Latinos In The Industry

Edwin Pagán's "Top Ten + Plus 1 Scariest Films To Watch on Halloween"

By NALIP member Edwin Pagán, founder of Latin Horror and a life-long horrorphile. Film loglines in quotes courtesy of IMDb.

For me, there's nothing more exciting than the shot of adrenaline I get when I watch a horror movie that has well-orchestrated, story-driven frights, who's characters are fleshed out and steeped in historical background. These picks will definitely date me, but here are my top ten film - plus one - recommendations to see over the Halloween weekend, and why:

1. The Exorcist (William Friedkin) - 1973
"When a child is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter."

Without a doubt, my all-time favorite horror film. The film that launched a hundred nightmares, shook me to the core and still works on me today. Continues to hold up after three decades. If you've seen it a dozen times, see it again. If you haven't, you owe it to yourself to see it for the first time. To say anything more about this one would be an injustice to its craft and mantel in almost every horror fan's "best of" list. I dare you to see this one alone with the lights turned off and the volume up high. I double dare you...

2. Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero) - 1978
"Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall."

While the grandfather of the zombies kicked off the genre with his 1963, it's his Dawn of the Dead that caught my attention since I actually got to see it play in a theater when released. Seeing humans with black, hallow eyes tearing the flesh of vulnerable live victims changed the game for me once more and solidified the genre as my favorite. And this Cuban American has given four decades of the reanimated dead and continues to work and excel in the genre he bore. Chock full of period-relevant political commentary. See if you can spot the parables.

3. The Thing (John Carpenter) - 1982
"Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills."

The remake that became a classic that inspired a prequel. An ensemble cast that was heaven-sent (can we say that in horror) for a movie of this type. Lots of scary moments balanced out with plenty humor to boot, with fantastic specials effects that were ground-breaking during it debut and still hold up because of Carpenter's storytelling and visually astute abilities. The only "man against other" flick that edges out Alien (1979) in my collection due to its abundance of memorable characters (and star quality) that seamlessly fit together in this doomed oasis horror/sci-fi/thriller.

4. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro) - 2006
"In the fascist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world."

One of the reasons I started Latin Horror. After watching del Toro's hand at work in this masterpiece I knew there was a market about to be born in earnest in the genre of horror for Latinos. A masterful blend of horror and fantasy with a strong dash of historical folklore based on Franco's dictatorship thrown in. Picture perfect, be prepared to have your nerves and sense of dread put to the test with this one - but let a modern master storyteller take you by the hand.

5. The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona) - 2007
"A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, where she opens an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend."

Another masterwork from in the Spanish horror armada, this crafty piece of horror is tone perfect, suspensefully jarring. Films with children in jeopardy are always an egg-shell walk, but every moment introduced in this film has a payoff. Be ready for the room to get dusty so have your tissue ready. A great film to watch a second time just for the subtleties. See it together with Pan's Labyrinth as a double-header.

6. Se7en (David Fincher) - 1995
"Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi."

A cross between a cop procedural, thriller and horror film, this gem just drips with atmosphere - you can almost feel and taste it. And it's one of the better cop buddy films ever made. Its plot and characters are well defined, and every clue builds and leads to the climax. This one stands in a class by itself.

7. REC (Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza) - 2007
"A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers."

In recent years Spain has been on fire as an excellent creator and exporter of high-grade Latin horror, and REC is a prime example. Plot and spine-tingling suspense merge to curdle the blood in this "found footage" sub-genre done right. Intense and claustrophobic, it even spawned an American remake - Quarantine - a year later. Good complimentary snack: Sloppy Joes.

9. Halloween (John Carpenter) - 1978
"A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood escapes and stalks a high school girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets."

The original, and the film that kicked off the horror franchise to some large degree. And what better date to ground a horror film in? Intense jump frights throughout and insane cat-and-mouse gimmicks that have become the standard for most of modern-day masked psycho/madman/killer flicks. Campy but not boring by any stretch of the imagination. You'll never look at a costumed stranger on Halloween the same way again. And starring scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. 'Nuff said. ;)

9. Tales From the Crypt (Freddie Francis) - 1972
"Five people get lost in a crypt and meet up with a strange crypt keeper who tells them stories of how they died."

The first horror film I ever saw, and the first film anthology as well. A true classic in my personal collection. As a fan and avid collector of comic books, the film's multiple story convention felt right at home. A creepy horror film that for me is the epitome of the style and pace of films from the 1970s (at least as I remember them). Its English stoic nature might feel a bit outdated for some American horrorheads who've grown up on slasher gore, but not for true fans of suspense and macabre, as well as the connoisseur of the classic bleed. Guaranteed.

10. Insidious (James Wan) - 2010
"A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further."

I had not intended to see this film but went on the recommendation of filmmaker Franc. Reyes. And I'm glad I headed his nod. This film provided me with a few genuine "tossed popcorn" moments - something I hadn't experienced since my teens. Deftly helmed to make the most of the quiet moments, this film takes advantage of the bizarre, and also plants the viewer in an unbalanced and otherworldly that continues to provide pleasant surprises to the very end.

Plus 1: Drácula (George Melford) - 1931
"The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina."

