Monday, March 23, 2015

Weird West Week: El grito de la muerte

Alright you bunch of yeller belly sissies welcome to Day 1 of Weird West Week! Not sure why I went with that as my opening invite but greetings nevertheless. We journey deep into Mexico with the possibility of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) and the presence of Vampires?? This is El grito de la muerte a.k.a. Scream of Death a.k.a. The Living Coffin.

Amy Winehouse??

A young cowboy Gaston (Gaston Santos of Swamp of the Lost Souls, The Black Pit of Dr. M, Los diablos del terror, Una bala es mi testigo and The Young and Beautiful Ones) and his partner ride out a great distance to a hacienda to deliver a message for one of the residents. The eldest matron informs Gaston he can wait in their expansive drawing room with a grandfather clock with a Bowie knife drove into it. When asking the maid why that was done, she simply says it wards off the dead.

Yeah that's not ominous at all. Conferring with Maria (Maria Duval of Raffles, 800 Leagues Over the Amazon, Two Disobedient Sons, The Young and Beautiful Ones, Santo Versus the Vampire Women, Gabino Barrera, Juan Colorado and House of Women) about a carving of unknown stone of a weeping woman. Maria explains that a duplicate carving was given to the doctor in town and sends Gaston and buddy on his way. Dona Maria the matron seems to check on these existing tombs under the hacienda as they have set an alarm system in case of grave robbers..? Auntie has a fit and flops to the floor when Maria reveals she removed the blade from the clock. It is up to one of the ranch hands Lencho to ride like the wind and get the doctor... only be shot by a stranger with a rifle. Gaston and traveling buddy find Lencho fallen from his horse and they scoop him up to head to town.

Look, our GPS is trashed, are we anywhere near Rio Lobo?

Later on a soundstage Gaston and still unnamed partner find this quaint little town has been all but abandoned. There is no work to be found and the town is in the grip of fear of a legend of a Weeping Woman crying out for the loss of her children and reeking horrible destruction and vengeance on anyone to dare interrupt her grieving. So of course the town doctor is an alcoholic and with the speed and urgency of a chronically depressed sloth they go to leave when one of the punks that shot Lencho insists they stay at the bar at gunpoint. These folk are really serious about their tequila. After a music-less fistfight that went on for 3 minutes it is my thinking that Lencho bled out and died and this fist fight was so poorly choreographed you could tell the fists weren't coming anywhere near the actors' heads at all.

A thought occurred to me though, where are the fricking vampires??? Half hour into the movie and nothing but mild exposition on Aunt Loopy's fear of death being made into a forever being and young Gaston being a Marshall from the States who has no authority whatsoever in these fair parts. The doctor (Antonio Raxel of Mother's Day, La familia, Los problemas de mama, Eye for an Eye, Chico Ramos and Coronation) treats Lencho's gun wound then gives a rousing bit of exposition on the late mistress of the ranch and how they were to be married and blah blah blah. The Doctor (no, not those 13 men), Gaston and now finally named Coyote Loco (Pedro de Aguillon of Desert Tigers, My Parents Are Divorced, Los diablos del terror, Una bala es mi testigo, El seite de copas and Punos de Roca) ride out through the swamp to the hacienda. With the blade out of the clock Maria's aunt is throttled and lightly clawed to death. The bellowing of the Weeping Woman is heard throughout the hacienda as the servants are terrified and looking for salvation. Can Gaston and comic relief Coyote assist? Will the doctor be sober enough to help?

A few thoughts on the movie. Overall the production is decent, the actors are capable but the story drags a bit in parts. Writer/director Fernando Mendez used elements of the legend of the weeping woman intermixed with vampirism and a bit too much comedic pratfalls but bottom line is the film is actually good. The story just takes some coaxing and for God's sake do NOT put on the English dubbing for this flick and just read the subtitles. The person dubbing for Maria sounds positively mannish. That was a serious baritone for a girl of no more than 18.

Aunty Em!!