‘The Last of Us’ Has Me Longing for the ‘Mexican Gothic’ Series More Than Ever
It's time to enter the gloom.
I think anyone who has watched or played The Last of Us can agree that fungus is creepy. On its own, fungus coming out of rotting wood or insects at odd angles is enough to gross me out. But when the Cordyceps fungus is coming out of a human body, it is horrific. Looking at the makeup for the infected on HBO’s The Last of Us for too long makes me feel itchy and uncomfortable.
As gross and icky as mushrooms can be, they can also be beautiful and interesting. Plus, they can be delicious, and we even derive medicine from certain strains. There is this duality to them that just pulls us in, horrified or not. After becoming obsessed with the visuals in The Last of Us, I’m craving another fungal-horror series that Hulu promised us three years ago.
When are we going to get a taste of Mexican Gothic?
Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, centers on Noemí Taboada, a young woman who must leave her fancy 1950s party life in Mexico City to attend to her ailing cousin, Catalina. She travels to the rural mountain town where Catalina lives in a Gothic-style mansion called High Place with her English husband, Virgil Doyle, and his family. The Doyles immigrated to Mexico a generation before to mine silver. However, their greed took a toll on the surrounding town and left them close to penniless. Noemí suspects Virgil may be after Catalina’s money more than her heart.
Although the Doyles themselves are terrible and gross, there is something else inhabiting the decaying High Place that haunts me. Throughout the mansion, on wallpaper and in dark corners, a type of mycelium fungus grows. At night, Noemí sleepwalks and has vivid, ghostly dreams about horrors that happened before her arrival. The strain of mushroom in the house gives her these visions through its spores, called the “gloom.” The Doyles have used this symbiotic strain of mushrooms to give them longer lives, prosperity, and control over others. And sometimes, the mother mushroom has to be fed.
Back in 2020, Hulu announced that they purchased the rights to make Mexican Gothic into a show. The best-selling novel would become a limited series with eight to 10 episodes on the streaming network. I understand a lot has happened since 2020 (that whole pandemic thing, for one), but no news of this series being in pre- or post-production has leaked since the initial announcement. When I read the book, much of the fungal imagery was seared into my brain. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to see it on TV, but after watching The Last of Us, I am jonesing for it like never before. I just need to know when I am going to have that mushroom-shaped hole in my heart filled again.
Do you have any creepy mushroom books or movies to recommend? Let us know in the comments!
(featured image: HBO)
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