No, the accent in the film's title isn't a mistake. This Spanish language version was shot concurrently with its English counterpart (starring Bela Lugosi) on the same sets during the night after the English crew would wrap its day schedule. As part of its 75th anniversary, Universal Pictures released a commemorative 2-disc edition that contains both versions. The Universal monsters series are some of the most memorable, and this anomaly is a rare instance. Find it. Watch it. Compare. A favorite in my collection to share with friends.

Back Stage Magazine's Actorfest LA, Nov. 5

Back Stage will partner with NBC, Telemundo, mun2, Disney Parks & Resorts to produce an open audition on November 5, 2011 during Actorfest - a one-day event for performers held at California Market Center. Basic admission is FREE.

Telemundo and mun2: are seeking Spanish-speaking, English-speaking, and Bilingual actors; Males and Females, all ages; union and non-union talent welcome.

NBC: is seeking union talent (SAG or AFTRA members only); Males and Females, who can play ages 18 to 45; all ethnicities. Bring a current SAG or AFTRA card in order to sign up for the NBC auditions.

For more information visit

  Redbox Ups Rental Price to $1.20, Says It'll Have Streaming Plan By Year's End
(The Wrap) - Redbox announced that its famous - or infamous, if you happen to work for a major studio - $1-night-rental price is being upped to $1.20. Announcing the change, the rental chain also said that it will have a movie-streaming business plan in place by the end of 2011. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
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Norberto Barba
Executive Producer of NBC's Grimm discusses his new show

By Elia Esparza, Latin Heat Online

When it comes to network series creme like CBS's CSI:NY; NCIS; The Mentalist; and NBC's Law & Order SVU, In Treatment (HBO), Lights Out (FX) one of Hollywood's best kept secret has been conspicuously calling the shots from the director's chair. If you are a fan of these major hits as well as many other shows like Law & Order: CI; Numb3rs; Lights Out; The Event, and Lifetime's new hit series Against the Wall, then you may have noticed the talent of director and executive producer, Norberto Barba.

Piercing through the typically dismal stats of Latinos working in television, Barba has broken the mainstream TV nut by executive producing Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and now, on NBC's new series Grimm. He has directed close to 71 one-hour TV episodes dramas and counting. Now that is some track record, by any standards, and certainly for this brilliant Latino and Army Special Forces Vet who was raised in the Bronx.

He is in rare company with only a few other Latinos executive producers, e.g., Roberto Orci (Fringe), Rene Echeverria (Terra Nova), Rodrigo Garcia (In Treatment), and in the directing realm beginning with a good friend, Felix Alcala (Criminal Minds, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods).

With over a decade of working on critically acclaimed TV shows and currently, the highly anticipated NBC television network series Grimm premiering in October, we sat down with director and executive producer, Norberto Barba.

Latin Heat: Grimm is a fantasy/mystery/crime drama series: what was it about the story premise that drew you to project?

Norberto Barba: I was interested in fashioning these iconic stories in a modern setting wrapped within the well-established form of the police procedural. I was also drawn by the very creative people involved in the show.

LH: How did you ramp up for this brand new TV series?

NB: I prepared by studying films like The Orphanage and The Others from Spain, and also other Gothic classic horror films. I came onto Grimm after the pilot was made as executive producer for the entire series oversee all aspects of productions. In addition, I directed its first episode after the pilot and will direct episode 13. If picked up, I will direct episode 22 (the finale). Again, as executive producer, I oversee every production detail throughout series. We shoot in Portland, Oregon and we will premiere on NBC, Friday, October 28th.


Daniel Eduvijes Carrera
NALIPster and producer Paola Rivera Perez selected for Produire au Sud Seminar

Among an exclusive slate of six film projects selected throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Near/Middle East and Eastern Europe, NALIP member Daniel Eduvijes Carrera's debut feature film in development Invoking Dolores will be participating at this years Produire au Sud Seminar in conjunction with the 33rd annual Festival of the Three Continents in Nantes, France.

Written through the Rockefeller Foundation Media Artist Grant and developed under a Fulbright Fellowship in the Creative Arts in Mexico, Invoking Dolores is Daniel Eduvijes Carrera's debut feature film project following his multiple-award winning short Primera Comunion. The story of a star-crossed love affair set amid the sinister world of demonic possession and fierce Catholicism in rural Mexico, Invoking Dolores will be produced by Paola Rivera Perez and Ozcar Ramirez Gonzalez of Arte Mecanica Producciones, the company that co-produced this years Cannes Official Selection Days of Grace.

Produire au Sud is a six-day training seminar that consists of master classes with top European film professionals in co-production, international sales, pitching and individualized script analyses. Created in 2000 in Nantes, France in order to support emerging talent from Asia, Africa and Latin America, Produire au Sud is making a large contribution to tomorrows best cinema by fostering cooperation between European film professionals and the next generation of international producers and directors.

Eddie Martinez
NALIPster's film To Be Heard having special screening and reception

The feature documentary To Be Heard - by NALIP member Eddie Martinez (LPA 2007) along with Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, Deborah Shaffer, and Amy Sultan - will have a special preview screening on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7:30pm at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills. Q&A and reception to follow. Please rsvp by Monday, October 31 to The film will open in Los Angeles on November 4 at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre.

Synopsis: Three Bronx teens search for an answer to the question: Can language change lives? Karina, Pearl, and Anthony are precariously balanced on the edge. Inspired by three teachers in a radical poetry workshop, they struggle to write their own life stories, imagining a future where fathers aren't in jail, mothers aren't abusive and college is a real place and not just a dream.


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