The Latin American legend of La Llorona has several variations. But most retellings of the story go something like this: There was once a poor woman who drowned her children after she was abandoned by her man. After killing herself, the tormented spirit of the woman wandered the earth, crying out for her dead children. She returned from the dead as La Llorona, Spanish for "the wailer."
This Halloween season, for the first time, Universal Studios Hollywood introduced La Llorona as a character in the annual Halloween Horror Nights (Sept. 24-Oct. 31) in an attempt to connect with Southern California's sizable Latino population.
It's a move that makes sense. The Halloween Horror Nights have become a profitable way for Universal Studios to draw guests to the theme park after the traditional summer tourist season is over. Disneyland in Anaheim and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia also redecorate their parks and hire actors to draw in guests during the Halloween season. But Knott's Berry Farm (a.k.a. Knott's Scary Farm during the Halloween season) is believed to be the first in Southern California to launch the Halloween themed makeover nearly 30 years ago. The park draws about 15% of its guests during the Halloween season, according to Knott's Berry Farm officials.
During a red carpet event at the launch of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, several reporters from Spanish language news programs cornered the actress playing La Llorona for interviews while reporters for English language television shows ran for the reed-thin actresses and well-coiffed actors who attended the event.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: La Llorona character at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Credit: David Sprague / For Universal Studios Hollywood