7 Oct

An interesting take on possession and exorcism, The Old Ways follows Cristina, a reporter who returns to her ancestral homelands to investigate the stories of sorcery and healing which take place there, some of which she witnessed herself as a small child. Kidnapped, chained up, and secreted away in a shack by locals who believe that she has become possessed by a local demon,  she is understandably terrified, incensed, and intensely skeptical– but after experiencing several grueling days of inexplicable weirdness, she soon begins to believe.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film (I had a feeling I would, just from Felipe Flores’ marvelously lurid festival poster art alone!) It’s a tightly paced, wild trip with snakes, spirit surgeries, Brujeria, visions, lots of blood and pus, and a refreshing and fun take on this kind of story. An aesthetic observation–Cristina’s cousin has a beautiful wardrobe–nothing showy or fancy–but if you pay attention to such things, she wears some really pretty tops and sweaters.

Things take off pretty swiftly in Queen of Filth by V Castro, as something terrifying and unexpected happens to Lourdes and her best friends, after a boozy seance staged on a summer evening before they get on with the business of adulthood and going their separate ways. Because, of course…someone gets possessed. Don’t they always!

This too, is an interesting spin on a possession story, as it’s not a demon inhabiting the body of shy, smart Fernanda, but instead something significantly older, and perhaps not as evil as they would have thought. The bonds of friendship and female empowerment, contemporary realities, religion, and ancient beings weave together in this short novel to create a story that though I read it in the course of an evening, I won’t soon forget these characters or their ordeal.

And finally, another list! If you enjoyed Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, you’ll definitely want to take a look at this list she compiled for Goodreads: Horror Picks to Take Your Reading Beyond Stephenkingitis


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