I originally bought this DVD boxed set of 6 Spanish films for the movie The Xmas Tale, which I blog about here. Now, having watched the remaining 5 films, I can say this is pretty much like an anthology show of damn good tales in which the episodes run 20 – 40 minutes longer than necessary. Each movie here is only between an hour and fifteen and an hour and twenty minutes long. Here’s the breakdown.
A REAL FRIEND
This is a treasure for lifelong horror fans. A young girl is obsessed with horror movies. She watches a Texas Chainsaw Massacre knockoff daily, tunes into the news nightly for the gruesome reports, and has Leatherface as an imaginary friend. She also regularly asks her mother about her dead father, but mom is really vague when answering her.
The little girl ends up befriending a mysterious bald man in black who goes by the name “Vampire” and is dangerously protective of her. When she invites him over for dinner, his true darkness comes out and then things take a real classic horror movie turn.
Be warned—this one has an open-ending that seems to leave many viewers pissed.
This is like the perfect Tales from the Crypt episode (that runs way too long). A nurse and her young daughter move in to the home in which her new employer runs her business. Almost immediately, there are hints that another woman used to live there and suddenly left. Also, the doctor woman starts to go all lesbian on the nurse. Hard.
Throw in a major plot concerning abortions, and this is one seriously bizarre women’s studies horror film. It’s also effectively creepy when it finally gets to the part about an aborted fetus that goes missing. But alas, that concept gets kind of cheated within the running time of the film. Yes, I’m saying I wish that more time had been dedicated to the horror than the lecherous lesbian. Shocking, I know.
Again, this perfect “Tales from the Crypt” style story needs a lot less time to get its point across. An elderly man remembers his past as a teen, when he lived in a small village and became obsessed with a beautiful woman everyone believed was a witch.
Juan José Ballesta, the actor playing the young teen, is absolutely stunning looking, and his erotic relationship with the sexy witch woman is scandalous, but it becomes repetitive after a while. There are also scenes interspersed of the old man version of the main character visiting the town looking for the witch woman, who is supposedly still young and beautiful. However, the big twist comes when the old man finally finds her and sees her for what she really is. Not so much a scary story as it is a Twilight Zone-esque tale.
THE BABY’S ROOM
Just that title scares me. Álex de la Iglesia, the director of Witching and Bitching—one of my all-time favorites (blog here)—offers a creepy tale that is also ripe for an episode of The Twilight Zone.
A young couple moves into a new home, and on the very first night, the wife believes she hears someone talking on the baby monitor. The husband, in an effort to calm her fears, gets a video monitor. Suddenly, he sees a man standing over the baby’s crib and he’s the one convinced that someone is coming into their house at night…and the wife thinks he’s crazy. WTF?
While this tale is definitely spooky, it’s also a rather predictable supernatural story you’ve seen before, but it’s definitely worth it for the cheap thrills.
I’ve totally saved the best for last in terms of a film that works as a full-length movie rather than an elongated short. Damn, To Let is fucking intense!
Looking to move, a couple decides to check out a new apartment. Adrià Collado, who plays the boyfriend, is a piece of heaven, by the way. Even covered in blood….
Anyway, they drive to a seedy part of town and meet the real estate agent. They pretty much know they don’t want to live in this area, but she insists it’s up and coming. So they take a tour. I would have already been out of there, but these buffoons step over the mannequin parts littering the stairwell and keep going!
Turns out the real estate agent is attempting to fill the apartments even if it means forcing people to stay there! She is amazing in the role, and the film is a nonstop ride of tension and terror. I won’t say anything more about it, but I highly recommend you seek this one out.