BY: GABY MORENO
Hello Hip Hop Heads and Horror Fans,
Today I will be sharing an interview I did with Armando Hernandez a.k.a RaculFright_13 . I came across his social media a few months ago searching for Mexican horror hashtags, since I was trying to find a movie copy of an obscure Mexican horror film called, “Panico En La Montaña“. Starring one of my all time favorite singers, Pedro Fernandez. His page came up since he had a VHS copy of this film. I instantly started following him and realized how he was very knowledgeable en el Cine Mexicano in general. I thought it was unique what he was doing. Glad he is keeping old school Mexican cinema alive! I might be going to far as calling him a Mexican Film historian lol. I reached out to Armando to see if he would be open to be interviewed for my blog. He happily accepted. Please read below to know more about Armando and his own blog. We also discuss the horror genre and Mexican horror.
1. Whats your favorite scary movie? Either Mexican, American or foreign.
I’ll give you a title for Mexican, American & foreign. Make it more interesting that way, que no? Haha.
American: I always considered The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) my all-time favorite horror movie. It is a movie that is frightening & so exciting to watch. It really brought out a lot of fear into me as a kid, but it also brought out a lot of curiosity of the crazy people out there in the world and to seek out more movies just like it. Ever since watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, horror & cult movies became an important part of my life. That movie changed me for the best (or maybe the worst, haha).
Mexican: As for as a favorite Mexican horror movie, it’s really hard to nail it down to one because there’s a select few, but one I guess that I could consider an all time-favorite would be Terror En Los Barrios (1984). It’s such a strange little horror movie with a mommy issues-killer using various disguises. One particular disguise consists of a rubber green ghoul mask & all black clothing. It’s also crazy how obscure this movie is. I never seen a copy of it anywhere and I came across it by chance.
Foreign: there’s many great horror movies from other countries, but one that has always stood out for me would be the Italian horror movie by Lucio Fulci: Zombie (1979). Its such a simple zombie movie, but it’s done so well & it’s gory as hell, too. The gore is done just perfectly & how can you not love the music score in that movie? The opening & closing theme song is haunting & beautiful.
And I almost forgot to mention that we get to see a zombie eating a shark!! How cool is that? (Haha).
2. For those who are not familiar with you that are outside the horror community. Please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Armando Hernandez. I’m based in Pomona, CA and in my blog entitled “raculfright_13’s Blogo Trasho” (a name change will be happening soon though) I write about Mexican movies of every genre! which consists of drama, action, comedy & horror. I’m trying to bring these Mexican movies (mostly a lot of obscure titles) out of the dark & to be remembered & respected.
3. I see you are very knowledgeable about Mexican horror movies and Cine Mexicano in general. How did you become so knowledgable in this genre?
Growing up as a kid, my parents (mainly my mom) would always wanna rent a horror movie for me & my older brother to watch (along with whatever other movies) and those are the movies you’ll always remember as a kid. They were scary, but so fun at the same time.
As for the Cine Mexicano, Mexploitation and videohomes (straight to video Mexican movies), it began when I was 19 turning 20, when I remembered the movies “La Banda Del Carro Rojo” and “Ratas De La Ciudad”. I remember as a kid watching them on tv with both my parents and I really liked them. It was cool to see the people of our heritage acting in these exciting movies dealing with crime, poverty & tragedy on both sides of the border (Ratas however only takes place in Mexico City). Once I acquired copies of both movies, I also remembered many more Mexican movies that were so intriguing to me growing up. One in particular was a videohome entitled Herencia Diabólica (1994), which is a crazy little clown doll/midget horror movie starring Lorena Herrera & directed by the master Alfredo Salazar. I remember that movie freaking me out as a kid, but enjoying the stupid fear I got out of it. My mom otherwise called the movie “trash”.
So after getting copies of those 3 movies, I began to seek out more titles I remembered watching & hearing about. I then started to read into the lives & careers of everyone in the Mexican movie industry and It ended up becoming this huge obsession for me in my early 20’s and here I am close to 30 and still reading, writing & researching Cine Mexicano, Mexploitation and the Videohome scene. This whole Mexican film industry from the old days fascinates me. The people behind the camera, the actors, etc. All this is just so fascinating to me and my craving for this knowledge to know all this about this industry grows & grows each day.
