THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
October 20, 2018
Joseph Bishara scores new La Llorona Chiller from James Wan
James Wan is producing the new horror film THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, for release through Warner Bros. next April. Directed by Michael Chaves (also slated to direct Wan’s THE CONJURING 3), written by Chaves and Tobias Iaconis and starring Linda Cardellini, Patricia Velasquez, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas, the film has to do with a social worker, ignoring an eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, who with her own small kids, is drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.
The La Llorona Legend in Cinema
A legend out of Mexican folklore tells of La Llorona (“The Weeping Woman”), which has become very popular especially in Mexican movies, with an occasional foray beyond its borders. Legend has it that La Llorona is the ghost of a woman who cries for her lost children, resulting in misfortune for those who hear or come upon her in her lamentation. The first film to deal with the ghostly weeper was the 1933 Mexican film LA LLORONA, known outside Mexico as THE CRYING WOMAN from Cuban-born actor/writer/director Ramón Peón (1877-1971; also known for BEYOND DEATH (1935, Más allá de la muerte). That film was remade in 1960 under the same name(s) by director René Cardona.
In 1963 THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN (La Maldición De La Llorona) appeared, in which a young woman inherits a mansion, only to discover that it is haunted by the wailing weeper, among other spirits. The film was made by actor/director Rafael Baledón. 1974’s VENGEANCE OF THE CRYING WOMAN (1974; La Venganza De La Llorona) pit the bawling femme fatale against Mexican luchador El Santo and maskless boxer Mantequilla Naples.
In 2006, Mexican variant KILOMETER 31 (Kilómetro 31 or km 31) written and directed by Rigoberto Castañeda, served up the La Llorona myth with a helping of haunted highway ghosts; Castañeda filmed a sequel, Km 31-2 in which a police officer investigates a new series of child kidnappings linked to the earlier case. The 2011animated horror comedy, LA LEYENDA DE LA LLORONA (The Legend of La Llorona in English-speaking countries) provided a less ghoulish version of the Crying Woman legend, and spawned a series of five films and a TV series.
Outside of Mexico, La Llorona has had its cry heard in American cinemas in films such as 1974’s THE CRY, 1989’s THE CRIER, and 2006’s THE WAILER. The 2005 pilot episode of the popular US series SUPERNATURAL, “The Woman in White,” dealt with La Llorona, while the series GRIMM dealt with the Weeping Woman in the ninth episode of its second season (2012), titled “La Lorona.”
Made in 2018 but not yet released, Patricia Harris Seele’s LA LLORONA postulated a couple, vacationing in Mexico, who discovers their son’s disappearance has to do with the supernatural curse of the Crying Woman.
The Fearfully Ferocious Franchises of Wan & Bishara
With James Wan’s pedigree at writing, directing, and producing very potent modern horror films and franchises like SAW, INSIDIOUS, THE CONJURING and others (he also directed FURIOUS 7 and the forthcoming AQUAMAN), THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA sounds like it will be an especially gripping and darkly engrossing ride. Wan, producing along with Gary Dauberman and Emile Gladstone, is sure to have an infectious influence on first-time feature film director Chaves in keeping their LA LORONA within the style of his previous franchises.
Joining him in exploring the horrific hex of the crying lady is composer Joseph Bishara, who has scored most of Wan’s directed and produced franchises. Bishara’s proven capabilities at creating very creepily textured and toned music designs have already made him one of the most fear- fabricating composers in modern genre cinema. What he’ll do with the fearsome femininity of the weeping woman will undoubtedly make for particularly scary cinema, and is one I’m definitely looking forward to.
– Randall D. Larson
Watch the film’s teaser trailer below: