Sunday, November 07, 2010


I should know better. I was so excited by the low-budget, science-gone-awry fun of MANSQUITO/MOSQUITO MAN that I forgot my Crap Detector the next time I went to the video store. Which is how I ended up with the awful CHUPACABRA TERROR, the kind of film that gives the phrase "straight to video" a bad name.

Oh sure, it starts off well enough, whipping through the simplistic set-up in about 15 breezy minutes: A scientist (an almost unrecognizable Giancarlo Esposito) nets a mythical chupacabra (sort of like a Latino Bigfoot, only meaner) while on a hunt in South America. Surprisingly, it seems the best way to transport the creature is on the luxury liner captained by a slumming, ageless John Rhys-Davies (didn't he make ANY money appearing in a five of the biggest-grossing films of all-time?) who has put in a call to a military pal (Dylan Neal) in order to snare an on-board thief.

Within minutes of setting sail, the chupacabra is loose and no passenger – thankfully – is safe, including a creepy gigolo, the old lady with the dog (no points if you see this coming), and Rhys-Davies' daughter, who appears to be a teenager, yet is the ship's kickboxing instructor and flirts with both Esposito and Neal. Um, okay.

Unfortunately, once those 15 minutes are up the remainder of CHUPACABRA TERROR (yes, I just like typing the word "Chupacabra") is pure, slow-moving torture. A low budget is one thing, but a script that has Espositio say "I've trapped it before, I can trap it again" THREE TIMES just isn't trying hard enough.

While there's a bit of gore, lots of spraying blood, and the occasional chunk of mystery meat falling from the chupacabra's mouth, it's not enough to endorse this rubbish. And how come the monster, which hustles about with cool sped-up motion early in the flick, conveniently moves at a laborious pace whenever the plot demands?

Buy CHUPACABRA TERROR at Amazon. You can read this and hundreds more reviews like it at Exploitation Retrospect: The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media.

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