Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shit Happens to Cornelio.

Next to the trashy Mexploitation movies, I also enjoy some of the ‘regular’ Mexican movies from the 60's, 70’s, 80’s, & 90's. A lot of the 70's movies appeal to me big time; especially ones starring Cornelio Reyna. Now who is Cornelio Reyna exactly? Cornelio Reyna was a pretty famous musician from back in the day. During the 70's-80's, he starred & sang in some pretty good movies (a couple that were directed by Ruben Galindo!). In most of Cornelio's movies, he stars as the typical blue-collared Mexican living in the United States working hard to survive, falls in love with a pretty girl, he sings, gets into some trouble, then in the end it all works out somehow and everyone is happy (somewhat).

In 1989, Cornelio Reyna's son "Cornelio Reyna Jr." (real name Alberto Reyna) starred in a very low budget SOV movie called Matanza En Las Vegas (aka "Murder In Las Vegas")Matanza En Las Vegas is pretty much similar to any old Cornelio Reyna movie; We got the Mexican guy coming to the USA to work, falls in love with a pretty girl, sings some songs, then a great opportunity comes to him, which then ends up leading to tragic consequences. No happy ending here!

Here's how it all goes down!

In Matanza En Las Vegas, a man named Cornelio (played by Cornelio Reyna Jr.) illegally crosses the United States from Mexico to work. When he crosses, he is sporting a "Shit Happens" t-shirt. How cool is that?! When he arrives in the USA, he acquires a dish washing job at a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. At the job, Cornelio falls in love with the attractive waitress Blanca. Blanca kind of looks like Lina Santos, but has a softer voice instead of a deep sensual voice Lina has (oh my!). Blanca at first acts cruel to Cornelio, but seeing as he's a nice guy; she agrees to go out with him one day and eventually she becomes his girlfriend (cheesy song plays in the background & all). One night when a luchador/mariachi singer called "La Voz Mysterio" (The Mysterious Voice) can't make it to sing at the Mexican restaurant, Blanca convinces the owner of the restaurant to let Cornelio sing since she's heard him sing before. So then, Cornelio hits the stage and rocks the joint with a cheesy norteño song. After singing, Cornelio meets a bizarre & gay music manager who is interested in representing him and getting him singing work in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cornelio is a bit skeptical about the offer at first, but then he agrees to it since he sees this as a great opportunity on becoming someone in the USA. Cornelio then hits the road to Las Vegas with the bizarre & gay music manager! When they arrive; they play the slots, win some money, and watch Bobby Rivas perform live (talk about some classy stuff!). After all that, Cornelio then meets an erotic dancer named Lety, from there, things gets pretty crazy and this all leads to betrayal from not only Lety, but from the bizarre & gay music manager as well!

Matanza En Las Vegas is by far the weirdest Mexploitation movie I have ever seen. Exactly how is it the weirdest Mexploitation movie I have ever seen? Well first of all, the VHS cover of the movie is just awful. We got Martin Sheen's face next to a poorly drawn Cornelio Reyna Jr. holding a gun. Then there's that bizarre & gay music manager! The actor that plays him is just so strange looking. He sorta reminds me of the Joker from the Batman animated series, but just without the make-up. Then the weirdest thing of all is La Voz Mysterio. Who exactly is La Voz Mysterio? Was he for real? Or was he just made up for the movie? I honestly tripped out when I watched this man in a luchador mask sing a romantic mariachi song. What the fuck was that all about? What the?? Wha--??!!! ?????!!!

Not only was Matanza En Las Vegas so weird, it was also poorly made of course. The movie could have been far more decent if it didn't end up getting ridiculous near the last 10 minutes. Without spoiling much, let’s just say wannabe Lina Santos loses her faith in Cornelio rather quickly and that gay bizarre music manager changes into a completely different person. When I say completely different, I mean it. This guy just flat out turns into somebody else. Was this intended, or????

This movie is pretty damn obscure. I could find nothing on this movie other than a small mention in Bobby Rivas' wikipedia page. Not only is there not any info on this movie, there's also absolutely nothing I could find on the director of the movie, Armando Molina. Armando wrote, produced, & directed the movie. That's all I know about Armando Molina! Did Armando make more movies, or???? Also, who was the actress that played Blanca? I'm aware the actress that played her is actually named Blanca, but who was she exactly? Was she really just some waitress, or was she a Mexican movie star in the making? Now the biggest question of all is how in the world did Cornelio Reyna Jr. end up starring in this movie? It's such a shame I can't ask the man himself because he unfortunately passed away 2 years ago.

I don’t know, man. This was some bizarre shit. Interesting bizarre shit though! What’s just interesting as the bizarre movie is the origin of the copy I have. It came from Tijuana, then it made its way to Texas, lastly it made its way here in Southern California. Now that I have it, it will be preserved and studied further. I honestly want to know more about this movie!

- Did Matanza En Las Vegas get a US release as well???

- Armando Molina, where are you?!?!  Did you make other movies before & after Matanza????!?!

- Blanca aka wannabe Lina Santos! Where are you???!?!

- Was La Voz Mysterio for real!??! Also, can he play at my wedding whenever that'll happen!??!?!

- Guy that played the bizarre & gay manager, why did your character change near the end?!?!?!

- What did Cornelio Reyna Sr. and Jr. think of the movie?!??!

- Who sang those 2 cheesy English songs that sound like a wannabe Whitney Houston?!??!

- What thrift store did Cornelio get that "Shit Happens" t-shirt at??!?!

- And more importantly!!!! Why in the hell was Martin Sheen on the video cover?!?!?! WHY! WHY.

I’m giving this movie a 5/10. It would of gotten a 7 if the movie’s ending wasn't so stupid.