Movie Review: Curse of El Charro

One advantage of being unemployed in a down economy, besides writing 80,000 words of your next novel in one month, is that you get to watch a lot of movies. (Oh, man, I need to find a job soon…) And as many of you know, I seek out anything B grade or lower, or with monsters. There’s an occasional actual budget movie in there, but the cheaper, the better. I’ve been too busy working on the novelization of Mr. Nightcrawler to post reviews, but the one I saw last night was just begging for a review.

 

Curse Of El Charro: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401271/

 

Okay, now this one was really bad. For brief moments it would occasionally verge on awesome, but then it would just kind of descend into ‘meh’. Supposedly (according to the box) Danny Trejo stars in it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember actually seeing him. Instead El Charro is staffed by a bunch of mediocre actresses, whose primary skill set can de described as being hot and bickering. Later they’re joined by another host of nobodies that you don’t care about either, so they can all get massacred.

 

There are four main characters, weepy Mexican chick, friendly-hot-white chick, bitchy-hot-black chick, and bitchy-hot-goth chick, so as you can see, this movie is totally a deep exploration of both race relations and women’s issues. Like a lot of low budget movies, there seems to be this idea that dialog needs to be made up of petty bickering, because I don’t know about you guys, but nothing is funner than listening to morons harp on each other for an hour before whatever the monster is shows up and kills everyone.

 

The basic plot is that weepy Mexican chick’s sister kills herself, so she’s sad, and having visions, so her roommate, hot-white chick, decides what she needs is a vacation to Saguaro Arizona. (which is a convenient random vacation destination when you’re descended from the cursed bloodline of Saguaro) If they had randomly gone to like Fort Lauderdale or something then this would have just been a Girls Gone Wild video.

 

Random crap happens on the road trip for the first hour that has absolutely no bearing on the plot whatsoever. I mean seriously, there are long patches of time filled with bickering, weeping, more bickering, visions, a long diversion about how sleazy girls can get out of traffic tickets, and then our heroes stop at a dive bar where a retarded guy sings a really repetitive song that was rejected by Nine Inch Nails. There’s some lame attempt at foreshadowing the upcoming Deus Ex Machina, but when it is that nonsensical I don’t know if it actually counts as foreshadowing.

 

El Charro makes another classic mistake. They make their characters so unlikable that you frankly don’t care if they live or die. Good horror movies have unlikable characters, so despicable that you find yourself hoping for their death. Bad horror movies, you just don’t care, but you’re hoping for their death just to speed the plot along or to shut them up. The black chick and the goth chick spend their whole time making fun of the weepy chick, “Yeah, she just found her sister’s dead body, bitch is straight up crazy ya’ll.” “You go girl.”

 

And on the dialog. Okay, I don’t know who wrote the dialog for the black chick, but come on. I lived in an inner-city area that was 98% African-American. I don’t care how black you are, nobody talks like that. “I’m gonna straight up set it off and go down on some suckas up in here ya’ll woot woot sistah you go girl straight up trippin’ yo.” Give it a rest. You are not Ludacris. Ludacris can’t do Ludacris for more than ten minutes. Just relax.

 

Eventually they gather up some more cannon-fodder/college students. The viewer still doesn’t have an idea what’s going on, so there is a convenient slide-show to explain the plot. No, I’m not making it up. It was a mystical-vision-quest SLIDE SHOW. Sorry, Weepy Chick, the evil ghost of Danny Trejo (or so the box says, I’m still not sure) is coming for you. And Danny Trejo is like the Mexican Chuck Norris so you’re as good as dead.

 

Seriously, Danny Trejo rocks. I’m going to watch Machete opening day. Robert Rodriguez is one of my favorite directors, (hell, I read his book) I loved Planet Terror, and Danny Trejo riding a motorcycle with a minigun all in a grindhouse epic? Sign me up!

 

Oh, wait, that’s right, I was talking about a BAD movie. Sorry, got distracted… So the cannon-fodder shows up. The ghost of El Charro turns out to be a zombie in a poncho with a machete and he starts randomly hacking in the general direction of the actors as they lay on the ground. Every now and then a severed head (that doesn’t really look like the actress it came off of) will go flying and some blood will splash on the wall.

 

It’s tense. You have no idea who will be NEXT! Well, not really… You don’t really care anyway. There’s one actor who looks like a low budget Ryan Reynolds who you think might turn vaguely heroic for a minute or two (even though he inexplicably turns down the advances of Hot Goth Chick to go after Weepy, like any drunken, low-moral fiber, college guy in history has ever actually done that) but he dies boringly too.

 

There’s a lesbian shower scene, which is apparently the only reason this movie gets rented (by teenage boys) until El Charro kills them too, and the sad part is that this movie is so boring that at this point even something described as Lesbian Shower Massacre isn’t interesting. How sad is that?  

 

And if you’re trying to make a gory horror movie, you can’t just have your monster walk up to somebody who’s back is to the camera, and the monster reaches out and pulls back a handful of something red and lumpy, and the actor falls down. And then it’s supposed to be a jaw? I’ve seen Youtube zombie videos done by high schoolers on their camera phones that looked more convincing! And this was the bitchiest character in the movie! I feel so cheated…

 

Now for the big ending, SPOILER SPOILER (ahh… who am I kidding, nobody cares) Weepy prays and an angel shows up and stops El Charro so she can stab him with a crucifix. Yep. That was it. The angel showed up vaguely earlier, looking like a Highlander or something, and there was random angel wing foreshadowing, but that was just lame. And why is it that every crucifix in the movies is capable of a good stabbing? I grew up in a Catholic household. All our crucifixes were plastic. Good thing we were never attacked by El Charro, but then again, I’m not a hot bitchy lesbian, so there wasn’t much danger of that.

 

There were a couple moments of coolness, just tantalizing tidbits that show El Charro could have been great. The old timey movie slide show bits were actually way more interesting that the useless filler that made up most of this flick.

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