EDITOR’S NOTE: We couldn’t be more excited that Vinegar Syndrome is releasing this astounding blast of Mexican VHS horror on blu ray. If you love Fulci-esque blood-splattered movies that leap genre and feel through their running time, you need to see this movie. This article originally ran in Drive-In Asylum #19, which you can buy on their etsy store.
I was hunting for the perfect movie for this issue of Drive-In Asylum. My goal with each thing I write for this twisted tome is to discover something new. A film that perhaps people have missed. And certainly one that no one is talking about.
Cementerio del Terror is the perfect movie to answer all of those needs and more.
Directed by Rubén Galindo Jr., who also helmed the utterly baffling Don’t Panic! and Grave Robbers, this película de terror combines so many influences and films that it feels like the best DJ mix you’ve never heard of Evil Dead, Halloween and a children’s film while still boasting all of the grisly rojo gore that you crave.
Set in Texas, filmed in Spanish and utterly unconcerned with things like good taste or common sense, this movie appeals to every level of what I demand in cinema. Let me set it all up for you, muchacho: Dr. Cardan (Hugo Stiglitz, whose half-century movie career has led to roles in beloved junk like Tintorera…Killer Shark, Guyana: Cult of the Damned and Nightmare City) has left behind the scientific method to become a religious maniac determined to stop Satan himself from resurrecting the dead.
Then there’s Devlon, who has just killed seventeen people and his parents before being stopped by the police. Dr. Cardan knows that this is the exact body that El Diablo needs to begin his nefarious scheme, screaming “He’s not a man like you and me – he’s a demon!” as if he’s the Loomis to Devlon’s Miguel Myers.
If only six hard-partying teenagers armed with a book of spells didn’t steal the body of said serial killer. If only they hadn’t taken it to la casa junto al cementerio. If only they hadn’t accidentally raised the living dead.
This is the leap in logic this movie demands that you make: These sexy ladies were promised a rock ‘n roll concert by these moronic men and they make due with the body of a dead convict and rituals in a graveyard. These women were promised a rock concert and a jet set party and are instead rewarded with a bearded zombie who uses his fingernails to massacre every single one of them.
Everyone dies in the most bloody fashion possible, but only after they drink and dance to some of the worst disco you’ve ever heard, which makes this movie even better.
Just when you say to yourself, “The entire cast of this movie is dead!” a bunch of kids, led by one in a Michael Jackson tour jacket, enter the house and comically discover the disemboweled bodies of every one of the Satanic teens before they face off mano y mano with Devlon himself.
Throats are slashed. Blood is sprayed. Axes find their way into faces. Entire rooms get possessed. Kids goof around and hide behind tombstones as the film wildly shifts tone and becomes the goriest episode of Scooby-Doo ever.
Cementerio del Terror is unbridled joy, made by someone who it feels like got to play with all the toys that he always dreamed of owning. It shamelessly steals from so many films that it makes you throw up your hands and enjoy the ride. I mean, how many movies start off with buckets of crimson viscera and end with little kids saving the day before tossing in a shock ending?
There is no cynicism here, no winks to the camera that horror needs to be elevated and escaped from. That’s why I seek out stuff like this. These kind of flicks are a drug that I try and mainline into my veins at any opportunity. I suggest you do the same.
You can watch this movie on Daily Motion: