a myth among the Latin countries of a creature that mutilates livestock
under the cover of darkness. The tiny reptilian is known as... EL CHUPACABRA.
Or by its decidedly less intimidating English nickname, "The Goat
Sucker." In the right hands, the Chupa would be a great monster
to base a movie on. It hasn't been 'scientifically' proven to exist,
so the filmmakers can get away with more than the usual Nature Gone
Wild film (SHARK'S CAN'T SWIM BACKWARDS.) Well, thankfully
the good folks at York Entertainment (producers of "Ankle Biters"
and "Axe'Em") decided to pick up the slack.
open with a man tapping his foot while waiting for the driver to open
up the back of his semi truck for a look at whatever the hell is in
there. Here's a hint: Its name is in the title. Anyway, we watch the
guy in the leather shoes- who I now dub Shoe Guy, tap his foot like
that for a good four hours before the EVIL driver walks up
brandishing a metal toothpick and opens up the truck for him. I'm not
really an expert on the smuggling of razor-toothed mythical creatures,
but I get the feeling that something like a cage might be prudent to
invest in. The guy walks inside and gags at the sight of all the play-doh
and red Kool-Aid staining up the inside, and then he stumbles back outside,
pretty badly cut up. The Chupacabra crouches triumphantly over the body
of the Shoe Guy. Evil Driver and Chupa stare at each other, having a
Moment. Cue opening credits.
The first monster movie I've seen to boldly mix troubadour guitar
and techno bassline and call it 'tension' music! The score consists
of said Latin techno leading up to an action scene, at which point it
gets weirdly quiet.
"hero," whose name is revealed as Navarro a good hour into
this film, is an animal control officer- on the edge. Drunk Hispanic
women in various tiers of hotness cling to him and plead for help with
their mysteriously mangled pets. Navarro is a sort of John Stamos stand-in,
except he speaks with a very forced Mexican accent after about the twenty-minute
mark. I guess he attended some Latin Pride seminar where he realized
the importance of the 1/8th Hispanic blood in him. The first of which
is an obviously sloshed senorita wearing a flimsy nightie and black
lingerie in the middle of the day, who was spooked by SOMETHING in her
shed. Navarro assures her it's probably a mouse, but she makes it clear
through body language that she wants him to stick around. (duh huh.)
Seriously, if she were any less subtle she'd be asking him to cough.
there we meet the 'heroine.' Best described as a vacant-eyed mannequin
with giant goofy hoop earrings, she's a 'best-selling' cryptozoology
author attending a signing for her new book, "A Readers' Digest
Condensed Book With A Chupacabra Label Taped To It." A fan gets
a little uppity and royally pisses off said author, leading to her being
kicked out of her own book signing. As a little side note: the book's
title says "El Chupacabre."
inspects the remains of a dog belonging to an unfairly hot young lady
who is married to/a live-in nurse for/ related to a greasy Mexican thug
type who hobbles around on crutches. Sparks fly between Navarro and
Crutchy briefly, then he spends the better part of TEN MINUTES trying
and failing to clear the shot. After Navarro resumes talking to Hot
Latina #2, he skulks off into the background, then later on the camera
starts following Navarro on his way out of the yard, only to catch Crutchy
in the frame again and a again, looking frustrated and trying very hard
to not look at the camera. I have to commend the director for one thing-
the fact that the crippled man didn’t cease to be just
because he left the shot shows more spatial intelligence than certain
author girl tries to get him to help hunt down the mystery creature.
He gives her El Shouldero Frio, as he has an appointment to be chewed
out by a shrewish superior in a horrifying turquoise dress. Apparently
in his rebelliousness, he’s been forgetting to file his TPS reports!
