Monday, March 12, 2007

The Spanish Inn - review

Directed by: Gary Davis

Release date: imdb says 2006, DVD says 2004

Contains spoilers

You know how it is, you spot a DVD cheap and it is a vampire film you’ve never heard of and you think it may just be a gem… Deep down in your heart you suspect you are wrong, but the optimist hopes and hopes…

Optimism is a strange thing, as soon as the legend and titles became obscured in the garish, cheap looking graphic sequences it was dashed to pieces and just as well, as it saved further disappointment. Spanish Inn takes place in two inns
(or more accurately, whorehouses) in Mexico in the 1850s. In the first Pedro (Carlos Mahecha) and Zen (Tatsuaki Hatashi) have been hired, we later discover, to kill vampires. Pedro actually does very little, the real work is done by Zen, a Japanese sword master (who uses a wooden practice sword as metal is useless against the undead). Whilst there, they come across a runaway slave (Ilian Torres) and it is by wiping blood on the shirt of the American bounty hunter who has captured her that they lure the vampires into revealing themselves.

They then go to the Spanish Inn, a place run by a group of beautiful women who turn out to be vampires. I know that sounds very much like a cut down, paraphrased From Dusk till Dawn 3 and, believe me, you are better off with that film than this.

There isn’t much else in the way of story and if there is it was hard to hear in the awful dialogue sound. One phrase – boom mike. The dialogue is muffled and the sound effects overpower it at times, and that is really bad when dropped gold coins clearly sound like they are made of plastic.

Action wise we are talking worse than poor. Badly choreographed, unconvincing fights and staked vampires either holding the stake to their stomach or under the arm. Acting wise, well it wasn’t really acting (my partner walked in during my watch of this and, after 10 seconds, she quipped that the acting was *interesting* – which I guess is one way of putting it). The really awful dialogue,
which sometimes repeats itself, doesn’t help.

The special effects are bad. There is one set of fangs that look very fake as well as some comedy fangs, and we are treated to a ‘smashing a mirror over the head’ sequence (or at least I supposed it was meant to be a mirror) that was
clearly paper in a frame. If it was meant to be a picture then how the vampire thought it would kill Zen and why he was knocked unconscious by it is a mystery that will never be solved.

The film is badly paced, the direction poor and the lighting leaves much to be desired. Worst still the DVD looked like it had been taken from a low resolution master and the picture quality was awful. On the plus side there was a nice Spanish guitar refrain on the soundtrack but it was over used and began to grate.

It is easy to be critical, perhaps this was a labour of love... but when good money has been parted with for a film (even as cheap as I got this for) one expects a level of quality or, at least, for it to be so bad it is good. This wasn’t and I really couldn’t find a single redeeming feature. The back of the DVD says that there is a sequel, Zen, coming in 2006. It is still to be released but, given this monstrosity, I’ll be avoiding it like the plague.

0 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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