Thursday, October 29, 2009


Original Title: Cementerio del Terror
Year: 1985
Director: Rubén Galindo Jr.
Writer: Rubén Galindo Jr.
Genre: Horror

A professor suspects that a vicious killer may have discovered a way to return from the grave and continue his violent spree. His fears are proved true when a group of teenagers decide to pull a Halloween prank by stealing the killer's body from the morgue. When the teens recite an incantation from an old magic book over the corpse, it begins to come back to life, along with all of the bodies from the nearby cemetery.

I read almost nothing about this film before I watched it and thought it was going to be a straight-up zombie flick from the name. What it ended up being was a the start of a Friday the 13th slasher morphing into a zombie film with a little hint of an Evil Dead, all of which was surprisingly entertaining.

Knowing that Hugo Stiglitz was in this, I admittedly sighed a bit. Hugo and I have been through a lot together this month. I've seen his fuzzy mug about as much as I have seen my wife's face it seems, and I have some to the realization... probably not all that surprisingly... that while his name is awesome, and he is in some entertaining(ly bad) films, the dude cannot act. This sad lack of skill is on display for everyone to see here.

Ugh, the poor guy can't even pretend to sleep! It was almost convincing when the shot started behind his chair, but as soon as you see his face, it looks more like he's pretending to enjoy a toothy BJ than in a deep sleep.

Driving around with a concerned look on his face isn't his strong suit either. And you'll see a lot of that fucking driving. I felt like I was watching the hovering helicopter creeper from Night of 1000 Cats again! If they cut out Stiglitz silently looking back and forth while being awkwardly lit by a hand held camera in the passenger seat, this film would probably be 10 minutes shorter.

His suit is pretty atrocious/awesome though. He needs some Ray Bans with that shit!

Stiglitz "plays" a doctor who is pursuing a former serial killer turned supernaturally possessed fucker Devlon (José Gómez Parcero). Devlon has to be the worst killer name EVER in a horror film. Wow. I must have looked away when they explained why Devlon was now dead and just sitting in a morgue. Honestly, the first half of the film was kind of like that for me. Through the first 40 minutes, I really thought it was going to lose me. They do a lot of setting up with getting the young kids in one place, getting the old kids in another, getting Stiglitz driving around while mouth breathing.

When things get rolling, however, I was a kid with the lights off again. This film may not be the most unique horror flick in the bunch, but it has the gore and the stupid victim syndrome thing in full effect, and it gave me quite a nostalgic feeling as a result.

Devlon is quite the formidable killer. Not only does he slice motherfuckers with his BARE HANDS (no machete here, bitches!) he also seems to have some sort of telekinetic ability as doors slam by themselves and one poor sap meets the wrong end of his own axe.

Devlon's kill music is kind of a combination of Halloween and Friday the 13th with strings and piano AND heavy breathing, but I guess this is probably due to the fact that he is a mash-up of all these American super-slashers... with a little bit of Satan sprinkled on top for good measure.

He don't need no stinkin' mask!

Was that racist?

The story with the children involved really didn't seem all that unique, but it was still satisfying regardless. I guess this film caught me at a good time. Some kids decide to fuck around with a black book they find in an abandoned house and read some Satanic rite over the corpse of Devlon they just stole from the morgue. What a boring night, right? Well, they thought so too, so they head back to the abandoned house when the rain gets heavy and start making out and drinking. Any veteran of 80s slashers knows what happens to teens that drink and fornicate!

Another group of younger kids out trick-or-treating and daring each other to walk to the middle of the creepy cemetery get tied up in the whole sordid Devlon affair also when Devlon bores of the fornicators and heads back to fuck with the kids. Luckily, one kid is wearing his lucky Michael Jackson jacket, so they fare a bit better against our killer.

Again, as with so many of the films I have covered lately, the direction and camerawork is nothing overly impressive, although there are a few nice high and low angle shots in the abandoned house with kills and with revealing Devlon that add a nice dramatic effect.

A difference I have noticed in these Mexican horror films from the American ones I am more familiar with is a lack of the jump out at you, gotcha scares. I am a base level moron when it comes to horror films, so gore and gotchas appeal to me. But these films I have watched, and maybe many more Mexican horror films(?), Cemetery of Terror included, rely much more on old school type scares... mood and slow tension as opposed to something jumping out at you. While this can work for more refined horror tastes I would imagine, it rarely lends any scares for my jaded eyes.

If anyone better versed in Mexican horror films has any input on this, I'd love to hear it!

Just when I had settled in with a supernatural slasher, Devlon throws me a curveball and starts summoning zombies! Now they are really trying to win me over! The zombies have rubber masks obviously, but they look fine, and any zombie appearance helps in my enjoyment. Another thing that adds to enjoyment is watching the director use the same 4 zombies to seem like 40! I swear I saw the same bald, hump-shouldered zombie emerge from a crypt at least 5 times!

This film was a real nostalgic trip for me. I think that people who are bigger horror fans than me may scoff at Cemetery of Terror, but watching it tonight I saw elements of slasher/horror films that I used to love as a kid, and it left a smile on my face. Again, it isn't well acted (lookin at you Stiglitz!) and nothing all that spectacular, but all the little parts were just fun.

Recommended for the old school rip off vibe! And for Hugo Stiglitz' exploding cross of doom!

Score: 5.75 / 10

No comments: