Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vamp or not? Chupacabra Terror


This was a 2005 film about the Chupacabra. We previously looked at this creature in respect of the movie el Chupacabra and I stated then that “any movie based on the el Chupacabra should be looked at individually on its vampiric merits.” Just as well really as this movie really failed to capture the vampiric aspects as well as the previous one, in fact at all.

Things start off on a Caribbean island where an expedition led by Dr. Peña (Giancarlo Esposito) is looking to trap the creature. We discover later that study of the creature has been Peña’s life work and has led him to scientific ridicule. He is obviously a man driven, leaving behind a man who breaks his leg. They reach a camp site and position a net and place a goat below it – so far so good, the creature’s name translates to goat sucker.

the creaturePeña has a tranquiliser gun, but all the other men are fully armed with guns. One is attacked in the night then another. Peña is screaming not to kill it (unlikely as it turns out) and when it grabs one man below the net he drops it and tranquilises the beast. Later we see him have the beast smuggled upon a cruise ship for transportation back to the States.

Dylan Neal as LanceBefore that we see a US Marshall, Lance (Dylan Neal), board the ocean liner. He has been called by Captain Randolph (John Rhys-Davies) to investigate, undercover, a theft from the ships vault. Now here we have the best thing about this movie. I know Neal from Blood Ties and find him a personable screen presence. John Rhys-Davies is, himself, a class act. If only the quality of the movie were better and, indeed, if the rest of the cast were as accomplished or personable as these two. Never mind.

chupacabra in shadowAnyway, in a bizarre moment the wooden crate containing the chupabra is opened and it rips through the metal cage within – why it couldn’t rip through metal and wood is beyond me. After that we get a monster loose in ship movie that is reminiscent of both Alien and, when a group of marines get involved, Aliens. It really is a by the numbers sort of film. What of the creature itself?

John Rhys-Davies as RandolphWell for a start of it has, we discover, an exoskeleton that makes it impervious to bullets – useful that. Of course the velocity of bullets should break bones, despite the exoskeleton, and throw the thing around but never let physics get in the way of a creature’s abilities in the movies. Now, I know what you are thinking, 'but a dart worked'. It seems that it has a weak point at the neck (which Peña was able to hit, in the dark, under a net) and the dart contained a formula he had created especially for the beast. This enters the plot later, but despite Captain Randolph getting the dart gun and serum it never amounts to anything.

green blood... hmmm....Indeed this thing survives steam, electricity, bullets and explosions. In many respects it reminded me of It! The Terror from Beyond Space, an impervious creature on a ship (in ‘It!’ a space ship). This isn’t surprising as ‘It!’ was an influence on Alien. However it is not completely impervious, armour piercing bullets work, causing it to bleed green – but just seem to make it mad rather than slow it down.

a model one looks more the partI mentioned ‘It!’ and I had decided that was Vamp – but this creature does not drain fluids of any type it seems. The Chupacabra is mentioned as being a blood sucker – by Jenny (Chelan Simmons), the Captain’s daughter, when she buys a model Chupacabra on the island – but we see no evidence of this. Rather, it seems to enjoy eviscerating folks and chewing the vitals.

wall crawlingIt moves oddly as well. When it is a man in a suit, it clearly walks like a man in a suit. When it wall crawls, in a way that could only be CGI, it is jerky in movements. Was the jerky movement deliberate or was it rubbish computer effects? I’ll let you decide. So it kills like a psycho, rather than for food and has no real abilities anyway bar wall crawling and being bullet proof and when it does feed it seems to eat whatever is available rather than feasting on blood.

This is not vamp. It is a monster movie in close confines with an annoying thief (David Millbern) sub-story that feeds into the main plot but never raises above being irritating. The imdb page is here.

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