Blood Circuits: Contemporary Argentine Horror Cinema
Published by Suny Press, 2019. 248 pages.
By Jonathan Risner
I was hoping this book would be a real eye-opener to horror films from a country that I admittedly wasn’t that familiar with, which would be Argentine horror films. I hoped that I could come out of this with a list of titles that I need to seek out. While I did find a few titles to look for, unfortunately, it didn’t take me long after digging into this volume that it was not written for your average, run-of-the-mill reader, like myself. This is for academics. Very well read academics, in fact. Plus, while there are some movies discussed, it seems to more about the film business in Argentina, how the films are made and received, than the actual films themselves. This isn’t a criticism, but it wasn’t the book I was hoping for. I was really hoping to learn more about the films and the filmmakers instead of the actual industry.
I did find it strange that there is no mention of Luciano & Nicolás Onetti, the brothers that gave us films such as Deep Sleep (2013), Francesca (2015), What the Waters Left Behind (2017) and the more recent Abrakadabra (2018). I’ve only seen Francesca so far but found it so incredibly stylistic and just so well made, even though the crew consisted of pretty much the two brothers.
Author Risner has done more than his share of research here, giving a lot of information about the industry, the influences from outside the country as well as inside, and how the films from there are getting seen, either through distribution (the legal way or the grey market) or online streaming. He is constantly quoting other works, such as essays and books, to help prove his points, or to address them with his point of view, which I did find interesting.
But at the end of the day, for a book that is really only about 170 pages long (the last 80 pages are notes, bibliography, and the index), it didn’t deliver what I was hoping for. If you are looking for an in-depth look and insight into this branch of the horror cinema, you will definitely get it here. But if you are looking for a casual read to learn of some different horror films, then you might find yourself a little disappointed.