Luis Batista In ‘The Horror of Dolores Roach,’ Explained: Why Did Luis Support Dolores?


When Luis Batista was introduced to us in The Horror of Dolores Roach, he was the weird cannibal who had loved Dolores since his childhood. Honestly, his cannibalism dominated his personality and his reactions to the events unfolding around him. He was really quite the character, who saw his food in murder, and his easy-going attitude was in stark contrast to Dolores’ panic attacks. His whole approach to cannibalism was that he was the only one who knew the secret to good food, and when he started making empanadas with human meat, he acted as if he was doing the world a favor by introducing them to the real taste of things. This is actually how a lot of non-vegetarian friends (the animal-meat-eating kind) treat their vegan and vegetarian friends. They often say to imagine meat as tofu or cottage cheese and just gulp it down.

Maybe Luis wanted people to imagine human flesh as chicken or lamb. In a very strange, dark, and twisted way, we think he really believed in equality of life, and that is why he found no difference in butchering a chicken or a fully grown man since all lives are equal and it is only a societal construct that makes human flesh taboo. We are not supporting cannibalism but decoding Luis Batista’s brain and getting to the full extent of its depravity. We cannot forget that it was he who offered an empanada to Jonah, knowing that the son would be eating his own father. Luis was not being petty or spiteful when he was doing that, but he genuinely thought that he was being polite and introducing Jonah to a delicacy. Or maybe we are wrong, and it was indeed Luis’ revenge against Gideon Pearlman for threatening him with rent.

We believe that Luis must have killed people before. He was not the kind of person to deprive himself of anything. The way he spoke about the taste of human flesh and compared it to regular meat is an indication of the fact that he cooked enough with it. But so far, he has only done it in a personal capacity. Maybe he stole meat from the morgue or had a contact who slipped him what he needed. Whatever the case may be, Luis had definitely murdered at least once or twice in his lifetime for the sake of his hunger. That is why he was so nonchalant about the idea of taking a human being’s life, as long as he felt that it could be justified, no matter how weak. Not one of Dolores’ kills had a valid reason. Pure anger drove her, and then came the need to keep the secrets. Then came Joy’s death, and even that did not prove to be Luis’ last straw, which proves how little human life mattered to him. In a way, that is how most human beings function with our systems of food, except that Luis extended that philosophy to human meat as well. This is not a discourse on non-vegetarianism. Food habits are steeped in culture, access, and affordability, and Luis justified his and Dolores’ actions by twisting these very factors in his mind.

At one point in The Horror of Dolores Roach, we find a very humanized Luis Batista when we come to know what he had to face in his childhood. Keep in mind that it is not an excuse for his cannibalism but an attempt to understand him as a person. Luis was sexually abused as a child by his father’s girlfriend, and he internalized all that shame and guilt to build a narrative where he was the villain of the story. Luis even tried to harm himself, and he carries the mental scars of that to this day. We don’t think Luis has completely gotten over that. He still doesn’t believe that his father’s girlfriend was wrong in this whole scenario, and this makes us think that he probably never had anyone to protect him and tell him that everything would be okay. Maybe that is why he has such a skewed moral compass. It is important to remember that we say this by separating his need for human flesh from the actual committing of murder.

Something else that defined Luis as a person was his love for Dolores. All we knew about their relationship before Dolores’ incarceration was that she used to sell him marijuana and that she also loved their shop’s empanadas. Knowing Luis’ past, we are inclined to believe that Dolores’ occasional smile was the only kindness in his life at that point. Kindness brings attachment, and in some very unfortunate cases, like Luis’, it becomes the basis for the illusion of love. For Dolores, a relationship with Luis was a necessity, initially for room and food and then to keep covering up her murders. She wanted to run away with him so that she would have the money from the sale of the restaurant and could lead a comfortable life. But when that did not pan out, she did not hesitate to let him know how low her opinion was of him.

Yet Luis kept saying that he loved her, and Dolores was pushed into a corner. We don’t think she killed him for a specific purpose. He was just another in a long list of irritations, and in her panicked state, Dolores wanted to get rid of him. Despite everything, we kind of feel that Luis did not deserve what was coming to him. Nothing about him struck us as particularly evil. But again, his sensibilities would never have taken the world into consideration, which means that his rampage would have continued, and that is the kind of evil that we can do nothing about. He is not creating chaos for fun but for his own needs. His death was karmic but passing away from this world had to be the best thing for him and everyone around him. As we write this, we remember how he framed Nellie, and our soft spot for him completely disappears, not to mention the trick he pulled with Jonah and the empanadas. We suppose we only felt bad for him because of how Dolores treated him, but a person like Luis definitely deserved what was coming to him.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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