Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SGA-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Satanic Hispanics being covered here wouldn’t exist.
I have a hard time with anthologies because if the wraparound is lacking, or there are too many weak entries, then it drags down the entire project. Satanic Hispanics is not one of those awful endeavors. It’s quite good, actually. The overarching story is expertly woven throughout the whole film and ties each chapter together. Featuring short films by Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers), Alejandro Brugués (Nightmare Cinema), Demián Rugna (Terrified), Gigi Saul Guerrero (Bingo Hell), and Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project), Satanic Hispanics should be on everyone’s watch list.
When police raid a house in El Paso, they find it full of dead Latinos, and only one survivor. Known as “The Traveler,” he is taken to the police station for questioning. There, he recounts tales of horrors from his life, chronicling portals leading to other worlds, mythical beings, demons and the undead; he speaks of legends from Latin America. Satanic Hispanics tells stories by top Latin filmmakers that showcase the skills of Hispanic talent, both on and off screen.
To celebrate Satanic Hispanics releasing in theaters, I chatted with director Eduardo Sánchez about how he came to be a part of the film, his segment El Vampiro, why he loves horror, and more!
PopHorror: I really enjoyed Satanic Hispanics, so I’m super excited to talk to you about it today.
Eduardo Sánchez: Cool, man. Cool. Thanks.
PopHorror: So how were you approached for the anthology, and what made you want to say yes?
Eduardo Sánchez: I’m good friends with Alejandro Brugués, who was one of the filmmakers and also the producer, and he introduced me to Mike Mendez years ago, so we were all friends. Alejandro approached me about they’re thinking of doing this Hispanic – or Latino-based anthology – and I always love anthologies, because even though they’re usually very low budget and you’re kind of scraping by, they do give you a certain amount of freedom usually, to do whatever you want. I’ve been doing TV for a long time, and I love doing TV, but I rarely get to do any comedy, so it was funny because when they told me, they were like, “Yeah, anthology,” I was like, “All right. You know, yeah, I think that sounds cool. Whatever,” you know? Kind of like there’s a good chance it’ll fall apart. You never know with these things. And then they told me the title, and I was like, “Oh my god, I got to be a part of this,” you know? It just has so much promise, and so much fun, like you know that there’s going to be some crazy… That you’re going to get the unexpected with that title, you know? So that’s kind of the reason I did it, is just a chance, first of all, to work with Alejandro and Mike, and then they brought in Gigi and Demián, and I was like, “Man, this is a world-class lineup.” And then again, they told us, “You could do whatever you want.” And then the perfect idea came through my email from a writer I knew, and the rest is history.
PopHorror: I have to agree with you. What drew me to this was first the name, because Satanic Hispanics just kind of rolls off your tongue. I’m like, “What the hell is this going to be?” And then the talent attached to it, all of the directors, and the writers, and even the actors. I was in. First time I heard about it, I’m like, “Yes, this is going to be amazing,” so I completely agree with that. That’s what draws you to it.
Eduardo Sánchez: Yeah, cool. Yeah.
PopHorror: And then talking about the script, what intrigued you about Adam’s (Cesare – Clown in a Cornfield) script and made you select it then for your segment?
Eduardo Sánchez: Before it was a script, it was just like he sent me a bunch of one-liners, little paragraphs and ideas, and I was actually thinking of doing something more serious, more creepy, more like Demián Rugna’s film, like the first one. More like just scary and horrific. And then this idea came through, and I immediately connected with a friend of mine, Hemky Madera, who I’d been wanting to work with for years, since we did Queen of the South together. We became friends, and we were always talking about doing something, and I knew that he’s a goofball like me. He’s always joking, and has this great comedic timing. I read this character, I’m like, “Oh my god, a vampire gets… His demise is because of daylight savings time. Hemky Madera is my man!” And I sent him the idea, and he was like, “I’m in!” And he was cool. He brought in Patricia (Velasquez – The Mummy), who I didn’t know, but I was a big fan of her work. They knew each other for a long time, and they hadn’t been able to work together very much.
So they came in, and at the first scene together, I was like, “Oh my god, these guys.” They were just perfect. It just seemed like they had been married for a century, and I just felt that I was in good hands. At that point, I was like, “All right, this is going to work, unless I screw it up royally, we cast it right.” But yeah, for me, it was just like really just being able to let loose a little bit, and have some fun, and just show… Just play in a different sandbox than I usually work in, in television and stuff.
PopHorror: I’m glad you brought up Hemky because I thought he was just fantastic. He was hilarious, but he was also endearing, and it was heartbreaking, and his rapport with the woman playing his wife was just-
Eduardo Sánchez: Patricia, yeah.
PopHorror: Yeah, Patricia. It was so good and believable, and I really enjoyed it.
