Thursday, October 29, 2009


Original Title: Ladrones de tumbas (Grave Robbers)
Year: 1990
Director: Rubén Galindo Jr.
Writer: Rubén Galindo Jr., Carlos Valdemar
Genre: Horror

A group of grave robbers stumble into a crypt which houses the corpse of a vile Satanist killed during the Inquisition long ago. Upon removing an axe from the corpses chest, they inadvertently revive the Satanist who goes on the hunt once again for a virgin suitable to give birth to the Antichrist.

Galindo is back! He brought the slasher and well, not so much the zombies with him!

I kinda had it in my brain, especially with the ending of Cemetery of Terror, that Grave Robbers was going to be a sequel in some way. I didn't read it or anything, but they just seem to No such luck, but it was still a decent little flick that stood fine on its own.

This film provided quite a bit more gore and a more balanced story overall (things started off pretty strong and it more or less kept up the pace), but it lacked that nostalgic feeling for me that I got from Cemetery. That may not be a fair assessment since I watched them 12 hours apart or so, but that was just my gut reaction.

No true kids in this one, only very young adults who rob graves for profit. None of them particularly stood out, but if it weren't for them, then our demonic friend, El Verdugo (Agustín Bernal), would never had had his time in the spotlight. The actors' jobs in this one are really to set the story in motion, then run away screaming or dying. Bernal didn't have much of a speaking part, but his hulking form and sick makeup were quite a sight. In theory I suppose he was a zombie, although he was definitely not mindless as they are so often portrayed. Nice costume on his throughout the film... particularly his face makeup which I thought was pretty cool.

The other role of note was that of the police Captain Lopez (Fernando Almada). Almada did a fine job as the Captain, although nothing to write home about. He played the prototypical horror-hero despite the interesting twist thrown in there early that he wasn't used to firing a gun because nothing really happens in their little town. So you may find it odd that he is getting a local gunsmith to make him a goddamn MACHINE GUN just for fun? Good thing he had it though because El Verduga really needed some useless holes in his chest.

The Captain also stores dynamite in his closet at home.


I know.

Militia man in the making.

The story is pretty straightforward and uses many horror conventions that even I the horror novice can see. We have the aforementioned hero, the bad boy turned good, the helpless ladies, the totally illogical choices that serve to move the story along, the ultimate final showdown, etc. There's nothing really new.

The frizzy hair and 80s holdover clothing definitely wasn't new.

While there are some neat little flourishes here and there, Galindo is satisfied just telling the story as is and giving the gore fans what they want. Unlike the other Mexi-horror flicks I have watched recently, this one actually had a few loud music, jump out gotcha scares. This one relied less on the tension build up. Can be cheap, yes, but it's all in good fun.

And speaking of cheap, gore effects do not come so, and the lack of budget shows here. Some people may be frustrated by fake looking effects, but then some of us appreciate them for what they are. You'll get a wide array of fakies here from the extra big torso to the rubber face to the severed hand. The right audience will be smiling the whole way through. The effects lacking gore were not that great either outside the makeup and costumes, but the heart was there so it counts for something.

It is interesting how it seems that Satan is going to be the likely evil culprit in these Mexican horror films as opposed to just say a monster or alien, although there are those around in films also. I've gotten a real sense through the cinema how much bigger religion is in the Mexican lifestyle as it is so very good and evil even down to the scuzzy genre films.

Ladrones de Tumbas was fun, but I just didn't get into it as much as it's older sister Cemetery. While it is good I was not sharing my afternoon with Stiglitz again, for as much talking as there is in this film, no characters are all that compelling, and it did feel like more of the same especially after watching a similar storyline with borrowed horror elements within the same 24-hour period.

I know this comes on a two-fer set with Cemetery, so I may recommend it then. It's worth a watch.

Score: 5.75 / 10

1 comment:

raculfright_13 said...

Saw this one on Hallowen and it was great, that little hymn song in the opening still creeps me out!