The Freaky Folktale Behind The Curse of La Llorona

February 28th, 2019The Freaky Folktale Behind The Curse of La Llorona

April is a time of rebirth, but this year we’re going to be cursed — and we couldn’t be happier. THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, opening April 19, brings an all-new and totally terrifying boogeyman (or boogeywoman, actually) to theatres. Who needs the Easter Bunny?

The movie is the brainchild of producer James Wan, the filmmaker behind THE CONJURING franchise, but the creepy new horror flick is not closely tied to that series. Like Wan’s films about ghosts and possession, however, this one does take inspiration from the real world — kind of. THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is based on a folktale that has haunted people for many years. Here’s the full story.

The Happy Beginning

[Credit: Warner Bros.]

The legend of La Llorona has its roots in Latin culture, and the name translates to “The Weeping Woman.” Although the film is based on the Latin folktale, there are similar stories found in Mexican, Native American and even Greek culture. 

The tale of La Llorona begins in a rural village, with a beautiful young woman named Maria. When a wealthy and charming nobleman passes through her town, he sees Maria’s beauty and, despite her lower-class background, proposes marriage. Maria’s family is thrilled with the union, but it would be an understatement to say the nobleman’s father is not. He can’t stand seeing his son marry someone who is — he thinks — beneath him. 

Love Doesn’t Last

[Credit: Warner Bros.]

So, the newlyweds build a house in Maria’s village, where they can live happily at a distance from the nobleman’s bitter father. Trouble soon strikes the marriage, however. Maria, who quickly bears two sons, is ignored by her husband in favor of his business interests. 

You can probably see this development coming a mile away, but one day the nobleman returns home with a new, younger girlfriend in tow. He bluntly announces his intent to leave, but only to his sons. Maria is ignored. Devastated and desperate for revenge, Maria drowns her sons in the river. In a moment of clarity, she realizes the horror of her actions and compounds it by drowning herself. Not exactly your classic springtime tale, right?

The Gates Are Closed

[Credit: Warner Bros.]

As the story goes, Maria is denied entry to heaven until she can find her sons. The legend says you can hear Maria crying as she walks through limbo, looking for her dead children. If you hear the weeping cries of La Llorona, you should run — and fast. That crying means death is near. 

Even worse, according to the story, La Llorona has a habit of mistaking living children for her own … but she won’t exactly carry the other kids to heaven. If she finds a child wandering alone at night, she will take them to the river and drown them. Some who tell the story say they’ve seen her walking by the river, wearing a veil and crying out for her children. Others say her cries are misleading, and though they sound close, she is actually far away. When her wailing seems to be distant, La Llorona is closer than you think. 

Haunted on Film

[Credit: Warner Bros.]

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is the first feature film directed by Michael Chaves. He made quite an impression on James Wan with his terrifying short film THE MAIDEN. The new film is set in 1970s Los Angeles and stars Linda Cardellini (GREEN BOOK) as Anna Garcia, a social worker who is raising two children following the death of her husband. 

A new case at work brings Anna into contact with a disturbing and possibly supernatural force, which she thinks might be connected to strange happenings in her own home. With the help of a local faith healer played by Raymond Cruz (“Breaking Bad”), Anna learns that La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) is haunting her family. To defeat the evil spirit, Anna enlists the disillusioned Father Perez (Tony Amendola) — and yes, that’s the same Father Perez from THE CONJURING spinoff ANNABELLE.

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA haunts AMC beginning April 19. 

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