Literally "Den of Wolves", Cuna de lobos is a popular Mexican telenovela that ran from 1986 to 1987. It starred María Rubio as ruthless matriarch Catalina Creel, along with Gonzalo Vega and Diana Bracho as the main couple.
The Larios family is the head of giant pharmaceutical company Lar-Creel. In order to insure that her son inherits the family fortune, matriarch Catalina Creel fakes an accident involving her stepson to manipulate him. One day, however, her husband Carlos tells her that he knows she is faking her blindness and is going to write her out of the will and reveal her secret. She poisons and kills him before he is able to alter the will. After a quick funeral without an autopsy, it is revealed that no one can inherit his fortune until they have a son first. Catalina's son Alejandro is married, but his wife is infertile, while stepson José Carlos is a bachelor. Catalina commits several crimes to insure that her son will receive the inheritance.
In the tradition of popular telenovelas, it has been remade a few times to varying success and has been endlessly parodied. Televisa remade the novela as a limited miniseries in 2019 starring Spanish actress Paz Vega as the role of Catalina Creel.
The novela contains examples of:
- The '80s
- Abusive Parents: Catalina is on the emotional abusive spectrum. She keeps guilt-tripping José Carlos ever since the accident. Even more cruel since said accident never made her blind.
- Affably Evil: Catalina keeps the facade of the Grand Dame and family mother, but she is rotten to the heart and only cares for power and mostly her son.
- Baby Factory: Poor Leonora's role in Alejandro's scheme. Alejandro need to father an heir but his wife is sterile. Then he cons Leonora into a relationship (with a fake marriage!) To get her pregnant. Then steals her baby and disappears.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Catalina, for sure.
- Downer Ending: At the end most of the cast is dead. José Carlos and Leonora can now live happily and she's finally reunited with her long lost son...But then it's revealed the boy doesn't consider them his parents (having been raised by Alejandro and Vilma all his life) and is planning to follow Catalina's footsteps in order to murder them in the future...
- Crime After Crime: Catalina murders her husband, because he found out she doesn't have a blind eye. Then the story goes on trying to murder every character that knows either secrets (or both).
- Driven to Suicide: Catalina after she knows Alejandro is dead in accident that was supposed to kill Josè Carlos and Leonora.
- Electrified Bathtub: In one of the most famous scenes, Catalina gets rid of Inspector Suárez by pushing him to the pool and then throwing a lawnmower in afterwards.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all of the atrocities she does, you can clearly tell Catalina loves Alejandro. In her own strange way, that is. It could also apply to Alejandro, who acts like a completely different person when he's with Vilma.
- Evil Matriarch: Catalina Creel, possibly the most famous of this type of telenovela villain.
- Eyepatch of Power: Catalina Creel had one of the most famous (and conspicious) in the history of telenovelas.
- He Knows Too Much: Ultimately the reason why Catalina killed Carlos at the beginning of the story. He realized Catalina had faked her eye injury all those years and he had blamed José Carlos unjustly. But when he's about to modify his will to give him the fortune instead of Alejandro, Catalina poisons him.
- Faking the Dead: Bertha Moscoso does this to escape a certain death
- Foreign Remake: Spain made its own version in 2002, titled La verdad de Laura with the help of Televisa. In this version, the mother was paralyzed rather than blinded in one eye.
- Foreshadowing: A couple of episodes before Suarez' death you can see the camera ocasionally focusing on a lawnmower for apparently random reasons.
- Gaslighting: What Catalina did to Josè Carlos (and to a lesser extent to his father) his entire life. She made him and everyone believe that Josè blinded her eye to make him appear violent and untrustworthy, so he will be passed over for the inheritance to her son advantage.
- Hotter and Sexier: The 2019 remake of the series had Paz Vega in the role, who was 43 at the time and a lot of emphasis was placed on the actress's attractiveness and had her dress in more provocative and revealing clothes.
- Karma Houdini: Catalina Creel is one. While it's true that she ends up killing herself at the end after causing Alejandro's dead by mistake, she is never caught or punished for any of her crimes. This is even more evident in the remake, where Catalina ends up living happily with Leonora's son.
- Murder by Mistake: Catalina accidentally kills Alejandro and Vilma by provoking a plane crash that was originally meant for José Carlos and Leonora. This results in her Despair Event Horizon and commiting suicide just as the police is about to catch her.
- Obfuscating Disability: Catalina pretended that she was blind after a supposed accident caused by José Carlos, just so her husband would give psrental favoritism to her son Alejandro.
- Perfect Poison: The substance Catalina uses to get rid of Carlos and Gutiérrez.
- Pillow Pregnancy: Vilma uses this while Leonora is the one pregnant so they can steal her baby during childbirth.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The death of Carlos Larios brings Leonora to the lives of the Larios family and most of the events that happen afterwards are closely related to it.
- Red Right Hand: Catalina's infamously conspicious eyepatch. Particularly egregious since she only pretends to be blind of one eye as part of her evil machinations.
- The Remake: Televisa made a remake in 2011 called Por derecho de sangre. It was Cut Short at 13 episodes because of its high production costs.
- Televisa tried their hand again in 2019 this time making a limited miniseries with 25 episodes instead of the typical 100+ of regular telenovelas. However, there was quite a bit of controversy in the Latin-American blogosphere due to casting Spanish Paz Vega over a Mexican actress. Regardless, any actress cast in the role would have a hard time living up the legacy of María Rubio's take on the character.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: Catalina slips poison in Carlos' drink to get rid of him on the first episode.
- Telenovela: Duh.
- The Unfavorite: To say José Carlos was this to Catalina is a bit of an understatement. Justified because it's revealed she's his stepmother.