Eduardo Sánchez: Thank you.
PopHorror: This was one of my favorite segments. I was so excited to see this, because it was the right amount of funny, the right amount of heartbreaking, and then the gore was great.
Eduardo Sánchez: Thank you.
PopHorror: The casting choices were just spot-on. And you are no stranger to horror. I mean, The Blair Witch Project is still brought up today on best-of lists, favorites. I always ask people’s favorite scary movie, and I hear this one constantly. What is it that draws you to horror?
Eduardo Sánchez: I mean, to be honest with you, I was not a huge… I mean, I love film in general, but probably my favorite genres before Blair Witch were like action and comedy. My film school films always had either comedy or action or both. Then Myrick (cowriter/director Daniel) and I came up with this idea for Blair Witch, and it happened to pop, and made us horror filmmakers, so I kind of had to go back to school and really… And I loved a lot of horror movies. I’m not like a snob. I went through my Troma phase, and my Exorcist phase, Amityville Horror… But I’m kind of a coward. Like, I don’t like being scared honestly, in movies, so I try to keep my distance. But then since Blair Witch, I kind of… I haven’t had that luxury, because you know, you kind of have to keep up with what’s going on, and also…
But I learned to really respect the genre, and I really love it, and I feel like now I’m a horror filmmaker, and I’m proud of being a horror filmmaker, because I think we’re discounted a lot, you know? Like it’s just a B genre, B-movie genre. Even if you’re spending $100 million on it, it’s considered, I don’t know, like lower class or something. I don’t know what it is. But it doesn’t get the respect that it deserves. And there’s such great filmmakers making horror movies right now, and I think it’s very hard to make a good horror movie. I mean, it’s very hard to make any good film, but I think the horror genre is very challenging. I just feel like I’m part of this community that is always trying to prove itself. And I’m just proud to be part of it. What draws me is just the idea that you… There’s just so many different flavors to it. I mean, even this movie shows how many different flavors of horror there are.
Eduardo Sánchez: And so you’re never stagnant, I feel, in horror. There’s always a way that you can kind of try something new. It’s the only genre that has so many subgenres. Let’s say I’m stuck in the horror genre. It’s a great place to be stuck in. It’s a very vast playground, and it’s constantly challenging you so I definitely learned to respect the great filmmakers, and just the great films, and I think it’s one of the most important genres there is at this point. And just for many reasons, but just for the reason of just letting people face their fears, and play with that dark side of humanity in a relatively safe space. I think that horror is kind of like therapy.
Eduardo Sánchez: It’s therapeutic for a lot of people. And even though a lot of people think, “Oh, the horror movies are the ones that are making all these murderers, and all whatever,” I think it’s the opposite. I think there’s a lot of people who probably would be more apt to be a little more violent or whatever, but I think horror movies like… I don’t know. Not that there’s serial killers that are satiated with horror movies, but I think there is a dark part of humanity that horror movies kind of tap into that part of people and let them live these dark fantasies and not do it in real life, you know? I think it really is kind of therapeutic, for sure.
PopHorror: Yeah, absolutely. And just one last question for you. What is your favorite scary movie?
Eduardo Sánchez: I mean, favorite is a tough word, because… Like The Exorcist is the scariest movie I think I’ve seen, but it’s not like… It’s a favorite, but it’s not like a fun favorite, you know? It’s not a fun movie. So there’s this thing of like, especially in horror, you’re like… The greatest movies are nightmares. For me, it’s like, I don’t know if I want to go back into that world for a while. But I think there is this kind of subgenre that is just fun, like Evil Dead II. I feel like it was the first time that I saw the possibilities of just being silly, and just really delivering a cool horror movie but doing it with a different style. I thought that was really amazing.
So I kind of lean towards that kind of thing, but again, there’s… For me, The Exorcist, Amityville Horror… The Legend of Boggy Creek is a favorite of mine, like just inspired me and really shaped Blair Witch, which is why I’m here talking to you. It’s in that group of movies. Even now, I feel inspired by so many horror movies that are coming out, and I think this is another golden age of horror right now that we’re going through. And it’s been good for a while. It just seems like everybody’s finally realizing that yeah, this is a good genre that people come back to, and the audience is very dependable, and you can do a lot of cool stuff in horror.
PopHorror: Yup. I agree 100%. That’s all that I have for you today, Eduardo. Thank you so much for your time. I’m so excited for this to come out and more people to see it.
Eduardo Sánchez: Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate the support, you know? We’re still like this tiny film, and we’d love to get people to see it. I think people would have a lot of fun, so thanks for helping out.
Thank you so much to Eduardo for taking the time to speak with us. Satanic Hispanics hits theaters Thursday, September 14, 2023.