Best Spanish Scary Movies to Enjoy This Halloween

It’s that time of the year again. Wind is blowing, streets are covered in leaves and pumpkin spice is in everything. It’s the perfect time to snuggle up and watch something fitting for the spooky season.

To make this autumn truly enjoyable for you – and teach you something new, we’ve selected top five Spanish scary movies to enjoy this Halloween.

1. EL ORFANATO (2007)

This horror treat devoid of the usual cheap tricks so proprietary of the genre, came out in 2007 and became an instant success on international level. You will probably recognize some of the names that contributed to the making of the movie: multi award-winning Spanish actress Belén Rueda in the role of Laura and Guillermo del Toro as the director.

The idea for the movie, however, had much more humble beginnings. It all started with the short movie by Sergio G.Sánchez,  Sé que estás ahí, in which a child makes up imaginary friends to draw mother’s attention. The script was later adapted to what the movie is today by Juan Antonio Bayona. The fact that El Orfanato won 7 Premios Goya, a very prestigious Spanish film award, is that much more impressive when we take into account that this is actually Bayona’s debut movie.

Even though the concept of orphanages as spooky places and kids’ imaginary friends, that we all know are not really imaginary, is hardly anything new. El Orfanato approaches the trope with taste, without the usual gore or special effects, focusing instead on the atmosphere, suspense and characters’ motivations.

In that way, El Orfanato is reminiscent of The Others – but done in a Spanish way.


When Laura comes back to the orphanage where she spent her childhood with the intent of converting it into a shelter for handicapped kids, little does she suspect she wouldn’t be facing just the ghosts of her own past. The orphanage once held many stories and the walls remember.

She didn’t, however, come alone. Her husband and her adopted son, Simón, are with her. It is through her dialogue with Simón that we learn about the existence of other boys, ‘who will never grow up’ and that Laura dismisses in the beginning as kid’s stuff.

If you’ve so much as watched a trailer for the movie, then you know there’s a creepy kid with a bag over his head lurking around the hallways of our orphanage. Where did he come from and what does he want?

That’s for us to ask and for you to find out. You can find El Orfanato on Netflix.

2. LA CARA OCULTA (2011)

Spanish movies
It’s not only the characters who have cara oculta – so does the house.

La cara oculta is a Spanish-Colombian psychological thriller perfect for a rainy afternoon. It came out in 2011, directed by the Colombian filmaker Andrés Baiz and embodied by Spanish/Colombian cast. Clara Lago in the role of Belén is especially worth of appraisal for her emotional and believable performance.

If we had to point out one thing that this movie did extremely well, it would be the overwhelming feeling of suspense and dread. The star cast is minimal which makes you focus on the main protagonists, especially Clara Lago’s character. Low instincts are explored, feelings of fear, guilt, betrayal, jealousy and yearning.

What are people capable of doing in a fit of jealousy? How thin is the line between love and craziness? The characters will make you change and question your sympathies throughout the story, so if you enjoy that kind of mental exercise, this is the movie for you.

La cara occulta has been compared to Rebecca, Suspicion and Notorious by Alfred Hitchcock.


Many online reviews warn you to be patient for the first half an hour of the movie. Nothing too exciting happens, including the dialogue. We see a beautiful and talented Spanish couple move into a new house in Colombia, ready for a fresh start. Although, isn’t that how most horror stories begin?

We soon see the rapid decline in their relationships, after Belén starts suspecting he is being unfaithful. So how do we go from there to an hour filled with suspense and fear? No spoilers, we’ll just tell you that it’s not only the characters who have cara oculta – so does the house.

We recommend you DON’T watch the trailer for this movie because it reveals a major plot point. It is much more enjoyable to go into this movies without the knowledge of it.

La cara oculta is available on Netflix.


Spanish movies
Is myth really more scary than the reality?

It is no secret that Spaniards make great thrillers and El guardián invisible can safely (no pun) be added to that list. This comes as no surprise as the source material is the Baztan trilogy by the Basque writer Dolores Redondo. What Elena Ferrante is to the Italian – and international – literature, that’s what Dolores Redondo is to Spain.

That being said, this is the perfect story to binge watch when you’re in the mood for it. El guardián invisible is followed by El legado en los huesos and Ofrenda a la tormenta.

One of the things reviewers point out the most is just how atmospheric the movie is. This is mostly due to the fact that the plot transpires in the rainy and wooded northern region of Navarra and is sprinkled with local mythology, making you want to visit this part of Spain.


