HBO premieres bizarre new thriller about coins used to betray Jesus Christ

'30 Coins' promotional photo
"30 Coins" promotional photo | HBO

HBO’s latest international production, “30 Coins,” premiered this week and the Spanish-language horror series from director Álex de la Iglesia is an immersion of religion and darkness that terrorizes the remote town of Pedraza, Spain. 

Directed by de la Iglesia, who's known for horror films such as “The Day of the Beast,” "30 Coins" takes viewers on a dark twisted journey into discovering what happened to the coins used to betray Jesus Christ. 

The eight-episode drama series follows “Father Vergara (Eduard Fernández), an exorcist, boxer, and ex-convict who is exiled by the church to be the priest of a remote town in Spain. As his past and old enemies come back to haunt him, strange things begin to happen. An unlikely task force forms as Mayor Paco (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and local vet Elena (Megan Montaner) seek the truth, while reality is distorted by a cursed coin which is at the heart of a global conspiracy,” the series' synopsis reads. 

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Co-written by de la Iglesia and Jorge Guerricaechevarría, the series highlights occult practices of communicating with spirits by using things such as a Ouija board.

Shot in Rome, Paris, New York, Jerusalem, Geneva, and throughout Spain, “30 Coins” features frightening sci-fi creatures. The plot follows a theme that no one can be trusted as they try to uncover more information about Judas’ dirty money. 

The series is inspired by Matthew 26:15 where, before the Last Supper, Judas goes to the chief priests and agrees to hand over Jesus in exchange for 30 silver coins. However, this is not a Christian series. 

The series, produced in participation with HBO Latin America, was created by Pokeepsie Films.

“30 Coins” was world premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

According to a review by The Daily Beast, the show contains “Possession and exorcism, witches and resurrections, suicide and murder, red-clad cardinals and the pope himself.” The review said that “30 Coins” “revolves around a secret Catholic cult of Cainites — led by a fiend from Vergara’s past — who covet Judas’ 30 coins because they believe any items that caused Christ pain contain immense spiritual power.”

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