The Horror Films That Inspired Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Silver Nitrate

Her latest supernatural thriller is so fascinating precisely because of its use of film history, both real and imagined.

I really enjoyed Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Silver Nitrate, a supernatural thriller set in ’90s Mexico that follows two close friends — a sound editor and a struggling actor — who get caught up in the schemes of a long-dead Nazi occultist. The novel’s premise is a fascinating one, and one of the things that made it so was all of the bits of cinematic history that Moreno-Garcia sprinkled throughout its pages.

As I wrote in my review, “Admittedly, I know very little about Mexican cinema, so I don’t know how much of Moreno-Garcia’s history is real or imagined — I was occasionally reminded of the mélange of conspiracy theories in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum — but that just made Silver Nitrate all the more intriguing.”

There’s obviously some real film history in Silver Nitrate, though, and in this video, Moreno-Garcia highlights two horror movies that inspired her novel: Fernando Méndez’s The Vampire’s Coffin (1958) and Dario Argento’s Inferno (1980).

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