When a 13-year old girl is found dead in the woods, a former FBI agent Amaia Salazar decides to come back to her hometown of Baztán to investigate the murder. What she thought was an isolated and morbid incident, soon made her suspect the case is connected to a previous murder. Meaning, there is a serial killer at large. This isn’t all that’s troubling our agent. Having a traumatic past and coming back to a hometown is bound to stir up a lot of drama on personal front, too.

A lot of foreign viewers found elements of superstition weird and unplausible. However, superstition is an integral part of life in the north of Spain. Therefore, the reading of tarot cards and the naming of the serial killer The Basajaun Killer, after a creature from Basque mythology similar to Bigfoot, is by no means unusual given the context. 

How do myth and everyday horror come together in this story? Is myth really more scary than the reality?

Stack up on popcorn to binge watch the trilogy on Netflix and find out.


Spanish movies
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Have you ever been so pressed with time that each moment made your heart beat wildly? That exactly is the feeling this Spanish suspense thriller movie will make you experience for the 106 minutes of its duration.

It comes as no surprise then that Contratiempo was a commercial success as soon as it was released back in 2016, even if the opinions of critics were divided. It didn’t hurt that the movie includes some easily recognized faces of Spanish cinema such as the brilliant Mario Casas.

However, what really keeps the viewers on the edge of the seat, are the unexpected twists and turns, the way the story will make you feel like you finally know whodunnit, only to crush your expectations and take them in a completely different direction. The movie has also been praised for its engaging music score, which carries the atmosphere of the story perfectly.



Why is the Spanish businessman of the year, Adrián Doria, in so much hurry?

After waking up inside a hotel room next to his dead lover, no sign of forced entry to be found, he’s found himself inside a living nightmare. Rushing to his apartment is the prestigious defense attorney, Virginia Goodman. The time they have to prepare the perfect defence? Three hours, no more, no less. And the only way to meet the deadline? Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest) is available for you to watch on Netflix.


We’ve already established that Spanish cinema can claim some great thrillers, so for the last movie on our list we’ve decided to go for something a bit lighter but still fitting for the time of the year. This Spanish comedy horror was written by Álex de la Iglesia, known for his dark humor comedies with violence template. It stars Hugo Silva, Mario Casas and Almodóvar regular, Carmen Maura.

Las brujas de Zugarramurdi is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously but does explore some underlying seriousness. The first part of the movie is a commentary about Spain’s maternal society and the movie itself took the inspiration in the anthropological essay published by a Spanish University professor, about the burning of 39 alleged witches in the Basque village of Zugarramurdi in 1610.

What you see on the screen, however, is far from serious. It’s been described by viewers as entertaining and crazy, unhinged in a Spanish way.


It all starts with one botched robbery plan. Two equally failed in life robbers hijack a taxi and kidnap their new, unwilling passenger, Manuel, who’s driving them towards Spain’s border with the intent to flee to France.

However, the men are forced to make a stop at Zugarramurdi, Navarra, where they come across a group of cannibalistic witches led by the bitchy Graciana. How does that encounter go and how are the clumsy robbers going to get out of that one?

Witching and Bitching is available for rent or purchase on iTunes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed in our selection of spooky movies in Spanish. There’s no doubt they’re a great way to focus on pronunciation and the natural flow of language.

Even if you’re a beginner, don’t worry if you can’t understand. Just enjoying the experience and hearing the language will make you want to learn more!


In the meantime, if you are in search of a good Spanish listening resource, we have something for you!

We have been working hard to bring you our next resource, this time based on the well-known fairy tale Snow White aka Blancanieves to support your understanding.

This 30 pages-long resource comes with 10 minutes of audio content and an audio retelling of the adapted story. Besides being visually appealing and fun, it is packed with activities that build upon each other in the most optimal way to develop your listening skills, to practice and understand past tenses, to expand, retrieve and solidify Spanish vocabulary & much more!

It is completely FREE for a limited time, so take advantage of that now. Find out more about Blancanieves here and start improving your Spanish.

Anita Glavan

Anita Glavan

Writer, book worm, teacher, hispanophile, polyglot and translator. I encourage learning through reading stories. Not only is it a great way to expand the vocabulary, but also allows a glimpse into the soul of a nation; I firmly believe that art reflects the state of mind, history, culture and the unique way of using the language to express worldview. As García Márquez had said:

‘‘El deber de los escritores no es conservar el lenguaje sino abrirle camino en la historia.’’

Georgina Vujic

Georgina Vujic

Linguist, academic, former lecturer, writer, teacher and counsellor.
I have always been fascinated by the notion of language as ‘a mirror of mind’, One could argue it reflects my love of psychology and everything human. Education was my light at the end of a long tunnel, as education and illumination have been semantically connected since the dawn of human thoughts.

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