Sunday, October 30, 2022

Cult of Death.

During the 1980’s, Mexican drug trafficking had officially become a threat to the country and to its neighboring countries as well. What was being ignored for decades, was now all over the news & what used to be a “sophisticated” criminal network, now became a cesspool of greed, all-around betrayals & tons of carnage. It all of course got much worse with time. Even more so now. In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a drug trafficker named Adolfo Constanzo had lead a drug trafficking gang which had ties to the Gulf Cartel and Adolfo was not just another shmuck trafficking drugs & killing “enemies”, he was also considered a “witch doctor”. He practiced Palo Mayombe and this lead to killing animals and people, which were enemies of fellow drug lords & innocent people from the surrounding areas. This was all done due to the fact that Adolfo & his “followers” believed sacrifices of living beings lead to “good luck” for them. After killing an American college student for a sacrifice, Adolfo and his gang went on the run and this all lead to their demises and arrests. What sounded like something out of a fucked up movie, was actually all true. 

Now there are have been movie portrayals of the so-called “Narco Satanicos” and the titles that come to mind are “Narcosatanicos Diaoblicos”, a sex comedy by Frontera Films which has Roberto Ballesteros portraying a sort-of Adolfo Constanzo type of character. Then there’s “Masacre En Matamoros: Secta Satanica”, an ultra-cheapie SOV portrayal from director Xorge Noble & producer Jorge Gomez, and the most “well-known” that was somewhat inspired by this madness is “Perdita Durango”. Now there is another movie portrayal that could've came close to the real thing, but sadly it was just rushed & felt empty. That movie is “La Secta De La Muerte” (aka "The Cult Of Death")

After taking off to Mexico from Florida, a young man named Fidel (Sebastian Ligarde) meets with a Nicaraguan immigrant and both men turn to a life of crime, but with a twist. What is the “twist”? Well, Fidel practices black magic and he believes it will give him & others the powers they need to do well in their criminal activities. As their criminal gang/following grows, it also comes with much heavier consequences and lots of innocent people dying along the way!

La Secta De La Muerte was produced & written by Ismael Rodriguez Jr and he was no stranger in making gritty movies since he did write, produce & direct the ultra-gritty gang flicks Olor A Muerte and Pandilleros, then years beforehand he made the notorious true crime flick "Masacre En El Rio Tula". You’d think he would have handled a Narco Satanico movie portrayal in the same vein—alas, it is a portrayal that offers some brutality & shocking scenes, but overall it falls flat and also feels very rushed. Ismael Rodriguez Jr didn’t direct La Secta De La Muerte and that I feel is an aspect as to why the movie is inferior in quality. Had maybe Ismael rook the director chair instead of Roman Hernandez, it could've been much more gruesome & gritty. Still though, I blame both Ismael & Roman for this rushed & inferior production.

With a title like La Secta De La Muerte, you’d expect to see plenty of black magic shit going & sacrifices; but sadly we are left with mostly a true crime story and some black magic stuff, but not what you'd expect. At least the newborn baby sacrifice scene was a shocker/intense of sorts. Now I can’t put down La Secta De La Muerte so much because it does at least have a good cast and leading man Sebastian Ligarde does portray the Adolfo Constanza-inspired character "Fidel" fairly well. The movie also tries to be close to the real story, such as “Fidel” being a Cuban-American from Florida and learning black magic from his mother as the real Adolfo did. The movie's ending is also reminiscent of what really happened to Adolfo and his partner and it’s actually a really great scene, too. Worthy for a clap or two.

La Secta De La Muerte is a movie that you'll either kind of like or not like at all. For me, it's a movie that I can watch if I’m really bored, but still feel & see the emptiness it has. It had potential at being something so vile & so intriguing, but it didn't quite turn out that way. Oh, well!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Panic In The Mountain with Pedro Fernandez, Maria Rebeca & Resortes!

The mountain ghost town of “Dos Estrellas” ("2 Stars") is feared by those nearby, but an old quirky man named Beto (Adalberto Martinez "Resortes") alongside his strong-willed nephew Pedro (Pedro Fernandez) and local girl Rebeca (Maria Rebeca) head out there in search of treasure in the old mines. Once the trio settle in Dos Estrellas, they take notice of the eerie things going on around there and they’re also not alone since a big bearded man named “George” (George Samano) lives in the town and there’s also another man living there with his motherwhom probably is not even alive. After breaking open a locked-up mine, a supernatural being is unleashed and begins to terrorize the trio & eventually takes possession of Pedro!

Panico En La Montaña (aka "Panic In The Mountain") is the first of two horror-comedies that Pedro Galindo III had made alongside his glorious filmmaking family. Pedro III by this time had already directed several genre movies and this one seems to have wanted to be a throwback of sorts to the early Pedrito Fernandez & Maria Rebeca stuff that Pedro’s uncle Ruben Galindo had made in the late 70’s/early 80’s. The audience in mind for those movies were families & kids of the very same age as Pedro & Maria, but with them being young adults now, they twisted up the cutesy-sappy kid stuff with horror since the horror genre was dominating box offices during the 80’s. 

So does Panico En La Montaña play out well for what it is? I would say yes because Panico is a fun watch that offers an eerie mountain ghost town setting, a ghoulish protagonist that Jorge Reynoso plays so perfectly and the movie of course features a cast that is very beloved. Especially in those times. As kids, Pedro Fernandez & Maria Rebeca had starred in several movies together and the most famous one was "La Niña De La Mochila Azul". That was the movie that made them stars and a sort of rejuvenator for the old comedic actor Adalberto Martinez “Resortes”. Seeing these 3 actors together again is very sentimental and in a different kind of story is quite intriguing as well. This also marks the last time these 3 appear together. A farewell to those days? Basically, yes.

If you enjoy all the other amazing movies that Pedro Galindo III had directed and are a huge sap for the ol' Pedro Fernandez/Maria Rebeca flicks & if horror-comedies are your thing, then Panico En La Montaña is a must see. It'll give you everything to expect and put a little smile to your face. It is enjoyable for what it is.