Funeral siniestro, and other movies by Jairo PinillaSome call him the Colombian Ed Wood. He prefers to be called the Colombian Hitchcock. The best description of all is simply the Original Jairo Pinilla.

Pinilla was one of the first Colombian film-makers to turn his attention to horror and fantasy. Unfortunately for him, the Colombian film industry at the time expected its artists to make serious dramas, or short documentaries about poverty and social issues. Pinilla’s movies were considered an embarrassment. Even more embarrassing? The local audiences loved them: Pinilla’s first film held the box office record for a Colombian film for years.

Eventually, the Colombian film commission found a way to put him out of business in 1985*. But before that happened, he managed to put out a very unusual body of work. Funeral siniestro (1977), for all its rough patches, is still a remarkably assured first film; 27 Horas con la muerte has a story that Poe might have chuckled over (and then rejected); while Extraña regresion may very well be the film that got Pinilla the “Ed Wood” title.

* Thanks to afforable video, he’s now back making films.

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