MOVIE REVIEW: CHUPACABRA VS THE ALAMO (2013)
SyFy movies are their own art form. Think of them like Kabuki, but populated with fat has-beens, shitty CGI and loopy as fuck premises (Like the days of 50s Monster Movies that made the posters before the films, SyFy must certainly come up with the titles of their shitfests before hiring their apes to pen the story.
CHUPACABRA VS THE ALAMO is one such title, and though it doesn’t roll off the tongue like DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR, it certainly does the job of catching your attention. Not that movies set in and around the Alamo have set the world on fire. The 1960 version, one of only two movies I can recall being directed as well as starring John Wayne, may have had enough clout to secure a Best Picture Oscar nomination (something PSYCHO failed to do), but it’s critically derided now. Ron Howard made a version in 2004, but fewer people saw it than actually were involved in the production. I guess when the filmmakers hear the legendary phrase “Remember the Alamo!” they miss the part that remembers that the 1836 siege was essentially an incident that Americans lost, and no one likes being reminded of defeats. Ever have your mother dig out the scrapbook of photos she took of you losing the Sixth Grade Spelling Bee? Still hurts, doesn’t it?
(By the way, Mrs Roberti, if you’re still alive and reading this: Renaissance. R-E-N-A-I-S-S-A-N-C-E. Renaissance. Happy? Now go kiss the fattest part of my ass.)
Anyway, CHUPACABRA VS THE ALAMO. This stars Erik Estrada, whom nerds and MILFS of my generation will remember as one half of the motorcycle cop dup from the hit TV show CHiPS, which I never watched because there were no robots or talking cars in it, so fuck that, but I do remember him from a minor role in the KOLCHAK series where he played a kid scheduled for human sacrifice to an Inca mummy. He’s in his sixties now, but has got that hunky Brian Dennehy thing going for him, and still wears the black leathers and rides his motorcycle around as he plays a DEA agent whose name is not important, because I’m gonna keep calling him Estrada.
The movie opens in a dark tunnel, presumably near the US/Mexico border, because we see some people smugglers confronting some dark, snarling shapes, shapes that seem impervious to their bullets and come after them. Credit where credit’s due, we don’t waste too much time before the first deaths, we don’t even get the opening titles first.
Then we cut to Estrada, whose got a sulky teenage daughter named Sienna (Nicole Munoz, THE LAST MIMSY), because every movie father’s teenage daughter is sulky. Not mine. Mine’s a darling, made from angels’ smiles and rainbows, so either I’ve lucked out or the movies are lying to me. Anyway, that morning is the anniversary of the death of Estrada’s wife, and he had been planning on taking Sienna to the grave, but not his son Tommy (Samuel Patrick Chu, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2), though before we learn the reasons for this, he is called to the crime scene in the aforementioned tunnel. He drives off, too cool for a helmet.
Aside: does Texas have a motorcycle helmet law? I think they do. So either Estrada is one of those cops who play by his own rules – something novel there – or this was filmed someplace where the helmet laws didn’t apply, and the production company was too inept to consider this minor detail. A quick check finds that there is a partial law in the state for younger people, though surely federal agencies would require their agents to take minimum safety precautions. I did find out that this movie was in fact filmed in British Columbia. In Canada. And that when we do get to see the outside of the Alamo, it will be courtesy of a photograph.
I FUCKING LOVE YOU, SYFY. I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABIES.
Estrada shows up at the scene in time to meet his new partner, Agent Taylor (Julie Benson, SGU STARGATE UNIVERSE). She’s a by-the-book type, and is not impressed by Estrada’s dismissive, maverick attitude (holy fuck, I almost choked on the cliché I just got fed). A buddy of Estrada’s explains that, among other things, one of Estrada’s ancestors was at the Alamo, a bit of knowledge that’s about as useful as a pack of condoms to Jodie Foster. Estrada and Taylor venture further into the tunnels, finding a trafficker still alive, but looking like the Friday Night Special at Hannibal Lector’s Taco Stand. He manages one last word: “Diablo.”
