Certain countries have experienced paranormal events so well-documented they’re almost considered indisputable. In America, it’s The Amityville Horror and in England, it’s The Enfield Poltergeist. In Spain, it’s Vallecas Case, a supernatural occurrence that, like the Enfield case, is supported by police testimony; it’s also the inspiration for the surprise international horror hit, Veronica.
Veronica hit Netflix unexpectedly last week and has some reviewers calling it one of the scariest movies ever made. It’s directed by Paco Plaza, one of the masterminds of the [REC] franchise and stars Sandra Escacena, Bruna González, and Claudia Placer. Give the wicked trailer a look-see below.
Official Synopsis: Madrid, 1991. A teen girl finds herself besieged by an evil supernatural force after she played Ouija with two classmates.
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All horror fans know to take the “Based on a True Story” tagline with a hefty dose of skepticism, but the story of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro has been a source of immense fascination in Spain for decades. If you search YouTube, you’ll find literally dozens of short and feature-length documentaries about Vallecas Case (named after the neighborhood where the events took place). Unfortunately, they’re all in Spanish.
Finding English documentation isn’t as easy, but here’s what IMDB tells us:
The movie is based on the events that involved Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro and her family happened on 1991. Estefanía, an 18-year-old who started to experience strong paranormal activity in her home after she and classmates used a Ouija Board. She would die on August 14, 1991, six months later.
As for the veracity of these claims, Newsweek recently investigated Vallecas Case and found that the “documented truth” isn’t quite as spectacular as many would have you believe.
Estefania died, but not at home battling a demon. Instead, she died in a Madrid hospital in August 1991. But the police report doesn’t really have much to do with her. Though the details of her possession—including more lurid, unverifiable claims, like that she inhaled a paranormal vapor from the shattered pieces of the glass Ouija planchette—are widely asserted, Estefania’s family didn’t get the police involved until more than a year after her death.
So, what, exactly, did Spanish police report?
“[A] loud noise come from an empty porch, the door of a “perfectly closed armoire” opened “in a sudden and totally unnatural way,” a crucified Jesus separated from his cross and a large, brown stain, attributed to drool.” (Source)
Unsettling for sure, but hardly the insistence of demonic possession the police report has long been touted as. But to be fair, Plaza never pretended to me making a historical re-enactment. Here’s what he an audience in Toronto
“In Spain it’s very popular, this story, because it is, as we say in the film, the only time a police officer has said he has witnessed something paranormal, and it’s written in a report with an official police stamp and it’s really impressive when you look at it. But I think when we tell something, it becomes a story, even if it’s in the news. You only have to read the different newspapers to know how different reality is, depending on who’s telling it. So I knew we were going to betray the real events. I just wanted to make a whole vision… but the whole story of Veronica and the sisters and Antonito, this little Marlon Brando with glasses, it’s all a vision.”
The result is undeniably terrifying and definitely worth a watch—especially if you’re a fan of supernatural horror. If you’ve Veronica, tell us what you thought about it in the Comments section!
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