Saturday, October 01, 2022

Honourable Mention: Las Antropófagas

This is a horror flick from Ecuador, which was directed by Jorge Bastidas and released in 2019. It is not a vampire film (as such) but it certainly is of genre interest. What we have is a story of ghouls.

Back in 1821, E.T.A. Hoffmann published a story entitled Vampirismus as part of his Die Serapions-Brüder. There is every chance that the story title was added by an editor as the story is essentially a reworking, into a contemporary Western setting, of The History of Sidi Nu’uman. Jump forward a century and Dudley Wright adds the same story into his reference book Vampires and Vampirism and Summers conflates ghouls and vampires in “The vampire, His Kith and Kin” (1928).

feasting (artily)

The story that went through the thread described above was one of a husband with his new bride. As their married life begins, he notices that his bride rarely eats and, he discovers, often sneaks from the marital bed. Following her one night he sees her in a graveyard, where she has revealed herself as a ghoul and with other ghouls is feasting upon a corpse. This, for the most part, is the story presented in this film.

Luis Torres

The bride (or fiancé at the start of the film) is Fátima (Sheyla Carrasco) who is marrying the older, widowed Néstor (Luis Torres). He moves her into his home and becomes concerned about her not eating and visiting her friend Eva (Gaby León) often late at night. One of the reasons for his concern is that there appears to be a killer loose in the village and, worse, the victims' corpses seem to be subsequently disinterred shortly after burial and partially eaten by animals. They eventually get confirmation that the bite marks are human.

Fátima leaves for the feast

Only the young Clemencia (Estéfania Quezada) seems to notice (or at least voice an understanding of) the pattern that they are always disinterred and no one thinks to stake out the cemetery. There is some commentary about the bodies being poisonous due to the embalming process – the embalming done by the local Doctor… who is Eva (so we can assume it is not actually done). Of course, it is Eva and Fátima but the film throws in a convoluted plot of Néstor thinking his wife is having an affair, first, with a young labourer and, subsequently, with Eva before he discovers the truth.

eating the dead

Now, what we don’t get is them transforming into ghouls (as in a creature transformation) and they may just be a pair that have become obsessed with eating dead human flesh. That said they seem pretty addicted to it (there is a high murder rate going on), they do not feast on the newly killed – they wait until after burial to eat them (though that seems to be completed in short order), and apparently do not eat normal food. Anyway, with this bringing the Sidi Nu’uman/Vampirismus story to the screen, and with the conflation of ghouls and vampires, this is definitely of genre interest – though I have to be honest and say that the acting throughout was not great and the pacing seemed off.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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