Ladrones De Tumbas 1990 Review
Ladrones De Tumbas 1990
aka Grave Robbers
Directed by: Rubén Galindo Jr.
Starring: Fernando Almada, Rebeca De La Huerta, Germán Bernal
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
The best thing for me about growing older is that you begin noticing new things that you never paid attention to before. Lately, I enjoy nothing more than locking the kitchen door, putting on some music and combining some herbs and spices for dinner. Ten years ago I’d have never believed that I could find such satisfaction from cooking.
So for all those like minded individuals, let me give you a Mexican recipe that I came across recently that’ll warm your cockles. Take an unstoppable zombie, some big haired denim-sporting eighties throwbacks, about 12 gallons of corn syrup and tomato paste. Add in a creepy location, some satanic references and about fifty-tonnes of melted cheese and then put it all in a gumbo pot. Leave it all to simmer for a while and what do you get? Well one of the greatest crazy splatter classics of the nineties!
A Satan worshipping monk is caught trying to sacrifice a local village girl in ancient Mexico. The priest condemns him and finishes him off with an axe to the chest. In his dying breath, the evil satanist swears vengeance on those that will ever remove the hatchet from his body.
Skip forward a few centuries to modern day and we are introduced to a gang of tomb raiders. As you expect, they come across the grave of the menace from the prologue. Before long, he’s back on the road looking for a virgin to impregnate and slaughtering anyone that gets in his way.
Most post Halloween slashers followed John Carpenter’s methodology of placing terror in locations that we all associate with normality. The backdrops of about 90% of the category are places such as schools, streets or holiday camps and the stalking rarely takes place nowadays on a site more related to the venues of old . Although this has a bit to do with limitations of budget, it’s mega refreshing to see that horror for Ruben Galindo Jr is still best portrayed through cobwebs, skeletons, dilapidated basements and crypts. The film has some incredibly lush visuals, with nice bright colours and the sets are gothic and well decorated. He also makes a very good use of his sound effects and the sky is filled with an ominous buzzing of midnight nature, which helps to build the spooky atmosphere.
The plot brings to mind titles such as Evilspeak with its opening and it’s quite supernatural in its theme. But when the killer gets going, the rules and methods stay loyal to the slasher category. Well in fact, I mean the Mexican version of it. It’s interesting to note that films from south of the US border, despite being obviously influenced by Friday and Halloween, actually have their own variations on the template and don’t always follow the traditional navigation completely. I must admit that I enjoyed watching a movie in my mother tongue for a change.
This one though doesn’t waste too much time on delivering a coherent story and the film’s only real ambition is to get cracking with the action as soon as cinematically possible. Much like that other wonderful nineties Mexican slasher, La Noche Del Payaso – Tumbas rolls out its players with very little depth or development, but gets away with it because the rest of the movie is just so much fun. I liked the ‘slightly psychic’ final girl, who predicts the danger and her morally redeemed boyfriend is one that I really wanted to survive. I’m not sure if the English translated versions of this do justice to the hilarity of the dialogue, but for a Spaniard, the lines were delightfully silly in their delivery. It even goes for a cheesier than a dairy ‘happy ending’, which I could do nothing aside from beam at. The real hero of the feature is an elder lawman and he wins over the audience almost immediately with a sterling portrayal. It’s great that the remaining survivors work as a team to defeat the marauding psychopath and the final battle is outrageous and compelling.
The bogeyman has to be amongst the top ten of the genre. He is huge, creepy and unstoppable and he looks great stalking through the forest in his monk’s robe. The axe that he uses is one of the better tools for mass slaughter and as Galindo has proved in his previous efforts, he is not shy to splash some red stuff. We get gore here by the bucket load, which includes decapitations, dismemberment and an internal stomach rip. There’s a humongous body count and a few really good moments, so you will never get bored either.
I’d had a pretty rubbish day before I sat down to watch Ladrones de Tumbas and it was everything that I needed it to be. Despite being shot in 1990, it feels like it was a mid-eighties offering, which only adds to its charm. The only real negatives are the over the top dramatics, which at times border on annoyance, but with so much enjoyment to be had, any complaints are hard to level at this entry
Slick, sharp and always enjoyable, if it becomese available with subtitles, you must give it a shot.
Final Girl √√√
Posted on December 3, 2011, in Slasher and tagged 1990, Blood Frenzy, cheese, gore, grave robbers, killer in the woods, Ladrones de Tumbas, masked killer, ruben galindo jr., Slasher. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.