Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Crap That Legends Are Made Of: "The Legend of the Chupacabra" (2000)

The chupacabra, according to this mockumentary, is a mysterious creature that has been killing and eating Hispanic goats in Latin America and Mexico for years.

One has crossed the border into southern Texas, and a cute, intrepid cryptozoologist (no, I did not make up that word) go to an isolated ranch to find one. Her uncle was killed by the creature, and some grainy video footage of the monster exists. She takes a badass black guy with a gun and two cameramen (for easy-to-edit coverage), and they go a-huntin' for chupacabras. Ten minutes into the film, they find it.

The rest of the film has the team of documentarians getting attacked by the bloodthirsty monster, and stilted dialogue. At one point, the team runs into a couple of hottie witches who lead them to the chupacabra's nest...for $100. If only the FBI knew about how cheaply Tex-Mex witches could be bought as informants. Whole decades of mythical beast reports could be cleared up with a blank check.

In the end, after the bloody deaths of characters you don't give a goat's patoot about, a chupacabra is captured, killed, and autopsied. The only point of the autopsy scene is to highlight the makeup department's efforts in such a cheap film.

The film is shot on video, just like "BWP," yet the cameraman characters never reload their tapes or recharge their camera batteries. The lead actress here is awful. The beauty of the average "BWP" was its use of improvisation during the production. Here, all the lines are written, and are delivered like a poorly rehearsed Christmas pageant.

The film is tinged with racism, as well. The only African-American here is a loudmouthed gun nut. At one point, as the crew breaks into an abandoned house, they find a trio of illegal immigrants who comically ask them if they are from the INS. Chortle, chortle.

The monster itself is a guy in a rubber suit, and nothing more. For such a lumbering and awkward beast, he is able to sneak up on the cast pretty quietly, whether they have idiotically locked themselves in a giant cage as bait, or cannot seem to get their only vehicle started.

The gore is gruesome, but when surrounded by this kind of stupidity, it loses all of its effectiveness. I do not know if this was shot before or after "BWP," but I can honestly say this is the worst film ever made in southern Texas about a mythical beast.

Pray there are not any sequels, I will start a letter writing campaign to Troma. (*) out of five stars.