4. How long have you been collecting movies? What is your source or distributor you get it from? If you can share the info.
I been buying & collecting movies since I was a teenager. I would look for movies on eBay & Amazon and of course anywhere else I could buy movies. When it came to Mexican movies, that was a lot harder for me to find since a lot of titles I searched for weren’t really available on DVD, but they were however on VHS and that is the format I found many titles I wanted & needed and some that I didn’t even think of needing. It was also cool to find out that a lot of these old video companies were working directly with & were the people in the industry. For a while I was finding a lot of Mexican movies on VHS at a local video store called “Movie Island”, I would also search other video stores from time to time and find some titles there as well. Recently my collection grew bigger thanks to a wonderful man named Juan who has been selling me many Mexican movies on tape. All original & most still intact in their packaging as well. A little known fact of Juan: He once owned a video store and before owning it, he was just an employee of the store and this store in particular was very Mexican oriented, so they always had first dibs on every single title from all the top Mexican video companies. For Juan to still have been able to hold on to these Mexican tapes 30+ years later is just awesome & full of devotion. He’s the best.
5. I read some of your blog reviews and you inject a lot of humor and personal anecdotes. Would you say that is what sets you apart from other bloggers? Or How do you make your blog/platform stand out?
When I began writing reviews, I was inspired by the website Bleeding Skull (when it was just Joe Ziemba & Dan Budnik) since they wrote simple reviews full of humor & honesty. If they liked the movie a lot, then they will say so. If they didn’t, then they would say so. They also didn’t over-analyze a movie and they were also being themselves in the review which of course was being fun & quirky. So for myself, I just write about these Mexican movies out of fun & honesty. I try to be trivial as well if I find out something very interesting about the movie’s production, director, actor, etc.
As for the anecdotes, I done that when I wanted to make the review more longer & interesting to read. My Lencha La Taxista review is an example of that. How do I write about a movie like that? Am I gonna come off pretentious & state relevant & important facts about the movie? Am I gonna over-analyze it? Of course not. I’m gonna blend in with the movie just as it is, which is to be weird, funny & random as hell. I also wanted to poke fun at the 2018 epic Roma since that movie at the time was getting a lot of attention and why not feed off that? (haha).
So basically I just try to be myself in my blog. I wanna be fun, interesting, honest & trivial if possible. I don’t wanna sound like anyone else because that’s boring & too obvious.
6. To make this interview a bit interesting. You know how the movie Scream created the horror movie rules. If you had to make any rules to survive a Mexican horror movie what would be some of the survival rules?
- Don’t play with Ouija Boards or you’ll end up like Michael’s friend becoming the demonic entity Virgil in Don’t Panic. Wearing dinosaur pajamas are optional.
- Search for old treasure and you’ll end up slaughtered by a zombie Agustin Bernal like in Ladrones De Tumbas.
- Don’t cheat on your crazy boyfriend or he will come for you in your room & murder you with no mercy like in Terror En Los Barrios.
- You cannot open the old chest down the basement or you’ll end up unleashing a perverted buffoon psycho doll that’ll make you go crazy like in Demond Doll.
7. What do you think about Hollywood using Mexican legends to make horror films, like La Llorona? If you watched it what were were your thoughts?
To be honest, the movie doesn’t interest me much, but eventually I will watch it. I do however think it’s cool how Hollywood wants to use Mexican folklore in movies, but I feel it has to be done appropriately & not water it down to make it more appealing for a mass general audience. Keep it authentic and with all the money invested, it shouldn’t be hard to do that and let alone make it actually scary.
8. Have you met or had the opportunity to talk to any Mexican horror directors or actors? And if so who were they and what conversation did you guys have?
