La cabina (1972)

La cabina (1972) - The scariest horror film ever?


La cabina, the 1972 short by Antonio Mercero, may be the perfect horror film.

If you haven't seen it, don't worry, there are no big spoilers in this article.

La cabina is only 36 minutes long but its effects will last for a lifetime!

You can see La cabina for free on YouTube.

Watch La cabina on YouTube 

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Like all great art, La cabina makes strong and simple statements on humanity and on social conditions, while still being an entertainment.  You don't need to be a genius to analyse it, but at the same time La Cabina doesn't lay it on thick.

Your response to La Cabina is therefore somewhere between the conscious and the unconscious, and this is why it succeeds in being of the most memorable horror films of all time.

What Is La Cabina About?

This extreme portrayal of the human condition gets to the viewer so effectively because it plays on fears of exposure.  It's the glass of the cabina that makes the experience so awful.

José Luis López Vázquez as La Cabina man - happiness

The La cabina man is laughed at all the way through the film, until he reaches the fringes of the city, and there in the ruins are some circus performers, one of whom is quite deformed. 

This is a classic cinematic trope - the outcasts.  Of course these outcasts do not laugh at the La cabina man.  They only look on gravely.  They have seen it all before.

As the La cabina man progresses on his journey of confusion, first isolated in a society without care and then removed via an existential wasteland and into a bizarre tecnological tomb, his pain, and the viewer's pain, is heightened by an image of his son.

Of all the aspects of La cabina, this is the hardest to stomach.  When a vision his son hits La cabina man near the end, it is then that we truly feel the pain of all this pointlessness. 

The genius of La Cabina lies in this concrete expression of the abstract pains of life. Life's stupidity.  Life's traps.  Life's regrets. The fact that life ends with so much undone.  The fact that life ends at all.

José Luis López Vázquez as La Cabina man - doubt
The Finale

Even if you haven't seen La cabina, its reputation and pedigree is such that you may already know what happens in the end.

It is still however worth seeing.  The build up to the finale is much stranger than you would expect as the action veers into a strange industrial setting.  I guess this is the film saying that industrialised society is confining and killing us . . . . but that is not what you will be thinking.

You will be thinking: "WHY WOULD ANYBODY DO THIS?!" And even if you want to get away, like the La cabina man, you are seeing this through to the finale.

José Luis López Vázquez as La Cabina man - horror

Who would do such a thing as this? 

There is of course only one answer . . .  it is God.

La cabina is God's sense of humour and only God can know why God finds this sort of treatment acceptable, and that in the nutshell is the logic of La cabina.  

More than any speculation on industrial society, all of life is felt in this predicament.  As Hombre de la cabina nears his final destination, a mysterious helicopter appears and he pleads to it for help, and I couldn't help thinking that somehow this was representitive of God.

Ach . . . I'm getting too heavy.  Either way, La cabina sums up much about life.  A pointless journey, during which you are exposed to confusion, ridicule and baffling emotions.  And it is a trap from the off.

Beware

The fantastic thing about La Cabina is that it is one of these films that you may only see once, but which will stay with you for life. 

 

La cabina at Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_cabina

La cabina at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKkfGG9q32c

 

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