One of Mexico's most prevalent myths is getting the Hollywood treatment.
This weekend, The Curse of La Llorona is making its way to multiplexes everywhere, offering a fresh take on a chill-inducing piece of folklore. ET's Ash Crossan recently sat down with Venezuelan actress Patricia Velasquez to talk about how she first came to know the legend of La Llorona, or The Weeping Woman.
"Well, I grew up with it," she recalled. "I'm Venezuelan but I grew up in Mexico. And La Llorona, this is how Mom got us to make sure we would come back at five, it gets dark, you're inside. Or La Llorona will get you. La Llorona is real for us."
In the film, Velasquez plays a mother struggling to protect her children from the vengeful entity when Anna, played by Linda Cardellini, attempts to help her, leading to disastrous consequences.
According to the film's version of the legend, La Llorona was once a young bride in a small Mexican town who bore two sons with a dashing husband who won her heart. However, one day she catches her husband with another woman. In a moment of crazed jealousy, she drowns her children. When he realizes what she's done, she also drowns herself and since is doomed to roam the earth looking for children to replace her own.
Velasquez went on to explain the number of times she's heard the terrifying personal stories about the frightful bogeywoman.
"All of us, either we heard, we touch her, we've seen her," she said, adding, "I had someone the other day tell me that La Llorona touched her shoulder. So there's all kinds of stories. If you start asking around, you will be surprised. She's extremely important for us."
Velasquez also discussed her breakout role in 1999's The Mummy, which is about to turn 20 years old in May.
"I had no idea The Mummy was going to be such a big film," she admitted. "I literally just went to meet the casting director just to say 'Hi' because I had just arrived in L.A., and the next thing I know, the day after I'm flying to London. I had no idea what it was."
She also added that, to this day, she is regularly stopped by people who recognize her from the action-adventure film.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't get somebody, and it's usually younger kids, you know, because they show it on TV. It's such an honor," she said.