Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
Hasta El Viento Tiene Miedo (1968), is a suspenseful film with some very lovely cinematography. Directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada, Hasta El Viento Tiene Miedo is an old fashioned ghost story with a 60’s mod twist. Stylish and suspenseful, this week’s strange and fantastic tale is Hasta El Viento Tiene Miedo.
An all girl boarding school can be a drag especially when the headmistress is kind of a pill. Overly severe, Senorita Bernarda does not suffer any teenage shenanigans or human feelings for that matter. Don’t give her the old my mother is on her deathbed story, she will not excuse your absence from school. Despite the despot in charge, the girls at the school manage to have fun and form a strong bond. The group grows concerned for their classmate Claudia. Claudia has been afflicted by dreams of someone calling her name and luring her to the bell tower to see a dead body.
Claudia’s dreams become so realistic she begins sleepwalking to the bell tower. This leads to nighttime disruption which prompts Senorita Bernarda to issue an extreme punishment. Claudia and her friends must forego their spring break and spend the vacation at school where they will have to attend class. This is a punishment for both students and teachers, but Senorita Lucia, a kind teacher, is happy to stay and watch over them. Then things get spooky.
Tensions are high. Kitty, one of the more sexually mature students, is mad that she is missing out on all her dates with Armando, a boy whose picture hangs in her gym locker. Most of the girls are upset about staying at school, but face their punishment. The girls are also stuck at school with Josefina, a demure girl who is an unabashed tattletale. The behavior among the group is interesting.
A regular horror movie would have made Josefina, the outsider of the group, the target of bullying or made her the bully to paint the other girls in a more sympathetic light. Taboada’s writing spotlights some unique character flaws and highlights in the girls. The girls are never all against one. While some pick on Josefina, some stand up for her. The girls tease each other about everything, but embody solidarity.
There are some sillier moments that seem to veer towards the campier side of horror. Girls in the shower, Kitty’s boyfriend hiding in the courtyard, and even a striptease, are all scenes meant to cause some titillation, but that is never the aim of the film. All the while the ghostly presence of a former student lurks in the courtyard searching for vengeance. The ghost’s presence is mainly represented by wind. The wind is so loud and present in scenes that it is almost a character.
Taboada is masterful in setting tone and building suspense. The horror is not over the top slasher horror, but is more subtle in its gothic nature. From beginning to end, the mystery is engaging and the characters are charming. Grab your best gal pals, make howling wind sounds, and watch Hasta El Viento Tiene Miedo.
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