They told me wrestling was fake…
Directors: Gigi Saul Guerrero, Luke Bramley
Screenplay: Shane McKenzie
Music composed by: Chase Horseman
Producer: Raynor Shima
Where do I even begin? At the time of release I had heard very little of Gigi Saul Guerrero or the production company she co-founded, Luchagore Productions, before coming across "El Gigante" (and subsequently the novel it's based on "Muerte Con Carne"). I knew I was late to the party. After all, you can't have a crew this talented, producing work as polished and compelling as what's on their resume, and remain under the radar, right? Right. And since then, we've made it a point to never miss a single thing put out by the team, lest we risk once more being late to the bloody fiesta.
Anyway, as mentioned above, my introduction to Gigi's work comes by way of her short film, "El Gigante"; a horror story that takes place south of the border. The film opens with a desperate father (Armando) making his way towards the U.S. on foot in hopes of meeting up with the family he sent to cross ahead of him, with only the memories of their last moments together to keep him moving forward. Unfortunately, his trek through the unforgiving desert only serves to land him in a very disturbing situation. Not to give too much away, Armando will have to fight against much more than just harsh environmental conditions, rattle snakes and dehydration - as the hulking luchador appropriately named "El Gigante" stands between him and his freedom.
Family that slays together, stays together...
Living up to the production company's namesake, 'El Gigante' is chock full of gore, blood, giblets - all of it wrapped within the grimey, stank-filled walls of the lucha libre arena. Not like much of anything we've seen before either (which considering what the horror genre encapsulates, is saying a lot), 'El Gigante' comes across as the bastard child born of a disgusting cross between Tobe Hooper's 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Lucha Underground'. Yet as violent and grotesque as it can get, there is a lot of beauty to be had in this 13 minute tale. Excellent use of colored lighting, intricately designed wardrobe and environments all come together to create an interesting juxtaposition that works well for the film (reminiscent of the work done in Gigi's other short, 'Dia de los Muertos'). Of course, bringing it all together are the believably psychotic pack of...well...you'll see, played jubilantly by their respective actors - most notable being Adelita Rockhill and Nisreen Slim as "Mama" and "Alma".
Over far too quickly and ending JUST as it starts to hit a crescendo, 'El Gigante' has at the very least served to wet our appetites in anticipation of a possible feature film, adapting the rest of Shane McKenzie's novel. Hopefully, whatever other work Luchagore Productions puts out between then and now can tide us over, otherwise it'll be a long wait.
Check out the trailers below for both 'El Gigante' and the horror anthology 'Mexico Barbaro' which features Gigi Saul Guerrero's short 'Dia de los Muertos', and be sure to follow their work at the Luchagore Productions website and of course, on Twitter.