I’ve not written a straight up film review in quite a while, so tonight I’m going to be taking El Chupacabra as my topic of choice. To provide a bit of background, I spotted El Chupacabra in the £1 section of my local supermarket, alongside a bunch of other movies that I’d never heard of and two that I had heard of, but that turned out not to be the better known films of the same name. For those who are interested in such things, El Chupacabra scores a mighty “No critic reviews” on Rotten Tomatoes and an impressive 2.5 on IMDB (which would put it in the bottom 100 movies of all time, if only it had enough votes).
To save you from actually having to watch the film, let me give you a rough breakdown of what happens:
The film starts with someone trying to sell a chupacabra to an evil looking man and getting eaten in the process (imagine the scene with the velociraptor at the start of Jurassic Park, but in bright sunshine and with about $3 worth of special effects).
The next scene is that of an animal control officer visiting a scantily clad women whose dog has been eaten (imagine a porn movie, but with a slightly worse soundtrack and less nudity).
The evil man has a cryptic discussion with a colleague while they stare through a small window (possibly waiting for one of their lunches to microwave).
A few more dogs get eaten before the chupacabra starts eating people.
Another cryptic conversation; lunch still not cooked.
A woman browbeats her boyfriend into taking out the garbage; he gets eaten. Possible commentary on writer’s situation at home?
Various people start looking for the chupacabra for a variety of reasons.
Filler scene: The evil man and his colleague spend a whole minute walking across a bridge in complete silence.
More people start looking for the chupacabra after a circus offers a five million dollar reward (it is never explained whether this is a cover story or whether the reward is offered by an actual circus).
It turns out that the evil corporation is just trying to capture the chupacabra to provide a mate for one that they already have (so kind of like panda conservation).
Everyone of importance winds up at the evil corporation’s headquarters (evil, but stupid… its location is classified, but the heroine “rang the accounting department and got it”).
The head honcho rigs the ventilation system to switch from oxygen to cyanide in fifteen minutes. The countdown is controlled by what is blatently a kitchen timer.
The main hero turns out to have been carrying a flare up his ass (the only explanation I can come up with for its sudden appearance).
Pretty much everyone dies.
The chupacabras live and presumably go on to have lots of ugly babies (so not like panda conservation at all).
It should come as no surprise that this was a pretty terrible movie; I can’t even recommend it on a “so bad it’s good” basis. The acting was appalling (at certain points, one guy looked like he was reading from a script just out of shot), the production values were non-existent (the audio was so bad that I genuinely think they were recording it through the video camera itself) and the dialogue… good lord, the dialogue. Although the acting was bad, I can’t fault the actors for getting involved; none of them were famous and they all had to eat. Similarly, the production values were presumably a result of a shoestring budget and not the production crew’s fault. However, someone had to write that screenplay and think to themselves, “Yep, this screenplay definitely represents my best effort. There’s no way that I could tighten up this dialogue with even a few hours more work on it. I am totally happy for my name to be put on this and for people I know to watch the result and judge me on it.”
Now, I am aware that writing a screenplay is probably not as simple as it appears; I couldn’t sit down and bash one out right now. However, I’d like to think that I could avoid such obvious pitfalls as pointless filler that has no bearing on the plot, random non-sequiters that don’t make sense, putting *pause* every few words (unless I’m specifically writing the role for Christopher Walken)… that sort of thing.
Overall, this was a terrible movie, a complete waste of 87 minutes of my life… and I’m definitely going to buy another £1 ‘classic’ very soon.