El Estudio, Morbido, Sula Unleash The Latin House of Horror (EXCLUSIVE) 

El Estudio and Morbido are launching The Latin House of Horror, a hugely ambitious feature film slate channelling the voices of a powerful new generation of genre directors – and indeed writers – emerging in Spain and, most especially, Latin America. 

The slate is designed to supercharge genre production in Latin America, in ambition, profile and exports, just as Filmax’s Fantastic Factory did a generation ago in Spain, El Estudio producer Enrique López Lavigne told Variety. 

Mexico’s Sula Films, headed by Mexican producer Alejandro Sugich (“Los Hermanos Salvador”), will also produce the series. Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment is handling world sales. 

Announced at Cannes, the House’s first slate of six movies features established talent such as Adrián García Bogliano (“Here Comes the Devil,” “La Exorcista”), a founding figure of modern Argentine scarefare, now based out of Mexico; and Isaac Ezban, who rapidly established a reputation for films wrapped in hauntingly surreal scenarios: Think “The Incident” and “The Similars.”

One slate highlight looks set to be Michelle Garza Cevera’s “That Summer in the Dark,” a follow-up to “Huesera,” her highly lauded feature debut – “a terrifying, bone-breaking body horror nightmare,” said Variety – which questioned received wisdom on motherhood, overturning commonplaces of genre cinema such as the concept of monstrosity.  

One film is already is post-production, and almost certainly bound for upcoming festivals: “A Fishermen’s Tale,” the awaited second feature of Edgar Nito, following on the acclaimed and prized “The Gasoline Thieves.”

Mexico’s Sofia Carrillo and Spain’s Marissa Crespo and Moisés Romera make acclaimed feature debuts in The Latin House of Horror. 

“Mórbido has been the reference Haunted Mansion for Latin and non-Latin filmmakers from around the world,” said López Lavigne. 

The Latin House of Horror is born “with the responsibility and commitment of pushing a new wave of creators with a fresh and wild perspective that connects with the imagery and narrative of the world they have lived in and portrayed from the freest standpoint: the genre. We are here to give them a voice,” he added.

“This slate, for me is the result or years of hard work supporting directors and helping grow Spanish-speaking genre films. There are unique voices and exciting stories to tell the world. With Enrique as producer and the alliance with El Estudio we are building The House for them all,” added Morbido Group’s Guisa.

The film series “is one of the most exciting and ambitious genre projects I can recall over the last decade. This is the start of a great journey that will bring us much joy and mark a before and after in genre cinema,” added Film Factory’s Canales.

Guisa, El Estudio and Canales pack long experience in genre. From 2007, Morbido Group has grown into one of Latin America’s biggest horror brands, launching Mexico’s Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, and building Morbido’s online presence to over five million followers, while plowing ever more into production. One Morbido co-production, Christian Ponce’s “A Mother’s Embrace,” revealed first look images in the run-up to Cannes. 

Lopez Lavigne has produced genre from 2001’s “Intacto” through Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s “28 Weeks Later,” which he co-wrote, to “Intruders,” with Clive Owen, Nacho Vigalondo’s “Extraterrestial” and “Open Window,” J.A. Bayona’s “The Impossible”  and “A Monster Calls,” and Paco Plaza’s “Veronica” and “The Grandmother.”

Canales was in at the first on the birth of modern auteur genre in Spain, presenting Filmax’s “The Nameless” at Mifed 1999, which saw him bombarded by buyer offers. He went on to sell the Fantastic Factory highlights and continues to handle genre at Film Factory Entertainment, such as Pedro Martín-Calero’s upcoming “The Wailing.”

Three years in the making, here is The Latin House of Horror lineup, loglines supplied by producers:  

“9 Steps,” (Marissa Crespo, Moisés Romera)

Sara, a lonely girl with nyctophobia, receives mysterious notes and candies from the abandoned apartment above, leading her to confront a witch and face her fears as she transitions from childhood to adulthood. 

Presented at Sitges’s FilMarket Hub, a feature inspired by the theme of the duo’s celebrated seven-minute short film of the same title which won over 150 awards, positioning them as genre filmmakers to track.

“Dead Man’s Secret,” (Sofía Carrillo)

Sergio, a morgue worker with the ability to communicate with the dead, uncovers a secret that triggers a curse, leading to paranormal disturbances and dire consequences for him and his loved ones. 

The awaited first feature from the Jalisco-based Carrillo, a stop-motion auteur of exquisite but unsettling visual style, and two times Ariel animated short winner.   

“A Fishermen’s Tale,” (Edgar Nito)

A terrifying fable that follows four stories on a fishermen island at Michoacán’s Pátzcuaro lake, where an evil lake spirit stalks them and leads them to their tragic fate. 

Produced with Pirotecnia Films, Nito’s follow-up to first feature “The Gasoline Thieves,” which earned its helmer the best new narrative filmmaker plaudit at the Tribeca Film Festival and large critical praise, Variety calling it an “attention-grabbing, ignition-ready debut.”

“Family,” (Adrián García Bogliano)

Ticking off each sub-genre of horror film after film with a high-energy output, Bogliano is a key driver in the growth of Latin America horror to festival and larger audience recognition. In “Family,” a teen girl makes a startling revelation that her parents were involved in witchcraft years ago, trading their souls for success and wealth. As the time comes to fulfil the debt owed, she must confront the consequences of the wish they made and the lodge that granted it.  

“Karmin,” (Isaac Ezban)

Moving from fantasy mind-binders to full-on horror in his latest movie, “Mal de Ojo,” Ezban is back with “Karmin,” a psychological thriller in which Toño, a thriving motivational speaker, hides a shy and insecure side behind his confident persona, finding solace and power in his ventriloquist doll, Karmin. But when their bond is tested, Karmin’s influence unveils a darker side of Toño, jeopardizing his relationships and unleashing hidden secrets. 

“That Summer in the Dark,” (Michelle Garza Cervera)

In a monotonous summer in Tlatelolco, two teenage friends, obsessed with American serial killers, have their perception of violence shattered when a neighbor’s brutal crime unveils the unsettling possibility that killers are closer than they ever imagined. 

A Tribeca New Narrative Director winner for “Huesera,” Garza Cervera here records the fascination of classic U.S. genre tropes, contrasting them with the far realer and closer horror of femicide rampant in Mexico. Co-produced by Vision, co-founded by Andres Budnik and Liam Scholey, a management and production company based out of Los Angeles with offices in Mexico City.

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