Trampa Infernal 1990 Review
Trampa Infernal 1989
aka Hell’s Trap
Directed by: Pedro Galindo III
Starring: Pedro Fernández, Edith González, Charly Valentino
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Rumour has it that around the time that ABBA – the multi-award winning Swedish disco favourites –’s star had reached its zenith, the band grew disillusioned with singing in English and yearned to perform in their native tongue. Soon after, problems began to emerge in the one-time-wed-locked-watertight partnership and recordings became less and less frequent. The band dissolved, albeit unofficially, in 1982 and pop lost one of its most celebrated artists. Although they have never admitted that there’s any truth in those rumours, the fact remains that ABBA would never have been so successful had they not adapted from their homeland. If you want to appeal to the largest money-making media market in the entire world, then you must cater for English speaking audiences.
It’s amazing for me how such a small island that’s located a stone’s throw away from the European continent could have created perhaps the most recognised, although not most widely spoken, language in the world. Everyone speaks a little bit of English; whether it be simply ‘hello’ or a common swear word – you’ll find someone that can assist you in that tongue almost everywhere. As a Spaniard, I love my language and think it’s much more beautiful than English. However, I’m aware that there’s far more information to be found globally en el idioma Ingés. Pedro Galindo obviously didn’t agree, because Trampa Infernal was never subtitled for global consumption until it was released very recently on budget DVD. That’s a real shame, because it’s actually a decent slasher movie that’s a lot better than many of its genre buddies from across the border even.
The film launches in the somewhat unfamiliar territory of a pistol duel. Two unidentified characters are shown sneaking around a dilapidated complex searching out one another for the inevitable final showdown. After some suspense and a couple of near misses, one of the pistoleers, Nacho, emerges victoriously. Next we learn that they were only paintball guns and the two competitors are actually youngsters from the local town. He and Mauricio are fiercest rivals and Mauricio is always trying to prove himself to be better than his soft-spoken opponent, but as of yet he hasn’t succeeded.
Later that night, whilst the victorious gunslinger celebrates his triumph with his girlfriend Alejandra and his buddy Charly, Mauricio enters the bar and says that he has one last challenge for his nemesis. He says that this will be the competition that will prove to the town once and for all who deserves the uttermost respect. Nacho is at first reluctant because Alejandra warns him of the perils of continual competitiveness, but he eventually succumbs to the weight of peer pressure and agrees; much to the distaste of his morally superior partner.
They plan to head out to the remote region of Filo de Caballo, because recent press coverage has reported that numerous people have been butchered by what locals believe to be a vicious bear. Mauricio proposes that whoever murders the animal can be regarded as the greatest and he also promises that it will be the last battle that he wages against his adversary.
After visiting the armoury to stock up on weapons and ignoring the warnings of the elderly store-keeper, the group set out to the remoteness of the secluded woodland. Hunters become hunted as they learn that the ‘bear’ is actually a homicidal Vietnam vet who is still unaware that the war has ended and considers all humans as his enemy. What started as a competitive adventure suddenly becomes a battle for survival as they are stalked and slaughtered by the malevolent assassin.
I picked up Trampa whilst studying in Sevilla from a Mexican student who lived in the dorm room next-door to me. I remember that the copy I watched was faulty and the tape ended about 10 minutes before the final credits rolled, which meant I never got to see the final scenes. I still own that VHS today, but thankfully I came across the budget DVD recently on Amazon and immediately added it to my collection.
Gallindo’s slasher is a surprisingly good effort that excels mainly because of its skilful direction and enthusiastic plot, which attempts to cover areas not usually approached by slasher movies. It is in fact so good that I was reminded of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger hit Predator, on occasion. There’s something about the way that the creepy-masked assassin jogs through the forest and stalks the panic-stricken troupe as they struggle to escape the maniac’s ability to blend into the wilderness
Despite Gallindo’s obvious awareness of genre platitudes (the bogeyman even uses a claw-fingered glove a la Freddy Kruegar), Trampa attempts to add something different to the standard template. Whilst the majority of the runtime plays by the concrete rules of the category, the final third heralds a significant step in originality, as the maniac arms himself with a machine gun and entices the hero to his lair for the final showdown. From here on, the film rapidly swaps genres and becomes almost an action film, which depending on your taste will either excite or disappoint you. The last slasher that tried to crossbreed the two styles was that shoddy eighties entry ‘The Majorettes’, which made a real mess of the combination
As is the case with many Latin films (especially Spanish flicks by Almodovar and Amenabar), Trampa has a subtle undercurrent of a moral to its story, which is conveyed successfully without being forcibly rammed down the viewer’s throat. Over indulge in the temptations of competitive masculinity and you may not always be the winner. It’s a sugar-coated point, but it’s handled delicately enough not to detract from the fun of the feature.
Trampa may be cheesy, but it deserves to be seen and recognised as one of the better late slashers. The killer looks great in creepy army fatigues and white Valentine-style mask and the attempts at originality just about work. It may lack the gore that most sincere horror fans enjoy, but it has enough in terms of suspense and creativity to warrant at least one viewing.
Final Girl √√