gory as that gets, we would’ve chosen a molcajete to bludgeon someone to death.