Some of the most creative, challenging and downright scary Spanish horror films have graced the scene of best movies to see. They come from the minds of Spanish writers and directors, whose works have indeed enjoyed a small renaissance in recent years. Mexican like Guillermo del Toro also created a filmmaking place in Spain and worked in productions of film horror cult Spanish.
Filmmakers like Juan Antonio Bayona and Pedro Almodóvar often mix pious iconography and sensuality in an effective fusion that is quintessentially Spanish, and relative neophytes like Jaume Balagueró and Guillem Morales focus on mental adventures in the labyrinths of the human mind that are similar to those of Alfred Hitchcock (but much more enthusiastic). Rated by IMDB, these movies offer an exhilarating journey into the abundant custom of scary Spanish.
Cronos is a Spanish horror film that tells the story of an antique dealer called Jesus who comes across an ancient mechanical beetle which, when it connects to him, offers him the fountain of youth. His youthful vigor ends up being the focus of an old man fascinated by the tricks of Spanish alchemy, whose grandson will stop at nothing to find the scarab and give it to him, yet Jesus won’t give up immortality so quickly.
The very first film of Guillermo del Toro is completely in Spanish, fans of the director must understand that he is imbued with the mysticism and the macabre that would later become the hallmark of his filmography.
The Dead Mother (1993)
In this 1993 Spanish horror film, a botched robbery results in the murder of a woman while her daughter survives. Twenty years later, the criminal, with another name and now working in a bar, sees the girl again. His blank stare sends cold shivers down the killer’s spine. Do you recognize him? Will she report him? The distraught, desperate killer wants to cover his tracks and sort out some loose ends. He plots to complete the task he must have done several years ago. Will he have the ability to finally do it?
Day of the Beast (1995)
“El día de la bestia” is among the Spanish horror films with a mix of genres: terror, action and comedy. It is the story of a priest who analyzes the precise date of birth of the Antichrist. Wishing to stop the evil reign before it’s too late, the priest teams up with an occult specialist and black metal fanatic. When the Antichrist is born, their absurd plan is to commit as many sins as possible in order to enter the Devil’s inner circle and be close to him. That’s why in the opening scene you’ll see a priest strolling down the street, punching individuals, shoving helpless strangers, stealing from shops, and committing a host of other terrible sins.
The film was critically acclaimed for its dark atmosphere and sarcastic portrayal of religions. It was also very popular in Spain and won several awards, including the best screenplay award at the San Sebastián Film Festival.
“Thesis” is a 1996 Spanish film directed by Alejandro Amenábar. It is a thriller that explores the academic world and the consequences that can arise from a university research.
The protagonist, Angelika, is a young film student who is working on her thesis on representations of death in film. While researching her, she meets a student who is working on a similar topic, but with a focus on snuff movies, i.e. films that depict the actual death of people. As Angelika continues to delve into the dark world of snuff movies, she encounters many difficulties and people who try to stop her from continuing her research. She too begins to receive threats and fear for her life.
“Thesis” was very well received by critics and considered one of the best Spanish films of the 90s. It has won numerous awards, including four Goya awards, which are the most important Spanish film awards. The film is interesting because it offers an insight into the dangers of academia and how research can lead to unpredictable consequences. Also, the gripping storyline and psychological puzzles made ‘Thesis’ a film that stuck in the minds of many people. This film is the winner of 7 Goya 1996 awards, consisting of the awards for best film, best original screenplay and best director.
Los sin nombre (1999)
The body of a severely mutilated six-year-old girl is found in a deep tub. Then her mother suddenly receives a phone call where she hears a familiar voice: it’s her daughter! Or at least the voice claims to be. She claims she just wished everyone would think she was dead, and now she’s asking her mother to come get her. Thus begins a mother’s impressive battle to get her daughter back from the clutches of whatever is in her. “Los sin nombre” (The Anonymous) is the name of the cult that has actually operated behind the scenes of history to do the most horrendous acts of mankind.
The Others (2001)
Directed by the famous Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, The Others is a Spanish gothic horror film that integrates aspects of the supernatural cinema, mental and magical. It focuses on the unusual occasions that take place on the estate of a woman and her children, plagued by spirits after the end of World War II. It is the only English-language Spanish film that has triumphed at the Spanish national film awards, the Goyas. In total, the film has 7 Goya Awards, including Best Director.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
“The Devil’s Backbone” by Guillermo del Toro is a Spanish horror film set in 1939, when the Spanish Civil War is about to end. Young Carlos is sent to an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. What is strange is that he hears a voice saying, “Many of you will die.” Carlos soon discovers that the voice belongs to a boy, Santi, a ghost with a story to tell. If you’re wondering what “el espinazo del diablo” describes, it’s a drink made with the liquid used to protect dead fetuses. And in the film you can see a man of science consuming it.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In a fairy tale, Princess Moanna, whose father is the king of the underworld, controls the human world, where the sun blinds her and erases her memory. It ends up being mortal and finally dies. The king thinks his spirit will eventually return to the underworld, so he builds labyrinths all over the world in preparation for his return. In Francoist Spain in 1944, Ofelia, a ten-year-old girl, takes a trip with her pregnant mother Carmen to meet Captain Vidal, her new stepfather. Vidal, the son of a famous leader who disappeared in Morocco, holds a high regard for Falangism and has actually been tasked with pursuing the republican rebels.
