Look. Quite often with horror films there are deep themes permeating the whole ordeal, metaphorical imagery used to turn everyday objects or feelings into horrific things and severely emotional and traumatic character studies. I’m not saying that Papi Ramirez Vs Giant Scorpions doesn’t have any of these things, but I can absolutely guarantee it has a man fighting giant scorpions and that, sometimes, is all you need.
But, if you’re looking for the former things that I mentioned dressed up in a charming, ultra low-budget and hilarious mixture of comedy, kaiju and mind-bending abstractness then the struggle of an expectant father fighting for his life against a strangely verbal giant scorpion single parent and their two slightly smaller giant scorpion children provides the perfect underlying commentary on the fears and struggles of parenthood in an incredibly simplistic and wildly entertaining way.
The film is so lovingly mashed together from a number of incongruous filming methods that surprisingly come together really well, against all odds. There’s stop motion animation, extremely comedic use of green screen, live action and even the use of adorably basic miniatures to portray the scorpions.
When you then consider that all of this was a project of love from director Leslie Rivera, who also plays the charismatic and relentless ‘Mr. Motivator-esque Papi Ramirez you realise that actually, the film is much more impressive than it’s meagre means and modest production values suggest. Rivera built himself his own film studio inside of a storage unit and made the entire film himself, including the stop motion and green screen elements, making this film quite the impressive endeavour indeed.
It is also Rivera’s central performance as the over-the-top Ramirez that anchors the movie and makes all of the distinctively different elements come together around him. Rivera’s film manages to tap into his own incredible feelings towards his daughter to underline all of the silliness with a remarkable amount of heart. To put it simply, this is a film that wouldn’t have worked without the singular vision of Rivera behind the camera, and his lovable personality and evident love for his daughter in front of it. It’s a perfect ode to both filmmaking and family.
You can find more of our Salem Horror Fest 2020 coverage here