I first became aware of Gigi Saul Guerrero and Luchagore Productions back in 2015, when I reviewed their horror short 'El Gigante'. Gigi was feeling a little under the weather one day and was asking for horror movie suggestions, I sent her a message and to my surprise she replied. We've been friends ever since. I had the pleasure of meeting her when I was in Los Angeles last year. She so kindly invited me to her hotel room, we went to get some In-N-Out and just sat and talked for hours. This woman is so down to earth, so genuine and kind. She's talented and wise beyond her years and she's incredibly funny.
I was fortunate enough to interview Gigi for this years' Women in Horror Month. When asked who her biggest inspiration in life is, she laughs, "I can't lie and say that I only have one big inspiration. There are so many incredible artists that have inspired me creatively to get to where I am today. However, the ones who have been there since the beginning, telling me to pursue my dreams, have been my parents. They are the ones I look up to, admire and aspire to be like. My family and I have gone through a lot and without going into too much detail about my parents lives, especially my father's', who is absolutely incredible. They are the strongest people I know. I consider myself so lucky to have them be the ones who raised me and taught me everything I know today and they continue to teach me every day."
When Gigi was younger, she was never allowed to watch anything horror related. No violence,
"my mother always covered my eyes when we watched movies that had scary scenes."
As a young child her curiosity grew more and more, "why is my mom keeping this away from me?!" She needed to find out what being scared really felt like. Once she did, she never wanted to go back, "I loved the feeling of being scared!"
Since she was not allowed to watch scary movies when she was young, Gigi has memories of walking down the horror aisle at Blockbuster back when she lived in Mexico City. "I enjoyed seeing all of the VHS covers for the films and feeling curious and scared of some of them, until one day when I stole a VHS copy of 'Child's Play'! I watched it in my room and felt like such a rebel. Unfortunately I couldn't even get halfway through the film, I was so scared. Then of course I got in trouble. After that I only wanted more and I couldn't understand why feeling fear was such a thrill for me. It wasn't until I turned 9 or 10 that I begged my mom to take me to the theatre to see the remastered version of 'The Exorcist'. I begged and begged until she finally agreed to take me and to prove to me that horror films were bad. That film absolutely traumatized me. My mother had however warned me. But I loved it!"
The horror genre is still kind of a sub culture and is often frowned upon. We all enjoy the genre for various reasons. So what inspires and fascinates her when making movies? "Horror is the only genre that can make an audience feel different emotions all at once. Some people will be screaming, some squirming, some gagging, and some horror freaks like me will be cheering and laughing when all of the GORE happens. No other genre can do that to an audience. For me as a filmmaker that is what inspires me the most about story telling – making people feel something."
Fear is an emotion we all carry inside of us. It could be the fear of losing someone, fear of being alone, fear of the unknown. Whatever it may be, we can not deny the fact that we're all scared of something. When Gigi was asked if she had any fears, she was quick to share that yes, yes she does. "Believe it or not... I'm a huge wimp. My friends know me to be the easiest one to scare. I am also a huge believer of ghosts and anything paranormal, those are the type of films that scare me the most. Anything that has to do with religion, demons, exorcism and so on, it crawls under my skin."
We all grow up having role models and certain people we look up to and admire. As we grow older there will always be people who inspire us creatively and people we aspire to be more like. People who challenge us to always do our best and be the best selves that we can be. People who are the catalyst for our fire and our self worth. "If it weren't for the Soska sisters (Jen and Sylvia) I wouldn't have known about WiHM. Those girls have brought together a very powerful community of female artists specializing in genre films. Back when I was in film school I didn't really know what genre I wanted to focus on and those girls started blowing up with 'American Mary' and I started following their career and admired not only their work, but also their confidence in this business. I wanted to come out as strong as them. I feel blessed to have met them and shared incredible times together. They have taught me so much and given me guidance in this competitive field."
February, which is known as Black History month, is now also WiHM. We as women should always lift each other up. Even when February comes to an end, it shouldn't mean that we stop celebrating women. We never stop. Keep complementing each other ladies! Lift each other up, focus on what's truly important and what makes you happy in life. Stay weird and keep rising to the top, until you reach your ultimate goal. Create, contribute and collaborate. ”It is an incredible month! I plan to continue to support up and coming women in horror and those who are already killing it in the industry. It shouldn't just be celebrated in February, it should be all year around.”
As we all know, Gigi Saul Guerrero is a multi-talented woman. One may wonder what she does in between creating beautiful horror, voice acting, being an ice skating teacher, working at Santa Land, being a carnie at PNE Playland, taking care of her crazy cute rescue dog Nacho, is there anything that she hasn't accomplished yet, that she would like to do? "Be a Victoria's Secret Angel. KIDDING (not) No, but seriously, I love having different seasonal jobs and random gigs. It lets me keep my mind fresh and I don't get bored of doing the same thing every day.
But let's face it, the one thing I want to achieve is make a feature. I NEED TO MAKE A FEATURE! It's all I think about and all I crave."
I'm sure you've heard of 'Project Lucha', a so far rather secret project that Luchagore have been working on for a while now. "Right now it is all about #ProjectLucha, I can not wait to reveal the real title of the show to the world, and more than so, what it's about. This has by far been the biggest challenge of my career and as a filmmaker, but at the same time it has been the greatest learning experience. 'Project Lucha' really showcases how our team at Luchagore Productions don't just focus on horror, we are able to tell other type of stories too. Our fans will be proud of this one. All I can share for now is that we are currently editing the last stretch of the show and working hard with the studio to get it finished. Yes, we worked with one of Hollywood's biggest and most well recognized studios. Other than that, the 'El Gigante' online comic is finished and we are going to have a release date soon. Lastly we are a part of a couple of anthologies to soon be announced, and filming a new short film very soon. We can't wait to keep going, 2017 is going to be crazy, but it's going to be a good one!"
-interviewed conducted by Victoria Bagley