Over the years I have been in touch with a variety of directors, producers and some actors via Facebook, email & phone. Even some of their family members as well (haha). The one I can say I gotten close with and has made a few horror/thriller titles is the king of the videohomes Christian Gonzalez. We had a nice Skype chat many years ago at the idea of his lovely wife Patricia Rojas. It was crazy to see him live on my computer screen and to talk to him about his career was awesome. He’s such a good guy and I’ll always admire the time he gave me to talk to him. I also recently interviewed Leopoldo Laborde on my blog where he too talked of his career in the genre scene & pointed out many facts of the Mexican movie industry. Another great guy for giving me the time to talk with. There will be a couple of people of the industry (one being a horror/cult icon) I will be Interviewing in the near future and I cannot wait for people to see this. It’s gonna be really epic honestly.
9. If you haven’t met any actors or directors yet who would you like to meet and why?
Well sadly a lot of the people I would have liked to have met have passed on, but I do really hope to meet Director Ruben Galindo someday since he’s my favorite Mexican movie director and I would just love to tell him how much his movies really mean to me. As for actors, it would be cool to meet Jorge Reynoso since I think he’s a great actor who has starred in many favorite movies of mine. I would love to also meet Lina Santos since she’s such an iconic actress and incredibly gorgeous as well. She too starred in many favorite movies of mine. Then lastly to say I would love to meet Patricia Rivera. She too is another iconic & gorgeous actress who I’ve heard from a close friend of hers that she is such a lovely woman in person.
10. Ernesto Alonso’s “El Maleficio” was one of the few novelas that used themes of the occult. What do you think about novelas having a horror element to them? Do you think it would be successful?
It’s funny you mentioned this because not long ago I wondered why there’s not many novelas with any type of supernatural/horror theme. It is however a different kind of industry and that industry hasn’t changed in so long, so it looks like we’ll be seeing telenovelas about lust & crime for many more years to come. Hopefully one day we see do get a telenovela that’ll cater to fans of the supernatural/horror. If not a telenovela, then maybe a TV show in the styles of the late 80’s/early 90’s anthology show “La Hora Marcada”.
11. Favorite horror soundtrack if any?
If it counts, I would go with the soundtrack for Cannibal Holocaust by Fabio Frizzi since every song is beautiful, tragic & terrifying sounding. “Adulteress Punishment” is my favorite track.
12. Favorite horror director? They can be Mexican or American. And why?
When I think of a great Mexican director of horror I immediately think of the master Carlos Enrique Taboada. He is the one who made some wonderful Mexican movies about ghosts, murder & the supernatural. Hasta El Viento Tiene Miedo is one of my all-time favorite movies as well. It is a must watch of his for sure just as the rest of his movies are!
As for an American horror director, I will narrow it down to Wes Craven since he’s made so many classics that I really love. I mean, I thought “My Soul To Take” was one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched, but when you look at the rest of his filmography, he made so many amazing movies over the years. He made A Nightmare on Elm Street and everyone loves that movie (that’s actually my 2nd favorite horror movie of all-time), Last House on the Left is a movie I always admired highly and then there’s Deadly Friend which is one of his most underrated movies ever. It was also a movie that my family always came together to watch whether we rented it or saw it airing on TV. An 80’s killer-robot girl movie is definitely a must watch for the entire family.
13. Favorite horror villain? Why?
I narrow it down to Dracula (Bela Lugosi’s & Christopher Lee’s portrayal) since he gets to stay up all night creeping around and thirsting for human blood.
14. Favorite actor in the horror genre and why?
I always admired Vincent Price since he’s been in many iconic roles for many classic horror movies. His facials expressions & the sound of his voice & laugh is just so creepy and cool. He’s one of a kind and could never be replicated.
15. What do you love about the horror genre and why?
The horror genre is just always so memorable & fun and that’s what I love about it. I mean of course any other movie genre will have its memorable & fun movies, but you don’t ever forget or ignore the horror stuff at all. When you watch them as a kid, it leaves some kind of impact & memory. You’ll be scared shitless maybe, but afterwards you’ll remember that time of being scared & laugh about it & feel happy. It’s easy entertainment sure, but overall it’s entertainment that will definitely be unforgettable & treasured.