“He said “Devil”, Estrada exposits helpfully, clearly having studied under Counselor Deanna Troi. The agents then encounter several somethings chewing on bodies, and Estrada blasts one. A coroner examining the body says it’s sort of canine, and sort of something else, and nobody wants to come out and say that it’s one of the legendary Chupacabras. But whatever it is, it’s rabid, and not alone.
Meanwhile, Estrada’s buddy is out in the wilderness with his dog, when his dog gets killed (offscreen of course). He finds a Chupacabra over the dog’s body, and rather than use the pistol that is in his hand and ready to fire, he sets it aside and tries to take a picture of the Chup. You deserve death, moron. Oh, and look, he gets what he deserves. Thanks, SyFy!
Estrada is then seen driving around on his motorcycle again. This time, however, he’s doing it in front of THE SHITTEST REAR SCREEN PROJECTION EVER. I swear to God, you’d think it was something from the Silent Age of Movies. I’ve seen better cinematography from Helen Keller. Anyway, disbelieving the Chupacabra angle despite the evidence, he goes off to find his son Tommy, and we learn that he’s been disowned because of the kid’s gangster ties, and so thinks his son’s friends might have had something to do with the tunnel deaths. We get more expositional dialogue; I’d swear this script was written by a guy who usually spends his time making descriptions for the visually impaired.
Meanwhile, people we hardly know are being savagely killed by things we hardly see – at least until we get to an outdoor teenage party (I believe the young people call a rave or a rove), a party attended by Sienna! One guy stops making out with his girl to take a piss, and gets his dick bitten off. There’s always one of those guys at parties I’m at; that, or they’re throwing up in the garden.
Sienna and her friend eventually escape after ripping off the Raptor Kitchen scene from JURASSIC PARK and manage to get home, but the Chup pack eventually tracks them down like the shark did in JAWS THE REVENGE.
They break in, and the girls have to use various kitchen implements until Estrada shows up. Okay, given that we don’t actually see the Chups interact with her, not even puppet style, we can only imagine that she’s using an electric knife and hot iron on something on them. But then she throws a Chup puppy in a microwave, which made me piss my pants with laughter as we hear it yelp and die. Not that I would want to see somethign like that in real life, but…
Okay, the deaths of dozens of people can’t be ignored, and the Governor calls out the National Guard, but they won’t show up for a few days (the writer seems to have forgotten that San Antonio is not one of those isolated monster movie towns up in the hills, but a sprawling metropolis). So Estrada decides to take matters into his own hands, and with Taylor and some other expendable agents, he teams up with his son’s gangster friends to deal with the Chups themselves. And guess where they all meet up? (By the way, how did the Chups make it the 150+miles from the border to San Antonio? I know: they took a Greyhound! Hah!)
CHUPACABRA VS THE ALAMO is a batshit crazy as it sounds. The Chups, when you see them, are shit beyond belief, and I’m not just talking about the craptitude of the CGI. They look so emaciated I’d swear they were Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton running around on all fours acting like they remember what it was like to eat solid food and not Hollywood producer wang. There’s talk of hundreds of people being killed in San Antonio, but of course we won’t see them, running around in British Columbia. There’s a laughable attempt to drop some Spanish words and phrases here and there to make it all sound ‘authentic’ (hint: saying, “You in the Hood now, jefe” doesn’t work). And as I mentioned before, the exterior of the Alamo is a photograph (and the interior is apparently manned by only two people, and the ancient muskets they keep there are fully loaded and can be immediately fired by any 21st Century doofus), and the acting is what you’d see on a laxative commercial, only with less conviction.
But you know, as much as I want to fault the movie, fuck it, I’m watching the film equivalent of a blind, three-legged dog trying to hump an angry tiger! I know it’s gonna end terribly, but I’m having way too much fun admiring the sheer audacious ineptitude at play here! Erik Estrada, you chubby walnut, I’ll have your babies if you ever make a sequel to this, and I can see you riding around America fighting other American cryptoids and making battlegrounds of other landmarks.
Next up: SKUNK APES VS MOUNT RUSHMORE!
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Derek “Deggsy” O’Brien. The D is silent. It had its tongue cut out for defying Ming.