Year Released: 1997
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 81 minutes
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The Chupacabra, for those of you who live north of, say, San Antonio, is a legendary mythical(?) beast implicated in hundreds of ghastly animal mutilations and worse throughout the Southwest. Literally Spanish for “one who sucks blood from goats,” the mystery of the Chupacabra has had investigators concocting theories depicting the beasts as being the result of U.S. government genetic experiments gone wrong, surviving descendants of the dinosaurs, bloodthirsty extra-terrestrials and even spawns of Satan. A sort of Latin American/Tex-Mex mythical critter to rival the likes of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and crop circles, the legend of the Chupacabra is very real. This pseudo documentary from Troma Home Video, quite obviously, is not.
Very loosely structured along similar lines as “Blair Witch” — and these days, what isn’t? — “The Legend of the Chupacabra” depicts three cryptozoology students from Santa Maria University; leader Maria Esperanza (Katsy Joiner) and camera operators Pete Cortez (J.T. Trevino) and whiny crybaby Daniel Webster (Chris Doughton), along with heavily armed mercenary George Armestead (Stan McKinney) heading off into the rugged hinterlands of the Texas/Mexico border to document and, if possible, capture a Chupacabra. The students wind up at the ranch of a Mr. Jackson (Paul Podraza), the scene of the latest Chupacabra attack, where much bloodshed and even more blatant stupidity ensues. When the resulting animal attacks inevitably occur, the sheriff and a few ranch hands become the latest victims. Worse, Maria has been bitten and, like a victim of an extremely nasty form of rabies, will die a gruesome and painful death unless she can kill a Chupacabra. (First of the many logic flaws in this film: If no one’s even seen one of these things, how do they know this is the remedy?)
In any event, they seek out Luisa (Darlene Tygrett) and Sarah (Brenda J. Ambrize), two of the sexiest witches I’ve ever seen, who lead the Esperanza Expedition to the Chupacabra’s lair where, again, more bloodshed and even more blatant stupidity ensues.
At this point, either Joe Castro’s film came up a little short on running time, he decided to get good mileage out of his latex creature and show it off a little bit, or both, because the film’s finale de-evolves into a blatant knock-off of Fox’ “Alien Autopsy.”
This silly film works okay as a straightforward pseudo-documentary, but gets weaker the more it tries to imitate “The Blair Witch.” The effects work, and especially the highly convincing mutilation footage, is decent enough — at least it’s certainly better than the film’s writing and acting — and although the man in a rubber suit “Chupacabra” looks hyper-cheesy in action, it’s fairly convincing in the otherwise useless autopsy portion.
All in all, however, this lame video doesn’t even come close to doing the Chupacabra myth justice. You’ll find yourself cheering for the beast to kill these clowns off so someone else will do its legend proud.
Posted on July 19, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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