Review Rating: 7
A pair of American dudes on the hunt for cheap drugs in Barrio, Mexico, encounter instead tales of horror, Mexican-style!
I’m a big fan of Tales from the Hood, which is an adorable collection of Horror stories told from the black point of view. And that is more or less what I expected Barrio Tales to be, a collection of Horror stories told with a Mexican slant. And it is, for the most part, very tongue-in-cheek laugh-at-yourself kind of tales, with a spicy salsa drop – sometimes literally.
First we have Maria, one of those eternal surprise revenge stories. Maria is a beautiful young maid working in a house for some jerkoff white college boys whose parents are away for the weekend, and throughout the course of the day they grow continually more belligerent and rude towards Maria. Until it all culminates in Maria’s untimely death, when the genius frats decide hey, let’s toss the maid into the pool – oh sh*t, she hit her head, that’s blood, is she dead?! Of course Maria has a vengeful grandmother who happens to be a Brujah, that’s witch to you uneducated types, or Voodoo priestess, or whatever, she basically casts a vengeance spell on all these college dicks that destroyed her precious granddaughter and they all die. Sadly, the manner of deaths is rather abrupt and nowhere near bloody enough for what they obviously deserved.
Our second story is Uncle Tio’s Taco Truck, and just from the title one can actually guess what the Horror will be in this one. I thought they wouldn’t actually go there, the whole love of Mexican tacos is a planetwide thing now as far as I’m concerned, but they did. In case you can’t guess it, yes, Uncle Tio’s tacos are made from the meat of, well, teenagers. And when some of the teens helping Uncle Tio late in the evening with his beloved taco truck begin disappearing and questions are being asked, Uncle Tio has to take drastic measures. It’s campy and fun, the story could’ve been much better or conversely much worse, instead the salsa on Uncle Tio’s tacos is frankly, rather mild.
The last story is El Monstruo, annnnd once again it’s very droll once one gets past the first part of the story. A pair of apparently very helpful good ole white boys offer some Mexicanos attempting to sneak into America a way inside, only to drug and bring them all to a farm where the hunt shall begin soon, a la the Firefly family. (That was a Rob Zombie movie reference, for those paying attention.) Of course, in this area there is a legend of El Monstruo, The Monster, who goes around slaughtering folk indiscriminately. At first we think, as the Latinos attempt to fight back against their white captors, that El Monstruo is this big hulking Tiny-like (there’s another RZ reference) killer white guy that can’t himself be killed, but that turns out to not be the case. The final showdown between the hunters and the would-be hunted is, let’s be honest, abrupt and largely a letdown.
What we call the Wraparound story, the thread story of the two teenagers looking for cheap drugs and instead are fed Mexican Horror tales to pass the time while their contact is coming, is pretty much also as you’d expect. In the end, the tale-teller decides the stupid gringos haven’t learned a thing and clears the way for the next batch of whites looking to score drugs. It’s often either way too cheesy, or simply not cheesy enough, and the snark that other Horror anthologies bring to the table is really missing.
Give Uncle Tio’s and the rest a try with Barrio Tales on Amazon Prime Video!