Manero

Video Star

By: Judy Cantor-Navas

Antonio Perez’s Luna, which recently won the 2013 Los Angeles Screamfest award for best short film, has all the components of a good scary movie: a desolate setting, a creepy main character, a dark basement, a surprise ending and the director’s belief that there is treasure in a genre often dismissed as trash.

“You always lower the bar when you watch horror movies,” Perez said to Manero. “I’ve always been interested in them, maybe because they’re not considered on par with dramas and other kinds of film.”
 
Perez takes a similar view on comedy, and a good way to understand his everyday genius is with this video, which combines the two genres.
 
Titled El Zombie de la Muerte, it’s a Halloween promo for the Latino TV channel Mun2, where Perez works as a senior producer in the creative department.  A living-dead-Frankenstein type roars from a grave in an east LA cemetery. On his way to terrorize the town, he spots a taco cart. Watch the video for the punch line.
 
“People assume that Latinos only like one kind of comedy,” Perez says. “Every Latino comedian will probably tell you a “chancla” story,” he says, referring to the standard joke involving the flip-flops Latina mothers favor when punishing their children.
 
Not so Perez, who, with his production partner and roommate, Omar Villegas, creates videos under the name The Mexico House. “When we moved in together as roommates, we lived in this run-down house. People would come and say, ‘What’s up with this house? It looks like a Mexico house,’” deadpans Perez, who around the house is known as Tony.
 
Among the selections on the Mexico House YouTube channel: ChicoChella, an if-Coachella-were-regional-Mexican parody of the hipster California desert music fest. 

“It’s great to push it,” says Perez, who plans to follow up Luna with his first feature film. “What’s the worse that can happen? You create something new.”

Judy Cantor-Navas is an award-winning journalist, critic and Latin music programmer who most frequently writes about music and its context. She is the Managing Editor of Billboard en EspaƱol and a correspondent for Billboard Magazine in Los Angeles.