Legend of the Chupacabra (2000)
By: Devon B. on June 13, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 81 minutes
The Movie
Director: Joe Castro
Starring: Katsy Joiner, Stan McKinney, J.T. Trevino, Chris Doughton, Paul Podroza, Frank Thomas, Sandy Swartz
Screenplay: Mark Stephens and Rudy Balli
Music: Rudy Balli
Country: USA
The best thing about this movie is the ad line: "In 1997, three cryptozoology students ventured into Santa Maria, TX to make a documentary…A year later they finished it." That little joke captivated me enough to plunk down money for the DVD. Whoops.

A mockumentary horror film with a sense of its own absurdity, Legend of the Chupacabra starts out with some relatively promising touches. A classified document is shown, but because it's classified it's all blacked out. The Chupacabra does a funny little hop on a surveillance video, making the monster look appropriately goofy. Sadly, the Legend soon begins to lose its lustre. 'Chupacabra' is Spanish for 'goat sucker,' and the name given to this legendary livestock mutilator. The Chupacabra has moved up North and is attacking in the US, and no longer content with the sanguine of Mexican quadrupeds. The niece of a man killed by the beast begins filming a Blair Witch type documentary while tracking the Chupacabra down.

Most of the people who provide scientific 'interviews' are well cast, fitting the material well and presumably playing something close to themselves, but all the leads falter. The worst acting comes from the police, who also demonstrate some interesting police procedures, allowing the civilians and cameraman to follow them while tracking the Chupacabra.

The gore is okay sometimes, but most, like the mutilated animals, is shoddy enough that it ends up looking silly. The creature FX are okay for such a low budget. The monster looks like a goofier, upright version of a Resident Evil licker (it does look better than the one in the filmed adaption of the game, as it's not CGI).

I'm not sure what kind of comedy Legend of the Chupacabra is supposed to be. It has some funny things, but it's not humorous enough to be successful. It's also not bad enough to be a send up of so-bad-it's-funny horror movies.

There's one scene where the people chase the creature armed with only video cameras, but then later they run away when they're better armed. Perhaps that's a joke, playing on the way people act in horror movies? Legend of the Chupacabra seems to be trying to mock movies that are funny because they're serious, so I guess it's not just a satire of horror films, but more a satire of bad horror movies that become comedies because they're so bad. But that idea's so pretentious it hurts my head, and the idea's already been done with some large, aggressive tomatoes.

Soy supa bien? No.
Legend of the Chupacabra is presented at 1.33:1. The film has grain and the occasional speck, and the image is a little soft. That's all fine, though, because the movie's not supposed to look like the latest Spielberg blockbuster.
The audio is a 2 channel English track. The dialogue remains mostly decipherable, but it's not a superbly mixed track. Again, it's not supposed to be. However, there can be a lot of background noise that maybe should have been removed, particularly the cars passing, even when our heroes locate the Chupacabra's home.
Extra Features
Like most Troma DVDs, Legend of the Chupacabra has a lot of extras. And also like most Troma DVDs, not all the extras make sense. Unlike most Troma DVDs, the film lacks an intro by Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger. The DVD has some wisely cut scenes, and an alternate ending which takes place in daylight, revealing WAAAAY too much of the monster. There's also a not very funny blooper reel from an autopsy scene and the film's trailer. The trailers from other Troma titles have been removed for this Australian edition, replaced with pictures of the DVD covers that play in slideshow fashion. Radiation March is, as always, present, as is a segment about Joe Castro the FX wizard. The FX Wizard bit is evidently a video Joe sent Troma along with the Chupacabra suit so they could put it on without damaging it while promoting the film. Joe gets in the suit easy enough, I guess, but the funniest thing on the DVD is that he gets his head stuck in the mask while trying to get the suit off. My copy also included a little Stomp booklet, featuring a very brief interview with Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger.

The main feature on this DVD SHOULD be the commentary, but …normally I like commentaries. Sometimes I don't even like the film, and I'll like the commentary. But this commentary…ARGH! It sounds as though they've set the mic up in the middle of a room, so the volume varies in accordance to the speaker's position from the mic. All kinds of background noise is caught, and the volume jumps as several people talk or if one of them moves in towards the mic. It's a muffled sound that leaps into chaos, and the female lead is especially annoying. From what I listened to, it was going to be standard background info stuff revealed, along with dumb jokes. I wasn't brave enough to finish the audio track, though.
The Verdict
Legend of the Chupacabra isn't really bad. But it isn't really funny. And it isn't really scary. It really isn't much of anything. The director did go on to do more things, most notably the FX for Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat, but he still hasn't topped getting his head caught in the suit.
Movie Score
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