The boogie man, El Cucuy, or for that matter Michael Myers, and Freddie Krueger are some of the scariest characters we grew up fearing. But none can compare to the terrifying legend that has run rampant among the Latinx communities for decades. Your abuelitos probably scared your parents with the tale of the weeping widow mourning for her children who drowned in the river. They, like good parents, probably passed on this tradition and scared the living daylights out of you as a kid so that you wouldn’t misbehave. Well, Hollywood has taken notice, and come spring of 2019 there will be a movie debut of The Curse of La Llorona, directed by Michael Chaves through Warner Bro. Studios.
La Llorna is a terrifying ghost story that originated in Mexico and has scared generations of children with its folklore legend of scorned love. With many variations of the tale, the most prominent one is that of a beautiful young woman named Maria who married a wealthy and handsome nobleman and had two children. As the years passed, her husband’s love for her began to change. According to Wikipedia, one day as Maria was with her children walking along the river she saw her husband with another woman and became so enraged that she threw her children into the river and they drowned. Having realized what she had done, she too jumps into the river to die alongside them. An article by sfgate.com shared, “The inconsolable Maria then drowns herself (or dies of grief, depending on who’s doing the telling) and is buried by the villages the next morning.” The folktale goes on to share that she spends eternity looking for her children, crying out for them at night by the river thus the name “The Weeping Widow” or La Llorona.
So the urban legend goes, but through the years and across Latin American cultures the tale has taken a twist or two as it continues to be shared. La Llorona is said to wander bodies of water like rivers and oceans in a long white gown in search of her children. “The scary part comes after La Llorona reaches the gates of heaven and is not allowed in because her children aren’t with her. She is trapped on earth, searching in vain for her drowned children for all eternity.” Because of this in other versions, she is portrayed as a murderer who kidnaps wandering children that resemble her own. She asks them to forgive her then kills them to take their place. “Some believe those who hear the wails of La Llorona are marked for death but those who escape in time are not, as in the Gaelic banshee legend. She is said to cry, ¡Ay, mis hijos! (Oh, my children!),” shares Wikipedia.
It’s no wonder authors like Joe Hayes wrote a book centered on the folktale to bring it back to its roots titled La Llorona – The Weeping Woman. Hayes is “best known for his bilingual tellings of stories from the American Southwest,” it says on Amazon.com. Back in 2010, Universal Studios jumped on board to make La Llorona part of its annual Halloween Horror Nights. “She first made the cut in 2010, earning a berth in one of the annual event’s famous scare zones,” shared sfgate.com. Now La Llorona will take on the big screen in a feature film sure to be as terrifying as the tale itself in The Curse of La Llorona.
According to Variety, “New Line Cinema’s horror movie The Children has been re-titled The Curse of La Llorona and will be released on April 19, 2019.” Directed by Michael Chaves from a script by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, the film will star Linda Cardellini as a widow with two children in 1973 Los Angles. Cardellini’s character is a social worker investigating a case with similarities to “supernatural occurrences haunting her own family.
Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Roman Christou, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Patricia Velasquez are also set to star in the movie. The teaser for the movie alone invokes goosebumps as you watch its brief trailer. Memories of childhood nightmares are surely going to be recollected as the movie nears its debut. Cruz and Velasquez who grew up in the culture and are well aware of the fable, had this to share in an interview with deadline.com. Velasquez says that La Llorona “lives and breathes” in the Latinx culture and the movie pays so much respect to that.”
“We were scared sh*tless with La Llorona,” said Cruz. “Now we can share that with you.” They also went on to share strange happenings that occurred while filming. “Cruz had an unbreakable bracelet suddenly break into pieces while Velasquez had a chilling run-in with what she believes was the real La Llorona at her home.” And no joke this HipLatina writer had a nightmare about La Llorona the day I started researching for this article. I woke up catching my breath and telling myself, “It’s not real, it’s not real!”
Why should we care about another horror movie you may ask? Because this one will bring to the forefront one of the Latinx community’s most sensational and impactful urban legends that have carried weight and has been passed down through generations for years. A movie decades in the making and worthy of taking its place amongst the most sensational of horror movies out there. A Leyenda that will hopefully be given its due justice in a film that’s sure to evoke terror across the board. The responses on Facebook and Twitter to the film’s debut are just as interesting. One Twitter follower had this to share, “Mexican moms are gonna be like, “no vayas a ver esas chingaderas del diablo” pero bien que les encanta asustar a los chiquillos.”
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Video Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjSShe-0AwM