René Cardona Jr.

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René Cardona Jr. (1939-2003) was a prolific Mexican filmmaker and actor, son of well-known Mexican director René Cardona, and the father of René Cardona III (also an actor/director).


Cardona Jr. began by acting in his father's films and then took over his father's craft in the mid-1960s, directing, writing, and producing over a hundred films over the years. He enjoyed some notoriety and success particularly in the late 1970s as a result of his Jaws (1975) inspired film Tintorera (1977) which became a cult classic.

He capitalized on the spirit of cooperation between the Mexican, Spanish, and Italian film industries prevalent in the late-1970s and was able to make a spate of comparatively large-budget exploitation films with professional international casts and crews. He also managed to hire several once-popular American actors during this period, such as Joseph Cotten, John Huston, Gene Barry, Stuart Whitman, John Ireland, Arthur Kennedy, and Lionel Stander to help boost international ticket sales. Most of these actors were fresh from similar guest appearances in Italian films of the same period.

This brief period of international success waned in the mid-1980s, and he went back to Spanish-language Mexican "B-films" for the next few decades up to his death. He commonly worked with either Mexican leading man Hugo Stiglitz or Andrés García, who both briefly enjoyed some international fame while regulars in Cardona Jr. films.


He dabbled in a variety of genres, touching everything from disaster movies such as Survive! (1976) and Cyclone (1978) to horror films (Night of a Thousand Cats in 1972), sci-fi films (The Bermuda Triangle in 1978), and even sensational dramas of historic events as the Jonestown Massacre, as retold as Guyana: Crime of the Century (1979).[1]

Cardona Jr. is particularly infamous for his predilection for cruelty towards animals while filming. A live shark was killed during the filming of Tintorera, a cat was thrown over a wall in Night of a Thousand Cats, and live birds were thrown through windows to film the bird attack scenes in Beaks: The Movie (1987).

Selected filmography[edit]


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