Los Espookys (2019-Present) is a bilingual comedy horror television series, that focuses on a unique group of friends in Latin America whose love of horror becomes a strange but lucrative business. It is not just their love of horror that situates them as outliers in their social circles but their apparent queerness. Often when horror narratives focus on racially and sexually marginalized characters, they are situated as a semiotic cue of othering and stereotyped in problematically negative ways as the horror texts' centralization is often in a white, patriarchal, western context. The utilization of queerness in the horror comedy of Los Espookys challenges that problematic othering by furthering and, in a way, accepting this idea of othering imposed on Latin American identities by centralizing their queer identities and narrative styles that expand their horror, and Los Espookys horror, outside of the expected western/white context.
The series follows and pays homage to a multitude of horror genres (gothic, creature, sci-fi horror, etc.), to which these horror narratives themselves have “never followed a ‘straight’ course” (Shapiro & Storey, 2022). Such queerness existing seemingly innately in the horror narrative creates opportunities for marginalized narratives and characters to exist within and outside the bounds of horror narratives that don’t suffocate and restrain them as monstrous. For such stories to exist, not in a negative aspect of ‘othering,’ it depends on how the characters are situated with support in the narrative.
Echoing Gustavo Subero’s analysis of queerness in different Latin American horror cinema texts, the queerness of Los Espookys becomes prevalent as “all the characters live outside acceptable socio-sexual categories within heteronormativity” (xxi). Renaldo, the horror enthusiast who formed the Los Espookys business, appears to be asexual. Andrés is a blue-haired, rich, haunted friend who is a gay man. Úrsula, the grounded rational individual, is shown to be a lesbian. Tati, a strange but loyal friend to the group, and sister to Úrsula, though presented as heterosexual, is in a lavender marriage with Andrés’ boyfriend Juan Carlos.
Their othering is shown through their passion and devotion to the macabre business and their queer identities but all of which are accepted and relied upon throughout the series. Renaldo’s love of horror, which might be seen as weird or concerning, is actually seen as a potential investment and creative vice for his friends and is supported by his uncle Tico who strikes motivation for Renaldo. As well, Andrés, and eventually Tati’s, queer relationship with Juan Carlos might be seen as scandalous and unacceptable in heteronormative society–it is actually situated as desirable for the financial and status opportunity it holds. The layering of othering, which in other horror texts’ has been explored in problematic ways, in Los Espookys is attached to opportunity, adventure, support, humor, and passion. All of which expand the representation and narrative of queer othering.
Shapiro, S., & Storey, M. (Eds.). (2022). The Cambridge Companion to American Horror. Cambridge Companions to Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Subero, Gustavo. (2016 ). Gender and Sexuality in Latin American Horror Cinema: Embodiments of Evil. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.