Mexican Horror Cinema

(informative page; book out of print)

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After the success obtained by 'Poster Art from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema', Rogelio Agrasánchez Jr. followed suggestions by fans of Mexican horror/wrestler cinema, and began to prepare a volume dealing with this exotic film genre.

Mexican horror movies, though evidently influenced by foreign cinema, managed to create a world of its own, populated by the most hideous characters and twisted-minded villains who would terrorize people, in particular scantily-clad heroines. 

Some excellent gothic and horror films were made in Mexico in the 1930s, and a few more during the 1940s.

Yet, horror and sci-fi movies bloomed in Mexico until  the 1950s, featuring not only classic monsters like vampires and werewolves, but also a selection of Mexican traditional creatures, like La Llorona (central character of one of the best known local legends), or products of the extremely imaginative screenplay writers, like the Brainiac, the Aztec Mummy, and the Human Robot.  Other movies from that decade showed the darkest side of mankind in a very appealing noir mood, like 'El monstruo resucitado' and 'La bruja'.

By the late 1950s, conventional heroes for this genre gave way to a new generation of champions:  the masked wrestlers who, in addition to their amazing physical strength, were role models; the epitome of courage and integrity.  In some occasions, they even had supernatural powers.  Real-life wrestlers like Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras joined other masked heroes created for the silver screen, like Neutrón and Superzán. 

Movie posters for those films are extremely enjoyable.  By the time the genre flourished, most poster artists from the Golden Age had retired.  Only a few were around; among them, Leopoldo Mendoza, who became the most prolific designer of movie posters for horror and wrestler fims.  Younger artists, like Heriberto Andrade, Alfonso Ruiz Ocaña, and Francisco Cerezo also contributed to the genre.

In 'Mexican Horror Cinema', 150 posters are reproduced in full color, plus a number of lobby cards, window cards and stills.  The material is divided into three chapters, "The Fifties", "The Sixties" and "The Seventies".

The book has a prologue written by Rogelio Agrasánchez Jr., who makes a vivid and engaging recount of his own experiences as the son of a well-known producer of wrestler and horror films. 

Three concise and informative essays are included:

  • 'Mexican Fantasy Films: A Brief History', written by researcher and author David Wilt;
  • 'Collecting Mexican Movie Posters & Lobby Cards', by collector and trader Brian Moran;
  • 'Santo, the Silver Masked Man of Mexican Cinema', by collector and trader Freddy Peralta.

A chronology of Mexican horror films, prepared by Mexican scholar Guillermo Vaidovits, wraps up the volume.