Cementerio del Terror (aka Cemetery of Terror) (Rubén Galindo Jr., 1985)

posted in: Duane, Review | 2

Cementerio del Terror Poster

A group of teens revive a recently deceased serial killer via a mysterious book of rituals found in an abandoned house. Teenagers are stupid. COSDS - Cemetery of Terror (3)

I went into this having very low expectations – trash and sleaze being an almost every day staple of my viewing diet has left me very jaded over the years – but I emerged pleasantly surprised at this amusing little gem. Cementerio del Terror pulls no punches right from the start with an escaped devil-worshipping mental patient named Devlon stalking some gimpy woman and performing his last bit of butchery before being viciously gunned down by police. Expectedly, the doctor charged with his care in is terribly distraught, and the local authorities blame him for the events that transpired. Skip to a bunch of unruly teens looking to party in an old run down mansion. Said partying ensues, but when the girls refuse to put out one of the lads naturally decides that they should break into the morgue and steal a cadaver in order to resurrect it using this dusty old book he found upstairs. It’s obvious that chicks dig mucking about with freshly disinterred cadavers and devil worship, right? The subsequent ritual does fuck-all other than get them caught in a downpour leaving the delinquents to retire back to casa de la creepy. Of course, now the girls are hot-to-trot and the awkward pubescent copulation we’ve all been waiting for begins. Soon the resurrected Devlon comes to visit, slashing and gutting them one by one with his super sharp devil fingers. There’s also a bunch of trick-or-treating kids who serve as a secondary cache of victims and a whole cemetery full of zombies thrown in to keep things interesting. COSDS - Cemetery of Terror (6)

This movie is a serious bowl of crazy that I can’t do proper justice with mere words. Sadly, it’s entirely devoid of nudity but it makes up for it with a wealth of gory kills and a surprisingly effective atmosphere. Despite the somewhat disjointed nature of the plot, Cementerio del Terror takes itself quite seriously.  As far as debut features are concerned, director Rubén Galindo Jr. proves he’s got what it takes to deliver the ambiance and visuals to cobble together a solid and altogether fun fright flick. Halloween night, the dead rising from their graves, young people dying horrible deaths, black magic rituals, blood and entrails flying across the screen – it’s all here and it’s an absolute blast to sit through. Galindo Jr. has an exceptional eye for detail that’s evident in every aspect of the film and there’s a distinct grittiness to the whole proceedings that will likely evoke a sense of nostalgia for those weaned on cinematic garbage. COSDS - Cemetery of Terror (7)

Far from sleazy, the film takes an oddly reserved stance despite the abundance of opportunity available; the focus here however is on the glorious violence. Disappointingly, Cementerio del Terror does start to lose some steam around the last act, particularly during the zombie sequences involving the wayward kids trapped in the cemetery. Personally, I was hoping to see the children have their heads crushed and their innards gnawed on, but life is full of disappointments. Seasoned horror fans expecting ultraviolence in the vein of The Beyond or Zombie Holocaust are likely to be put off by this development but this aspect feels tacked on and isn’t pivotal to the plot in the slightest, therefore it can easily be overlooked. COSDS - Cemetery of Terror (14)

If you’re seeking something slightly off the beaten path that’s just plain mindless entertainment, you can’t go wrong with Cementerio del Terror – just try not to focus too much on the lack of nudity (oh, how this film would have absolutely shined with some T&A). Those with a fondness for 80s horror films will likely find themselves grinning like an idiot on more than one occasion.

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: NS-4

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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

2 Responses

  1. Cool write-up Duane. You really got me stoked to track this one down. Great screen-grabs and I LOVE that poster !

  2. Thanks, Dick! It’s definitely worth the effort to find. Thanks for all your support!

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