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12 of the best Spanish horror films to terrify you this Halloween

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at the best Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

best spanish horror films
Pan's Labyrinth, set in Spain but directed by Mexican Guillermo del Toro, is one of the most internationally aclaimed Spanish films of all time.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno)

best spanish horror films

All at once enchanting, disturbing and hauntingly beautiful, this dark fantasy film by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro takes place during an equally dark time: Francoist Spain in 1944. A young girl escapes from her grim reality by following a mythical faun. 

2. [REC] 

best spanish horror films
 
If this Spanish film seems a bit familiar, that’s because it’s the eerie inspiration of the US film Quarantine. Using the “shaky camera” technique beloved by films like The Blair Witch Project, this movie tells the tale of a TV reporter and cameraman as they follow emergency workers to record a terrifying night of news footage. There has since been Rec 2, 3 and 4, none of which were as widely acclaimed.
 
3. Julia’s Eyes (Los ojos de Julia)
 
best spanish horror films
 
Another work by Del Toro, this film is about a woman who starts to lose her vision while trying to get to the bottom of the suspicious suicide of her twin sister.
 
4. The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo)
 
best spanish horror films
 
This Del Toro film is supposed to be the “spiritual” predecessor of Pan’s Labyrinth. During the Spanish Civil War, a boy discovers that the orphanage where he lives is haunted by something ominous. 
 
5. The Others (Los Otros)
 
best spanish horror films
 
This Spanish-American film by Alejandro Amenábar is a ghost story unlike any other. After the end of the Second World War, a mother, played by Nicole Kidman, and her children start to witness ghostly encounters in their family home.
 
6. The Day of the Beast (El Dia de la Bestia)
 
best spanish horror films
 
More on the lighter side of things, this dark comedy follows a Catholic priest determined to commit as many sins as possible so that he may sell his soul and then kill the Antichrist as soon as it is born.
 
7. Thesis (Tesis)
 
best spanish horror films
 
Another Amenába film, Thesis depicts a young woman writing a thesis about violence. When she finds a video of a girl being tortured to death, she discovers the tape’s origin is much closer to her than she thinks.
 
8. The Orphanage (El Orfanato)
 
best spanish horror films
 
This movie by first-time Spanish director J.A Bayona, also set in an orphanage, takes haunted house films to another, disturbing level. A woman buys the old orphanage where she spent her childhood. But when her adopted son goes missing, she finds that the home has dark secrets around every corner.
 
 
9. Sleep Tight (Mientras duermes)
 
best spanish horror films
 
This 2011 psychological thriller directed by Jaume Balagueró will have you hiding behind the sofa. Apartment concierge Cesar (Luis Tosar) believes he was born without the ability to be happy. As a result, he decides his mission is to make life hell for everyone around him and goes to creepy extremes to bring down Clara (Marta Etura), a tenant in the building.  

10: Tombs of the blind dead (La noche del terror ciego) 

best spanish horror films

Tombs of the Blind Dead, 1971, written and directed by Amando de Ossorio is the first in the iconic Blind Dead series. Its success helped kickstart the Spanish horror film boom of the early Seventies.
 
11. Darkness
 
best spanish horror films
 
Another creepy classic from Jaume Balagueró, this 2002 horror about a family moving into a haunted house will have you hiding behind the sofa. Just don’t watch it when you are home alone.
 
12. The skin I live In
 
best spanish horror films
 
What list about Spanish films would be complete without something from Pedro Almodovar? A rare foray in the horror genre, this 2011 film starring Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon experimenting on a young woman in a bid to develop artificial skin will make your flesh crawl.
 
 

FILMS

Berlinale to host outdoor festival for film fans in June

Organisers of the Berlin film festival said Monday that pandemic conditions in the German capital had improved enough for them to hold a planned outdoor edition in June.

Berlinale to host outdoor festival for film fans in June
An empty area outside the Berlinale Palast in March 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

The coronavirus outbreak forced the Berlinale, one of Europe’s top cinema showcases, to push back its usual February event and split it into two parts.

It held an all-online edition for critics and industry buyers in March and will now press on with an exclusively outdoor festival for the general public June 9th-20th.

“The Berlinale is pleased to be able to give audiences the enjoyment of an open-air cinema experience at 16 venues in total at the Summer Special,” it said in a statement.

It said Berlin’s falling infection rate “as well as positive signals by government offices” had led to the decision.

“Audiences will be getting a very special, collective festival experience – something we’ve all been missing for such a long time,” organisers said.

The June edition “is geared towards re-igniting the desire to go to the cinema, and to contributing to the revival of cultural activities with an audience”.

READ ALSO: Germany holds virtual Berlinale film fest

The programme will be made up primarily of movies shown online at the March edition, including the winners of its Golden and Silver Bear prizes, which will be awarded at a gala ceremony on June 13th.

Existing open-air cinemas throughout the city as well as a specially created site on Berlin’s historic Museum Island will serve as venues and comply with pandemic hygiene rules.

Ticket sales will begin on May 27th.

The global coronavirus outbreak has dealt a body blow to the cinema industry and created major complications for film distribution and production for over a year.

Cannes, the world’s top film festival, usually held in May, has been postponed to July 6-17 this year due to the pandemic and was cancelled outright last year.

The Berlinale, now in its 71st year, awarded its Golden Bear top prize in March to the biting social satire “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” by Romania’s Radu Jude.

The city of Berlin on Monday reported a seven-day coronavirus incidence just over the 100-mark, meaning cinemas, restaurants and other facilities remain closed.

However, officials are hopeful that an accelerating vaccination campaign and tightened lockdown measures will bring infections down soon, allowing for an at least partial reopening.

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