Ladrones de Tumbas (Grave Robbers 1990) Review

As you can see, they put a ton of effort into the dvd box art.

As you can see, they put a ton of effort into the dvd box art.

Who knew the Mexicans pumped out some horror films in the late 80’s and early 90’s?  Well, I guess it should have been obvious that they did, but up until now I can’t remember seeing many that were worth remembering or writing about, that is until I watched Grave Robbers of course.  Robbers isn’t something you necessarily write home about, but its cheesy charm, above average gore, and unintentional humor make it a descent way to lose 90 minutes.  The movie takes places somewhere near Mexico where a graveyard is the home to a victim of the Spanish Inquisition.  The victim was a devil worshiper who was killed with a gigantic axe to the chest when he was caught in the act of trying to impregnate a virgin and bring about some kind of crazy devil spawn that would probably ruin a few peoples days.  When some tomb-sackers stumble upon the catacombs hidden beneath the graveyard, they are pleasantly surprised with all the gold and jewels they find, until their greed gets the best of them and they remove the sacred axe from the Satan guy’s chest cavity.  Now, with the axe removed, Satan guy is on a quest to finish the ritual he started all those years ago after being so rudely interrupted during his initial attempt.  Part slasher film and part supernatural ga-ga “stop the guy before he undoes the world with his generic demony bad stuff”, Grave Robbers managed to keep me entertained enough to not turn it off, despite being in another alnguage and having to put up with some wonderfully poor subtitles.

Who took my Goddamn axe? FUCKKKKKK!

Who took my Goddamn axe? FUCKKKKKK!

So we get predictable 20 something hi-jinks, with one group being tomb raiders (like Lara Croft, but without pixelated boobs) and another group of chirpy gals who are going out into the nearby woods to do some avian photography.  There is a priest, the hero cop old guy, and some other meatheads who are all lambs for the eventual slaughter, and that’s about it.  Apparently, once you’re outside of Mexico proper, all towns have a population of about 18 people, despite cars being parked everywhere in the streets.  In their defense, the acting seemed palatable, and when the translation was legible and on point, some lines of dialogue weren’t actually half bad.  But who am I kidding, we all just want to see people get cut down in their prime and a mummified disciple of El Diablo run amok before meeting his over-the-top end, right?

Good thing plastic surgery is dirt cheap in Mexico.

Good thing plastic surgery is dirt cheap in Mexico.

In that case, you’re in luck.  There are some nice scenes of gore, many people die, and right as it is about to get dreadfully boring, it wraps things up with some quick editing which spares us the arbitrary “driving to the bad guy’s hide out” scene like we don’t already know the hero will make it in time.  I have to give props though to Ruben Galindo Jr. who, despite having a name that should belong to a major league baseball pitcher, manages to actually create some snazzy little scenes out of what is so obviously a fairly modest budget.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cringe.  GO AWAY!  Sounds official enough for me.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cringe. GO AWAY! Sounds official enough for me.

If you’re in the mood to see how the Mexicans throw down some gore, or if you want to see what a supernatural slashery film is like when you combine it with some hysterical subtitles, Grave Robbers is your bag.  If you need some extra incentive, the awakened mummy guy is wearing wrestling tights in the third act during his fight scenes.  I believe my work here is done.

P.S.  This movie can be watched on Youtube for free.  Just do some searching for both the American and Spanish titles, and voila! trash on demand!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Built tough.  MEXICAN tough.

Built tough. MEXICAN tough.

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About Alex Seda

"I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall - looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it." ~Dr. Loomis email alex
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