So I watched a 2-on-1 DVD double feature of two Spanish horror films: zombie flick Cemetery of Terror from 1985 and slasher Grave Robbers from 1990. These are some pretty whacky movies!
Cemetery of Terror is a load of 80s zombie fun
I knew I was in for a zombie goodie when I saw that the lead actor was Hugo Stiglitz, who many will recognize from Nightmare City. Here he is taking on zombies again! There’s no way I’m not going to spoil the hell out of this winner.
Cemetery of Terror should have gotten much more recognition as a zombie classic back in 1985. This is so awesomely 80s (right down to the eerie synth stabs) and unlike any other zombie flick of its time. It’s totally unpredictable.
So our hero Hugo, a doctor, believes this evil dude named Devlon who committed heinous crimes and was eventually killed by police, has to be cremated not buried.
In the meantime, it’s Halloween. This group of six guys and girls are going to a “jet set party.” Only problem is, when they get there, it’s an abandoned house…near a cemetery. It’s like I’m watching Spookies all over again. They find this spell book in the attic and decide to break into a mortuary to steal a body to reincarnate! WTF? How bored can you be? Guess whose body they happen to steal….
In another meantime, there is a group of children who decide to skip trick or treating and go to a cemetery. Guess which cemetery. One of the children is wearing a fricking Michael Jackson jacket. Like seriously. Michael Jackson’s face is on back. I so want that jacket. The children get a ride to the cemetery by hopping into some stranger’s van! On Halloween! WTF?
Needless to say, our older group of guys and girls resurrects Devlon in the cemetery. They just don’t know it until he comes creeping around the house. I started to think this was a one-zombie movie. We get Devlon POV and creepy isolated atmosphere as he offs the kids—but no gut munching. He seriously just kills them with his sharp fingernails. But one dude totally tries to go West Side Story on Devlon’s ass, using a broken bottle as a weapon and getting into his best Shark pose. And another dude finds a decorative axe on the wall and tries to use that as a weapon, but it turns out Devlon can control shit, because the axe turns on the guy who’s wielding it!
Meanwhile, we have the children. The oldest is a boy who I’m convinced became a member of Menudo at some point. I could totally see him in the video for “Hold Me,” my all-time favorite Menudo song. They end up at the house and come face to face with Devlon! So begins a whole lot of chase scene excitement. Finally, with a half-hour left, they run through the cemetery, and it turns into the dead rising scene from the “Thriller” video, complete with fog machines and red lights coming from the graves. Amazing.
Everyone eventually ends up back in the house and we get a reenactment of Night of the Living Dead as the zombies break in, the kids pass the book around like a basketball, and Devlon comes in to do whatever he can to get the book…even if that means levitating children. It’s fricking amazing.
Will Grave Robbers ever learn that they’re just asking for trouble?
The 1990 Spanish “slasher” film Grave Robbers is sure to make gore hounds happy—and give everyone a bit of a chuckle, because it’s a hot mess!
So back in the day, this Satan worshipping loony (with a hot bod) was looking to impregnate a chick with the devil’s baby in the center of a pentagram. Some religious folk stop him, put him on the stretcher—man, does he look good on the stretcher—torture him, and then axe him in the chest. He warns them that someday some idiot will come by and remove the axe, and he shall come back stronger than ever!
Cut to the present. This group of young idiot grave robbers comes across his body down in a tomb and before long, he returns as a big bad robed zombie. Soon, everyone’s running through the woods: the grave robbers, a couple of guys on horses who try to help them with their truck when it gets stuck, the sheriff and his hunky-as-hell sidekick in a tank top, and a bunch of girls who went camping—one of whom happens to be the sheriff’s daughter.
The sheriff throws the grave robbing kids in jail and sends his daughter home, then visits the church to get a priest to help him figure out how to kill this damn thing. This movie is utter chaos! The zombie monster really is stronger than ever. He can be in like three places at once and always knows where you are. He even seems to be inside people’s stomachs, from which his hand explodes, and inside walls…from which his hand explodes. He can also make knives in churches levitate.
The kills are violent, gory, and very much traditional slasher stuff despite this being a zombie demon monster thingy. He is relentless and swift in his slaughtering—until he faces off against the sheriff, the biggest threat to his existence. All of a sudden, the monster decides to just toss his victim around, which gives the sheriff plenty of opportunities to escape. Annoying!
Of course, the sheriff being spared for so long gives him the chance to kill the monster—with the help of a grave robbing dude and his girl, who apparently has psychic powers. This is where we get possibly one of the worst edits in film history. The grave robbing dude leaps onto the monster, and then it cuts to him still standing with his feet on the ground considering jumping on the monster, before cutting back to him being on top of the monster.
Hey. It’s a mess, but it’s also totally entertaining, loaded with blood, gore, a cemetery, and a freaky monster we finally get to see when he drops the hood of his robe near the end of the film.