The opening credits song of Ladrones De Tumbas (aka "Grave Robbers") is a latin hymn & a prayer going along with it. It all sounds so tranquil, but very evil as well. An appropriate mood setter for Ladrones De Tumbas. We are now entering a world of satanism, religious superstitions in a small Mexican town & brutal murders.
Ladrones De Tumbas begins long ago during the inquisition where a devil-worshipping executioner (Agustin Bernal) in the small Mexican town of San Ramon attempts to sacrifice a woman in order to bring upon the antichrist. The once noble executioner is caught by the church superiors and is then tortured & ultimately executed by an axe to the chest. Just before his death, the executioner forewarns that he will come back when the axe is removed from his chest and that he will make sure that the descendant of who killed him will be sacrificed to bore the antichrist. Jumping to 1989, a group of teenagers have come to an abandoned cemetery in San Ramon to rob old graves containing potential goods inside. Once they have found what they’re looking for, they also come across the executioner’s grave & naively remove the axe from the executioner’s chest which ultimately leads to his resurrection & the various murders amongst them all. The sheriff of San Ramon "Lopez" (Fernando Almada) takes notice of this and feels the need to protect his town from whatever supernatural entity has come upon. It also just happens that Lopez is the descendant of the priest who killed the executioner and now the executioner is after Lopez's daughter (Edna Bolkan) who's on a camping trip nearby!
Ladrones De Tumbas is a tale of an evil satanic zombie executioner fulfilling a dark promise of bringing the antichrist into the world, and he will not let anyone or anything get in the way. This of course means chopping up a bunch of teenagers & innocent country folk. The weapon of choice for these kills is a giant axe and the executioner also uses his supernatural powers very brutally. If that doesn’t sound any fun to you, then you must be bitter & very boring. Ladrones De Tumbas is an exciting movie all the way through with it having a fantastic plot & having a fantastic cast as well. The late & forever great Agustin Bernal plays the evil satanic zombie executioner and like with all of his roles, Agustin made it all so believable. His facial expressions & mannerisms done so perfectly. The legendary Fernando Almada of course plays the hero of Ladrones De Tumbas and here he plays Sheriff Lopez and Lopez wants his town to be safe at all times, but when something supernatural comes along—is Lopez the right man to fight it? Well, If he’s played by the Fernando Almada, then he definitely is. Fernando Almada was a natural at playing lawmen and here he does it again so wonderfully & the fact that we see him fighting a satanic zombie executioner is almost unbelievable. It’s all done so perfect though. It never comes off cheesy at all, despite it sounding like it.
The rest of the cast consists of young telenovela actors who at the time were debuting in movies. Erika Buenfil is the 2nd leading lady and her beauty & charisma capture your attention immediately and this of course also goes to Edna Bolkan, who’s the main leading lady of the movie. Ernesto Laguardia plays the support of sorts for Fernando Almada, but it’s rather obvious he was just put in more upfront because he was the young telenovela hunk of the time. The one hunk that’ll capture the eyes of young women that admire him heavily. I also have to mention that legendary Mexican actor Roberto Cañedo also appears in Ladrones De Tumbas as the town priest and around this time Cañedo was playing whatever roles he could get, but he still gave it his very best just as his iconic roles from the past.
In 1987, Don’t Panic was made at an attempt to appeal to a worldwide audience—thus its American-looking production. After the success of Don’t Panic, Ladrones De Tumbas came along and this time around it was made for the regional market, thus its regional Mexican setting featuring an all-star cast that is all too familiar to this particular audience in mind. Despite their differences in productions, both movies are equally superior Mexican slasher movies and both directed by Ruben Galindo Jr whom by the way had a huge hand in getting the wildly cool special effects done right.
Ladrones De Tumbas is for me the best Mexican slasher movie. It is what a Mexican slasher should be like and Galindo Jr and his cast & crew made it all so damn perfect. This is a must see. Not to be overlooked whatsoever.
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