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SYFY WIRE The Curse of La Llorona

Exclusive: How James Wan was essential to giving La Llorona's monster her look

By Jacob Oller
The Curse of La Llorona

The Curse of La Llorona followed in the haunted footsteps of the horror films created under mega-producer and director James Wan's watchful eye, making plenty at the box office while setting up genre fans for a potential franchise. It may not be entirely in The Conjuring universe of films, but La Llorona certainly contained hallmarks of Wan's involvement. From the kinds of scares employed on its audience to the haunted family aspect at its center, the film bore a resemblence to films like The Nun and the Annabelle series — all the way down to its creature design.

The weeping, ghostly woman is a folklore staple but bringing the supernatural Mexican tale to life required some trailblazing simply because there weren't many modern interpretations to pull from. The result, a wedding-gown-wearing, black-tear-crying ghoul that vanishes and reappears instantly like most of the demonic fare in contemporary horror, was scary and unique — all while reminding fans of the classic elements at her core.

SYFY WIRE has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how La Llorona herself was created, with some key input from Wan himself.

Take a look:

Special effects makeup artist Gage Munster explained that making La Llorona appear constantly wet was an idea straight from Wan. Director Michael Chavez highlighted the "poison, tar-black tears" as essential to the character, as Munster explained the ins and outs of their practical design (in case any would-be horror professional wanted to replicate it for a potential Halloween costume). "James [Wan] would always talk about the power of the monster's eyes," Chavez said. Actress Marisol Ramirez, layered under the makeup and yellow contacts, makes this point for him, because she's super, super spooky — and this is just a behind-the-scenes clip.

The Curse of La Llorona hits Blu-ray and DVD today, Aug. 6.