Guillermo del Toro has effectively taken Narnia or Wonderland and made them equivalent parts bewitching and horrific, in which the animals encountered by the young heroine are both allies wishing to assist her, as well as villains with more menacing functions. Pan’s Labyrinth remains among the scary movies most outstanding ever made.
The Orphanage (2007)
Laura returns to the old orphanage where she grew up, together with her husband and adopted son Simon. It doesn’t take long before Simon starts talking about seeing Tomás, a boy his own age who uses an old sack as a mask. Simon claims to be speaking to Tomas, an orphan who has warned him that he will die. On the opening day of the orphanage, after a small argument, Simon hides and runs away from Laura. Where is Simon? Is he still alive?
Juan Antonio Bayona he is among the most famous Spanish directors and his work in The Orphanage shows why his films consistently impress at the Goya Awards. By mixing atmosphere and mental tension he makes a scary movie that is heartwarming, extremely suspenseful and jaw-dropping to watch.
REC’s found footage technique gives it instant visceral credibility. Director Jaume Balagueró keeps the film firmly focused on a reporter and her film crew chronicling the events of an apartment overrun by the undead, recording everything in a perverse way, with every grisly scene that unfolds becoming part of the filmed story.
The film has spawned a number of sequels, however the 2007 initial filmed in Barcelona, Spain has remained the best so far. More importantly, it doesn’t compromise story or character progression with jump scares, but rather weaves all the components together for a zombie movie much more efficient.
Julia’s Eyes (2010)
Created by writer-director Guillem Morales, this film horror of 2010 is so full of twists and turns, betrayals and discoveries that your head will continue to spin days after watching it. Julia’s blind twin sister Sara died apparently by suicide. Julia, who has a degenerative eye disease, thinks there is more to her twin sister’s death than meets the eye. She chooses to find who or what really killed her twin. Her aggravated condition does not help her cause and she is entrusted with bad eyesight and a sense that someone – a creepy existence lurking in the shadows – is trying to make her suffer the same fate as her sister.
Sleep Tight (2011)
Sleep Tight is a movie psychological horror Spanish of 2011 directed by Jaume Balagueró. César, doorman of an apartment, is unable to achieve happiness, no matter what happens to him, and has the goal of disturbing the occupants of the apartment building. When her partner Marcos visits, Clara shows César that pissing her off is harder than she bargained for and things turn into a twisted occasion. Sleep Tight was one of the most anticipated films to premiere at the 44th Sitges Film Festival. Sleep Tight twists audience expectations while frying their nerves, proving to be an extreme and interesting thriller that relies more on a frustrating sense of dread and anticipation than shock.
The Hidden Face (2011)
Adrián (Quim Gutierrez), a young conductor, is seeing a recorded video of his beloved Belén (Clara Lago) who informs him that she left him. While consuming his grief in a bar, he meets Fabiana (Martina Garcia) and they begin a relationship. Fabiana moves into the house that Adrián was showing to Belén. Strange things start happening in the bathroom, with Fabiana observing strange sounds coming from the sink and bathtub, and getting scalded by a shower. Adrián ends up being a suspect in Belén’s disappearance. Among the police detectives, a previous partner of Fabiana warns Adrián that if anything happens to Fabiana he will eliminate Adrián. The Hidden Face is exactly what audiences have come to expect and more, providing a myriad of story lines right through to the end of the film. Absolutely nothing is as it appears in this tense tale about the perils of jealousy and deceit.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
A cosmetic surgeon who lives in a beautiful rental property hides a dark makeup and a lovely woman in it psychological horror movie Goya prize winner. The Skin I Live In begins with a doctor who attempts to establish a method of preserving burn victims after his wife dies in a terrible fire, choosing an unwitting girl as a guinea pig for a new artificial skin, and eventually the story escalates in an odyssey that develops something abominable.
Much more than the story of a mad researcher and his beast, the film of the famous director Pedro Almodovar it goes beyond clichés and chronicles loss, pain and the meaning of life through its trademark sexual ambiguity. A film composed of melodrama, morality, secrets and murders.
Here Comes The Devil (2013)
A couple lose their precious teenage son in the hills and caves of Tijuana, Mexico. Luckily, the babies are discovered alive and well the next day. But are they really? They begin to display extremely unusual, sinister and anti-social habits upon their return. This makes the couple think that something deeply disturbing must have happened the night they left, and they think some demon might be triggering these troubling habits. Searching for answers, they hear stories of the dark legends of the place and of the caves where the children got lost. Mom finds a cave, where she discovers some answers.
The House of the End of Time (2013)
Imagine you are under house arrest inside a haunted house. Imagine living out your days in the house where your husband was killed and your child went missing, and you’re the one who was found guilty of these crimes. This movie takes place in 2 timelines: one in 1981 and another in 2011. When the clock strikes 11:11:11 on November 11, 2011, the house is moved back thirty years to 1981. Dulce , the main character, sees things that make her understand all the catastrophes, fears and strange situations of thirty years ago. This film, which was released worldwide, was well received by audiences and is among the highest-grossing Spanish-language horror films.