ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) has boarded Amazon Prime Video and RTVE’s resurrection of Chicho Ibáñez Serrador’s legendary Spanish horror series “Historias Para No Dormir,” (“Stories to Stay Awake”), which started filming this week in Madrid.
Set as a four-part anthology miniseries, “Historias Para No Dormir” boasts a superstar cast and crew on either side of the camera, with episodes to be directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rodrigo Sorogoyen (“Mother”), Spanish Academy Goya-winner Rodrigo Cortés (“Buried”), “[Rec]” writer-director Paco Plaza, and Paula Ortiz, director of “The Bride.” Local outfit Prointel e Isla Audiovisual has been tasked with producing the reboot.
Episode 1, “La Broma” (The Joke) is currently filming in the Spanish capital, written and directed by Rodrigo Cortés. An interpretation of the 1966 original, the episode is the story of a love triangle including three Goya-winning actors in “While at War” co-stars Eduard Fernandez (“30 Coins”) and Nathalie Poza (“Julieta”), and Raúl Arévalo (“Marshland”).
50 years ago, Chicho Ibáñez Serrador became a household name for Spanish horror thanks to his creation, “Historias Para No Dormir,” a Spanish series which aired from 1966 to 1968 and again in 1982. In 2005, the IP was reformatted for the big screen as a group of shorts in “Peliculas Para No Dormir” (Movies to Stay Awake), with Ibáñez’s contribution “La Culpa” being the filmmaker’s last directorial work. He was joined then by several other Spanish genre masters on the project in Álex de la Iglesia (“30 Coins”), Jaume Balagueró (“[REC]”), Mateo Gil (“Open Your Eyes”), Enrique Urbizu (“The Ninth Gate”) and, back for the series reboot, Paco Plaza.
Ibañez’s work in film and TV anticipated Spain’s surge in upscale genre auteurs from Filmax and Balaguero’s “The Nameless” and helped evolve the medium from low-budget hack-and-slash fare often intended to make a quick buck at the box office to films with aesthetics, psychology and humanistic narratives that stood and stand out in international cinema.
His influence was never felt more publicly than in February 2019 when, four months before his death, Ibañez was recognized with the Spanish Academy Goya Award for lifetime achievement, presented by those who benefited most from his groundbreaking work: Alejandro Amenábar (“The Others”), J.A. Bayona (“The Orphanage”), Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, Rodrigo Cortés, Alex de la Iglesia, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (“28 Weeks Later”) and Nacho Vigalondo (“Colossal”).
“We are incredibly excited to develop and produce ‘Historias Para No Dormir’ with Prointel e Isla Audiovisual, for Amazon Prime Video and RTVE,” said Laura Abril, head of VIS EMEAA. “Partnering with major industry players is a key part of our studio’s strategy, as well as betting on local content with a global appeal. ‘Historias Para No Dormir’ will feature top local talents, rebooting an iconic series by one of the most relevant Spanish TV creators ever. The series will offer global audiences the best of the traditional horror genre with a modern twist.”