The Phone Box

Recently one of the most prolific Spanish actors, José Luis López Vázquez, passed away at the age of 87. With over 200 movies and TV appearances in his portfolio, as well as many theater roles and several awards, his loss was a huge blow. Sadly, he was largely unknown internationally. While his work on eccentric movies is quite limited, they’re definitely worth a look – besides acting in the sequel to cult romp Torrente, he appeared in a TV short from the 70’s that to this day remains a hallmark of Spanish television: The Phone Box. Being masterfully executed, this unique story of a man that becomes trapped inside a phone box managed to reach levels of claustrophobia and desperation rarely experienced on TV. It very deservedly won an Emmy award.

To homage his death, the short has been posted entirely on one of Spain’s major media corporations. Although the film is obviously in Spanish, it can still be universally appreciated since there is barely any dialogue and the situation is perfectly understandable by anyone. You should seriously check this out as it’s definitely one of the creepiest shorts you will ever see.

The Phone Box

Link: La Cabina (1972) (TV)

(keep in mind the actual short begins at exactly the 9:25 minute mark of the video)

5 Responses to “The Phone Box”

  1. Taio says:

    Excellent short, I’ve just seen it. It makes me remember to “¿Quién puede matar a un niño?” (“Who can kill a child?”), not because of the story but because of the atmosphere, and it is spanish too.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Agustín says:

    I completely agree, “¿Quién puede matar a un niño?” is another highlight of the 70’s Spanish horror! You’re correct in that the mood and style are quite similar. It’s such a shame that movies like this are practically unknown anywhere but in Spain…

    I will be certainly covering “¿Quién puede… ?” and possibly another outstanding classic by the same director, “La Residencia” (aka “The House That Screamed”).

    Have you seen the horror movies by Carlos Enrique Taboada, from Mexico?

  3. mercury says:

    Well, what a rush. Even though i don’t speak spanish (yet) i had no problem following the film. I must say, until the end i had difficulties putting the movie into a certain category and even now i am puzzled about the reasons for kidnapping and passivly killing those people. The lack of explanation given is what truly sets the mood. So the true horror starts the moment the movie ends (even though it grabs you to see that man getting more and more desperate, losing all hope). I am truly glad, that there are no more phone boxes in my area today, i bet if i had watched that film when i was little, i would have avoided phonboxes for quite some time.
    Thanks for bringing up that film, it was absorbing to be able to watch it.

  4. Agustín says:

    Thank you for the insightful comments! You make a very good point: only at the shocking ending the true nature of the short is revealed. I was actually thinking it was pretty much a comedy until that point…

  5. Igor Hardy says:

    I watched this once in awful VHS quality. Pure Kafka.