Spanishness, dark comedy and horror
Juan F. Egea

When asked to classify the Spanish movie Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad (La cuadrilla, 1994), its directors, Luis Guridi and Santiago Aguilar, invent a curious, almost untranslatable film category. A cross between an indigenous dark comedy and an indie horror movie, Justino provokes generic considerations that are necessarily linked to questions - and questionings - of national cinema, which, in turn, raise issues of genre formation, cultural specificity and viewer expectations. This chapter closely examines the character and crimes of the assistant bullfighter to elucidate how his displaced usage of the puntilla adds blood, irony and darkness to the representational anxieties of Spain on the eve of the twenty-first century. Justino belongs to the film genre of Spanish dark comedies because of the 'family resemblances' it displays with movies such as El pisito (Marco Ferreri, 1959), Placido (Luis García Berlanga, 1961), and, especially, El cochecito (Marco Ferreri, 1960).

in Contemporary Spanish cinema and genre