Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Vamp or Not? Legend of the Chupacabra

Not to be confused with the later, similarly titled (but pluralised) Legend of Chupacabras, this is a low budget mockumentary from 2000, directed by Joe Castro and distributed on the Troma label.

We are in rubber suit territory with a strong hint for the source of the chupacabra menace – but is it vampiric?

Set in 1997, the film starts by exploring the appearance of the chupacabras through Puerto Rico, Mexico and into Texas. After survelance footage (too grainy to show much) seems to capture a chupacabras a group of university students, specialising in cryptozoology go to the town of Santa Maria to track down the beast. The students are led by Maria Esperanza (Katsy Joiner) whose uncle had lost goats (and from whose farm the chupacabra footage came from) and has been killed – later we discover the chupacabra got him and the police have that footage and are supressing it.

The Curandera and Maria
The others are Pete Cortez (J.T. Trevino) and Daniel Webster (Chris Doughton) on cameras along with George Armistad (Stan McKinney) running security. They have gone to the ranch owned by Lloyd Jackson (Paul Podraza), who has had livestock attacked the night before – however the farm hands won’t allow the carcass to be touched until purified by The Curandera (Sandy Schwartz). She tells the crew they’ll get their answers in the cantina.

barn attack
The sheriff (Lewis Sarkozi) and his deputy (Frank Thomas, A Schizophrenic Love Story) arrive and the Curandera has wandered into a barn. A scream and they run in and are face to face with the chupacabra (Kevin Sloan) replete in rubbery suit splendour. Later it is described as the biggest, baddest chupacabra in the land… so what are they? And are they vampiric?

this tongue is made for sucking
Well they certainly suck – later we discover their teeth are for latching and holding and their tongue has an orifice that can suck the innards of their prey. This seems to include viscera and is not restricted to blood. There are theories that they are supernatural, that they are from space and that they were made in a lab. The barcode spotted on the arm of the creature suggests the latter. DNA testing reveals a mix of primate and lizard. They are said to be cold blooded and lay eggs.

sucked goat
The supernatural side is perhaps bolstered by the pair of witches at the cantina who can show them where the creature’s lair is. A bite from the creature is said to rot the victim from the inside out (and yes one of the students gets bitten) and this, of course, could be natural. However the witches suggest that killing the chupacabra will cure the infection.

There is little other lore, to be honest, and I am tempted to suggest that this creature feature has too little to call it Vamp. It also has too little to call it a good film, with terrible overacting and not much in the way of logical story. The sfx move between silly (the creature), not bad (some of the gore), really poor (other bits of the gore) and somewhat misplaced (the corpses adorning the route to the lair, which seem way too mummified). Not a great film, not really vamp but – being chupacabra – of genre interest.

The imdb page is here.

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