He goes home to his more believably Hispanic cousin Pablo, and they
get off on a nice tangent about his encounter with the Chupacabra as
a child. He now bears three red marker stripes covered with Elmer’s
glue- I mean, deep scars, as a result of this run-in. Miss
Conspiracy Nut arrives to assist Navarro in checking out his cousin’s
at the Hall of Justice (or a community college or the Center for Disease
Control or something), Evil Driver (who is now clearly the villain due
to his resemblance to the bad guy from Double Dragon) and his friend
Dr. Goodspeed stare intently at a red floodlight. Goodspeed, hereafter
referred to by his actor’s pseudonym “Treach,” is
ironically the whitest person in here besides Murdock or Molock or whatever
the Villain’s name was. All of his intent gazes at the trouble
light and pithy lines are totally blown away by the stupid little bow
tie he sports at all times. In one of the film’s defining scenes,
immediately after cutting away from the lab, we watch these two walk
towards us along a walkway, while Bad Guy Music BLASTS. Every bloody
step of their walk from Point A to Point B is here for your viewing
arrives at the pet morgue. Yes, the pet morgue. He wants to examine
the body of one of the dogs that has (mysteriously) been mutilated recently.
It’s a wonderfully pitiful sight, with him sheepishly twisting
and stretching his hat while pleading with the secretary. As a side
note, my friend John says he heard the sound of live dogs barking in
the background of this scene, which makes the whole ‘pet morgue’
concept seem all the more off.
or maybe earlier, I forget which, the Drunken Senorita bites it. She
goes outside to inspect a noise, passing several dozen gardening implements
that would make good defensive weapons, then is tackled and ripped apart
by El Chupacabra. When watching this scene with my friends, we placed
bets on whether or not she would actually pick up one of the dozen axes
or rakes to use against the creature.
next morning, Jackass Cop and his Eager Young Space Cadet inspect the
corpse. “I wrote a book about killing psychopaths,” he remarks
for no reason. “Big letters. Can’t miss it.” El Chupacabra
is now officially the first movie I’ve ever seen where fully half
of the central cast is published authors. The Animal Control Officer
Who Knows No Bounds and Hack Author Girl arrive for a peek at the body.
Officer Jackass and his protégé, who has a habit of repeating
things he says for added emphasis, quickly rebuff them. Navarro gives
up on seeing the body and instead settles on poking around a strip of
flesh that he found laying a few yards away. And here I thought police
thoroughly inspected murder scenes, marking off all the debris with
little flags and such. One boring-ass van ride later, she explains her
theory that the Chupacabra is an alien, not unlike those found at Roswell,
that is more adapted to hunting and killing.
Shadow Boss finds another fatally wounded guy crawling out of a semi
truck. He responds to the dying man’s plea for help by jamming
a needle into his neck. Then, Navarro arrives in his dogcatcher’s
van of holy might. A spastic chase scene ensues in which the villain
clumsily shambles up a pile of dirt, then turns around and whacks Navarro
in the face with a giant plank of wood. As Navarro struggles to his
feet, Villain runs back the way they originally came from and escapes
somehow. How isn’t important. The pie-faced pair wanders around
the chicken entrails-littered semi and makes gagging noises as the film
goes really grainy. It might be for dramatic effect, if not for the
fact that it tends to happen a lot through the course of the film in
general and not just here.
now for the first scene where the director betrays his inability to
tell simple directions- Officer Jackass and Deputy Sakura are driving
along their beat. Because they’re cops, you know? He says he sees
some suspicious people up ahead. So what does he do? SLAMS THE CAR INTO
A U-TURN AND DRIVES IN THE TOTALLY OPPOSITE DIRECTION. And what’s
even more amazing is that doing so suddenly phases them to the construction
site or wherever where Navarro and Nancy Drew are. This leads to Navarro
getting the crap punched out of him for overstepping his authority as
Animal Control personnel at long last.
DOCTOR Treach, puts out a big reward for the capture of the creature.
