V. Castro is a talented and passionate face in horror so Latinx/Latine Screams was a surprise read for that reason. She was a relatively new writer to me at first and after looking into her work it was making me excited to read her horror anthology Latinx/Latine Screams. Horror anthologies have over the years become more diverse yet the lack of racial diversity in horror is something still relatively new to a lot of individuals so seeing the writer line-up being filled with such openness it felt welcoming to read because of the need for this drive in the genre.
Something that has always driven Horror truly is the way fear exists in culture and background. Stories like La Llorona showcase how culture and in this case, Latin American culture shapes how horror is perceived to others. Death, demons, the feeling of someone watching you in the dead of the night, it is universal yet different to everyone you meet. Every story in this anthology nails that feeling of pure expression in fear evenly and because of that the stories stick their landing every time.
“Cowboy Pete’s Killing Floor lived up to its name”
‘Sangre Derramada’ by Hector Acosta is the first story showcased and the story that roped me in as a reader immediately. The horror and writing was natural and stellar in its showcase, which really expresses what made this story truly rule supreme as it shines the light on immigrant workers in a chicken factory that mysteriously had a finger in one of the frozen meat packages.
What truly ties every story together is family and the difference in storytelling and creative voices. Much like Sangre Derramada, every story has hair-raising moments and scenes where you feel a sense of satisfaction due to the creative choices even in the more fun stories such as ‘Pancho Claus vs Krampus’ by V. Castro herself. Everything in Latinx/Latine Screams is true to heart about the love each writer has put into it. A.E Santana thrusts you into the story with ease, E. Reyes nails grief perfectly, Richie Narvaez gives us a tech horror that is brilliant and hair-raising, and that doesn’t even fully scratch the surface of the entire anthology.
“They like to tell you that not everything is black and white. Over and over again we hear this
because there are supposed to be shades of gray, wiggle room where people do less-than-appealing
things for better-than-you-think reasons”
Each writer brings in folklore in some kind of way which helps push a sense of cultural relevance into each scare and tale which can sometimes be a rarity in horror. The book is something worth reading for two reasons, true diversity in storytelling and the idea that culture can shape horror in ways very alternate to classic American horror stories. In recent years we have seen acts of pushing diversity in this genre. Some have been creative misses while others much like this anthology have managed to stick a tricky landing and manage to push word of mouth to talented horror writers and fans who deserve to be in this spotlight. Pieces of this book like Behind the Mountain truly express why we need these voices in the genre because without these creative voices we wouldn’t have a real emotional drive in horror.
Latinx/Latine Screams is out for purchase wherever books are sold (currently on-sale digitally for $2.99!) and I highly recommend supporting this book and others like this in the future. With pushes like these in the horror genre, the future of storytelling begins to look a lot brighter than many have thought.
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