The 6 Best Female Characters In Latin American Horror 


In a podcast episode by Mothers of Mayhem, the hosts state women are at the forefront of horror. This statement is ingrained in my mind as I wholeheartedly agree with it. Whether it be behind the scenes or in front of the camera as the Final Girl, the villain, or just a side character, their presence is needed in the genre. This month, I curated a list of some outstanding female characters in some beloved Latin American horror films. 

Good Manners (2017)

Juliana Rojas and Marcos Dutra’s second feature is a wonderful blend of dark fairytale magic, musical beats, and horror elements. The film centers around a werepup and his struggle to fit into a world that isn’t meant for him. But the themes are effectively kept in place by his stepmother Clara (Isabél Zuaa). Before the film ventures into the horror genre filled with werewolf lore, the narrative follows the loving story between Clara and Ana (Marjorie Estiano). We see a realistic portrayal of love between two women in the fictional Brazil the directors created. The star of the film is Clara. We witness her attempts at protecting her child as well as grieving the love she initially lost. Zuaa as Clara is an absolute delight. Her performance and singing voice truly shine in this Brazilian horror film. 

La Llorona (2019)

In 2019, Shudder made a huge splash within the horror community with their release of Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona. The film heavily focuses on the politics surrounding Guatemala’s history of the Mayan genocide, as it should be. Bustamante uses Latin America’s most famous folklore legend to garner interest from viewers and it worked. Alma (María Mercedes Coroy), who has worked in Bustamante’s debut film Ixcanul, gives one hell of a performance. What makes her acting shine is Coroy’s ability to say so much without uttering a word. Her drawn-out stares emit a powerful sense of pain. She radiates sorrow as she is out for redemption due to the killing of her kids and the rest of the Indigenous population. 

Huesera: The Bone Woman (2023)

Huesera: The Bone Woman is another film released on Shudder that got so many people talking, myself included. Directed by Michelle Garza Cervera, the film follows Valeria (Natalia Solián) as she undergoes the struggles of pregnancy and then the early stages of motherhood. Through this tough time, her ex-best friend Octavia (Mayra Batalla) helps guide Valeria into becoming the woman she used to be before conforming to Mexican societal standards. Just like Good Manners, the relationship between these two women is at the forefront of the story.

Both Valeria and Octavia display such a heartwarming and convincing portrayal of love between each other. Seeing their relationship from when they were younger to once again reuniting in the future is truly the highlight of the film. Outside of this, Solián as Valeria gives a chilling performance as her body contorts into some true body horror scenarios. It’s rare to see female characters like Valeria in the genre so Cervera’s film is a breath of fresh air.

The Last Matinee (2020)

Uruguay’s giallo/slasher The Last Matinee is the only one in this list where we get a “proper” final girl in the traditional sense. This is expected as The Last Matinee is a love letter to horror. The film follows Ana (Luciana Grasso) as she is working behind the projector during the last movie screening of the day. Unbeknownst to her, a serial killer named Comeojos, which translates to Eye Eater, is loose within the theater and killing movie attendees one by one. The film enters neo-giallo territory. It’s only because of Ana’s wit that she and others can escape the grasp of Comeojos. The Last Matinee makes it a point to show Ana studying during the first half of the film. It comes in handy when she must maneuver her way out of dangerous situations.

Bacurau (2019)

The majority of the films within this list feature one to two Latina actresses. Bacurau, on the other hand, features multiple female Latina characters. Instead of the story focusing on just one person, the film takes an unconventional approach. It has the village of Bacurau as the protagonist. We see this as the film depicts the Brazilian village of Bacurau becoming the target for American foreigners whose sole person is to kill any and all natives of the land.

Two female characters stand out: Teresa (Bárbara Colen) and Domingas (Sonia Braga). These two characters are a fantastic pair as Teresa personifies the mind of the younger generation and Sonia for the older. Yet both of these characters have a deep sense of community and love for their village. Domingas is a personal favorite as we see her take on the colonizers head-on and show no fear. Her courage radiates through her demeanor which the whole village sees and takes on as well. 

Pussycake (2022)

A lot of Argentinian horror films like to mix music within their stories. Pablo Perés’ PussyCake combines mutant zombies with some good rock and roll. What makes this film stand out compared to others like Perés’ DIY punk ethos debut film Plaga Zombie and the atmospheric black metal film Welcome to Hell, is PussyCake centers around a group of women in a band with the titular title. As the rock group tours around the country of Argentina, a portal opens and mutants with a quench for blood wreak havoc. The two groups clash in an abandoned town and Perés takes PussyCake through a splatter-filled narrative. The four band members, Elle Cake (Macarena Suárez), Sara Cake (Aldana Ruberto), Judi Cake (Sofia Rossi), and Sofi Cake (Anahí Politi) are a group of powerful and amazing Latina actresses just like the rest of the women within this list.



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