This leads to the inadvertent death of Crutchy, as well as Officer Jackass
getting himself caught in a bumpkin’s snare trap. Navarro arrives
later on with a snazzy tranq gun, and courageously shuts himself into
his trunk to protect himself. The bag lady that pointed out the hypothetical
whereabouts of the Chupa is killed in a superfluous later scene.
the shrewy boss fires Navarro. It’s ironic, because he finally
handed in his damn report! He shreds his walking papers and she cheerfully
tosses a whole folder of them at him while hissing the immortal line-
“You fuck with a fucker and you get fucked.” There’s
no witty retort to that sort of statement, so Navarro goes home to find
Pablo’s shoe on the lawn. Idiot left his foot in it, too! Pablo
kicks off with a dying soliloquy, and now—it’s personal.
Oh yeah, I think Jackass Cop chews him out for conveniently being at
yet another murder scene.
at the Days Inn Los Angeles, Treach shows his plan to bring the Chupa
to them. “It’s an old war trick. Wound a woman and the man
will come running.” He implements this stupid plan by going into
the chamber where the red light was, where he has a female Chupa chained
up, and shoots it somewhere below the belt. Great ‘war trick,’
Treach. Let’s see you pull a Bell-Huey out of your hat!
somehow getting confidential documents through her accountant (!?) Author
Girl and Navarro deduce the location of the Chupa holding pen. They
break in, whilst the bad guys are about to make their getaway. They
activate a sort of self-destruct device that will flood the complex
with cyanide gas in fifteen minutes. Shortly afterwards, the Super Troopers
arrive on the scene. Using his spider senses or possibly by spotting
the giant white van, Jackass deduces that Navarro has broken into the
place. “The alarms are going off, so we don’t need a warrant!”
his companion says cheerfully. So they enter as well, with the rookie
making sure to shut the door firmly behind them. Moron.
is double-teamed by the Chupas and messily killed just in time for Navarro
to get blamed for it! They find the countdown thingamajig and later
deduce from the floor plan of the place (?) the whole cyanide thing.
After shooting Navarro in the thigh just because he can, Jackass leaves
the two with his sidekick while he searches for the critters. Guess
what! He’s a sort of loose cannon law enforcer too, and is simply
hunting the creature to get Treach’s bounty! He dies eventually.
Big loss. Rookie girl starts cat fighting with Author Girl. In the struggle,
Navarro takes a shot at the cop girl from behind, and in a marvelously
edited sequence, she takes the dark in her left breast.
me say that again. Shot from behind- dart in front. Either darts can
ricochet, or the editor was tending to an addiction or two while watching
the two heroes stagger through a dark room, and get clawed slightly
by the Chupacabra couple. Miss Science runs off into the boiler room
somewhere to try and shut off the cyanide release, while Navarro takes
the opportunity to wander around posing dramatically with the tranquilizer
gun. Uh-oh, time’s up! Gas begins to flood the heroine’s
general area as she paws at a keyboard that’s been nailed at random
below a water pipe. She manages to shut it off somehow, which also somehow
restores power to the place. Back with Navarro, we find that there is
no gas whatsoever in his area. I can’t help but get the feeling
that was another, more drastic version of his earlier brush-offs. Opening
an automatic door, he spies the Chupacabra! In this climactic battle,
he first drop kicks the Chupa in the face then is shoved the hell over
by the second creature. It’s right up there with the dart gun
and the wood plank scenes in terms of hilarity. All they need is someone
to overdub it with the “Ahaha!” sound bite from the old
Tick cartoon. (Specifically: Tick v. Dinosaur Neil.) Navarro wrestles
the creature, and eventually everyone ends up sort of okay after Diet
Nancy Drew scares it off with Officer Jackass’ revolver (that
she picked off his tattered corpse.)
and what better way to wrap up a crappy movie than with an aggravating
ending? Hot Latina #2 (formerly Mrs. Crutchy) is standing by the side
of the highway trying to thumb a ride out of town. A white van pulls
over—and it’s none other than The Villain! The walking hair
gel plant lets her in, and leeringly looks through the bars into the
back of the van—containing Mr. and Mrs. Chupacabra. And so, our
hero is gainfully unemployed and presumably hooked up with the nattering
conspiracy theorist author girl, and the bad guy makes off with the
monster and the best-looking woman in the entire movie. The moral: Evil
will always prevail. Because good is stupid.