16. The horror genre is always criticized and given a negative reputation what is your opinion on that?
It’s definitely a misunderstood genre and given way too much of a negative reputation. I mean after watching movies such as The Exorcist and Hereditary, it’s like why weren’t these movies nominated for best picture at the Oscars? These movies told stories that were not only creepy as hell & original, but they were also filmed very beautifully & well acted. While many horror movies are usually the same and often copy each other, the same can be said about other genres as well. Horror movies can be taken serious if the movie itself is serious as well. Hopefully down the line, the genre will get much more respect and finally make people realize that horror movies aren’t always cheesy & fun. They can be beautiful, stupendous & truly terrifying.
17. What does your social media name mean “Racul Fright”? Any special meaning behind it?
People have asked me that many times before and I always tell them the same old weird story. I was meant to make a user name on MSN “TastetheBloodDraculaFrights13” but I guess that was too long or whatever and so it gave me the option for “raculfright_13” as an alternative and I liked the way that sounded, so ever since then it stuck with me. So basically My screen name is “Dracula”, but without the D in the beginning & the A missing in the end (haha). The number 13 is of course the number associated with bad luck and I like that. Just don’t ever think you’ll catch me with a “13” tattoo on me because I think that’s too extra & lame as hell.
18. What is the coolest or favorite collectible you own whether it is a vhs, dvd or blu ray etc. Why?
It would be the full sheet poster of the horror movie Demond Doll which is mostly known as “‘Muerte Infernal” and “Hell Doll”. The mystery of Demond Doll and this poster is very intriguing to me since I guess it was released theatrically at one point or it had gotten some kind of video release under that title and in its original English language.
19. Jordan Peele has started his own lane in creating original horror movies and giving the main roles to Black actors which is great since normally we haven’t seen that in the past. What do you think about a director like Guillermo Del Toro doing that for the Mexican community? Do you think other Mexican Directors might follow Jordan Peele’s blueprint?
It’s awesome seeing Guillermo Del Toro being a huge name in the movie industry now a days since he’s 100% Mexican and really putting in work. Hopefully soon he makes something awesome in his native country that is pure horror & beautiful. If someone can be a Mexican Jordan Peele, he’s clearly the man to do something similar. Cross our fingers for that. However, it would be cool to see a fresh new face out there doing work for Mexican & Latinos in mainstream horror. That definitely needs to be happening!
20. Lastly how has the horror community embraced you or maybe has not? Was it difficult to build a following when you first got started?
Well I can’t say the community in the horror scene has embraced me like with certain dull & unoriginal websites & writers, but what I can say is I have definitely opened a lot of eyes to people into becoming interested in Mexican movies & obscure Mexican movies. Over the years, people have wondered what a certain movie was about & wondered if the movie was even good and I was someone that have provided that information for them. My following isn’t huge, but its enough for people to really wanna talk to me about these movies and for some to even go as far as to bug me every single day to provide them free copies of these movies (haha). It’s difficult to push your content out there in the beginning, but just always promote your stuff and it’ll catch on for sure. It’s worth the wait and it gives you more time to just keep going & adding more cool stuff to your content.
21. How do you build and keep relationships with people in the horror community?
I try to keep up with what’s going on in the scene of course. Social media of course is the best & easiest way to really get to know people that are into horror or whatever else similar. It’s also important to support a website or podcast to really become acquainted with this kind of community, so that’s always important to do! Support the scene/community!
22. Any advice for anyone who is thinking of joining the horror community? Whether it be a blog or a podcast.
Whatever you wanna provide: be it writing material or audio material in horror, cult or just movies in general; just be yourself. Be honest and don’t be afraid to express how you feel about certain things in a movie or whatever. It’s always good to hear different opinions because if everyone was the saying the same stuff in their sites or whatever, then it would be so damn boring & repetitive & unoriginal. That’s why I honestly don’t keep up with the big horror websites these days, because they all sound the same & always write about the same stuff often and never really give a legitimate movie review.
Thanks again Armando for your time it is appreciated. Also thank you for the movies you’ve sent me! We will have to meet soon in person soon! Please go follow his IG page at @raculfright_13 if you are into Mexican films or curious about that genre, you won’t regret it! Here is the link to his blog: https://raculfright13sblogotrasho.blogspot.com. To my readers and supporters hope you all enjoyed reading this interview. Until next time horror fiends and hip hop heads. While you’re at it please feel free to follow my blog on social media @7octoberz and Facebook!