Chupa: Is the Netflix Movie Based on a True Story or a Book?

Image Credit: Tony Rivetti Jr./Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Chupa’ is an adventure drama movie directed by Jonás Cuarón. The film follows Alex, a young boy who travels to San Javier, Mexico, to spend time with his grandfather and cousins. However, the family soon encounters a Chupacabra cub and befriends it. The group embarks on a quest to protect the cub from a ruthless scientist trying to capture it and reunite the creature with its family. Given the movie’s strong family values and the emotional friendship between a young Alex and the mysterious creature, viewers must be curious to learn if ‘Chupa’ is based on a real event or a book.

The Inspiration Behind Chupa

No, ‘Chupa’ is not based on a true story. Despite the film’s adventure-filled plot, it is also not based on any children’s book, as one might assume. Instead, the movie is based on an original concept from Marcus Rinehart, Sean Kennedy Moore, Joe Barnathan, and Brendan Bellomo, who are credited with formulating the story. The group, except Bellomo, wrote the film’s screenplay with Jonás Cuarón, the son of Academy Award-winner Alfonso Cuarón, directing it. The film’s creative team was obviously inspired by the legend of Chupacabra.

Chupacabra is a legendary creature originating from folklore in Latin American countries. The creature is known for having a reptilian and alien-like appearance and is believed to suck the blood of animals. The first reported sighting of a Chupacabra took place in the town of Moca, Puerto Rico. However, the myth exploded in the 1990s, with several reported sightings of the creature in Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States, etc. For the most part, Chupacabra is a mythical creature whose existence is yet to be proven.

In an interview, director Jonás Cuarón opened up about the conceptualization of the film. He explained that the script subverted the horror tropes of a monster movie, and its family adventure treatment attracted him to the project. Cuarón grew up in Mexico during the 1990s and was well aware of the Chupacabra legend and its cultural relevance. “It was obviously a scary creature, but there was always something exciting about those stories that brought up the possibility of magic out there,” Cuarón told Remezcla about his early recollections of the myth.

In a separate interview, Cuarón revealed that he was inspired by films such as Richard Donner’s 1985 classic family adventure ‘The Goonies,’ and the creature flicks ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial‘ directed by Steven Spielberg and ‘Gremlins.’ Cuarón also explained that he wanted to stress the importance of family through an adventure story. The relationship between Alex, his cousins, and his grandfather forms the movie’s emotional core as they try to reunite the Chupacabra cub with its family.

Similarly, the director highlights facets of Mexican culture as Alex reconnects with his roots, adding another dimension to the story. “This movie actually circles around the whole point that your family is always there for you. Never feel like you have to go into something alone,” actor Evan Whitten, who plays Alex, said about the movie’s primary theme in an interview.

Ultimately, ‘Chupa’ is inspired by the mythical Chupacabra, mainly depicted as a monstrous creature in media. However, the movie tells a heartwarming, feel-good, family-friendly story of courage and determination through Alex’s adventure with Chupa. The movie draws from classic family adventure films of the 1980s, giving it a unique aesthetic. The importance of family and the relationship between the main characters forms the movie’s emotional core, making it emotionally resonant for the viewers.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Chupa Filmed?