Well, my luck has finally run out. After a run of mostly-decent slasher flicks, we come to this week's effort: The Curse of El Charro. If you were expecting a gorefest starring frequent Love Boat guest Charo, prepare to be disappointed, my friends! Ay-yi-yi, beyond this line will be SPOILERS! Kootchie-kootchie!
The very first attempt I made to sit through this, I lasted a whopping 5 minutes. Yes, it was THAT bad! The movie opens with a silent-movie sequence: There are lit candles everywhere, and enough religious imagery to make Damien Thorn's head explode. There's a somewhat attractive woman, and she has big, white, feathery wings sprouting from her shoulders. Is Charlie missing an angel? Does Victoria have a secret?
Angel-Girl is either deep in prayer or she fell asleep, because a guy dressed like a cowboy sneaks up on her. He starts caressing her hair, then he somehow removes her wings. Then, just to be a dick, he kills her. A young Hispanic woman sits up in her bed, tears streaming down her face. Dream sequence. Yay. Then the title comes up, and the screen turns black for several seconds. It's over! The world's shortest slash--
Oh. Nope, she's back. She's telling a priest about her nightmare, and he's pretty useless in the "helping others" department. Oh, and her name is Maria. She aspires to be a nun, and her own sister killed herself. She also has plans to go on a trip with her friends, and the priest encourages her to have some fun.
As Maria runs to meet up with her friends, the old priest calls his Monsignor for advice. It's revealed that her sister had similar dreams and visions leading up to her demise. Yikes! The priest is advised to keep an eye on her, which might have been good to know about 30 seconds ago...
We meet 3 girls, and only one of them considers Maria a friend. Chris is the friend; Tanya is the sassy black girl; and Rose is some kind of Goth girl, I guess. Why would ANY of them be friends with each other? It's as if the writer wanted to appeal to as many demographic stereotypes as possible, to get more suckers to watch.
Anyway, Chris tells Maria that she's going to have fun, even if it kills her. Heh. After a few minutes of witless banter, they get in the car. As they drive around aimlessly, they all start headbanging. Another demographic to cross off the list!
Maria somehow manages to fall asleep again(Has she been reading the script?), and dreams about a naked woman. Oh, she's flashing back to finding her dead sister. She jiggles the dead woman's breasts to revive her, then jolts herself awake. Rose whips out a bong, and passes it to Tanya. Tanya starts to choke, then the car veers around wildly, catching the attention of a cop.
The cop, who looks like he could be Ron Perlman's grandpa, asks to see Tanya's license and registration. She tries--and fails-- to seduce him, he gets impatient, and escorts her back to his vehicle. As the others girls watch in the rear view mirror, they see what looks like Tanya giving Officer Geezer oral sex. I may need to disinfect my eyeballs if I want to finish this one.
An indefinite amount of time passes, and the cop finally walks Tanya back to her car. He seems much more chipper, and offers to escort their car into town. After he returns to his own car, Rose confronts Tanya with what they saw, but she pleads innocence. Uhhh, how stupid does she think we are? You went down on Father Time LaFawnduh...own up to it!
So, where were we? Oh yeah, they drive into the nearest town and pull into a gas station. There, they all get out of the car to stretch their legs, and leave Maria behind to refuel, while they head into the local bar/nightclub/whatever. The place is darker than Paris Hilton's soul, and the volume level is suddenly cranked up to 11. Great, I get to go deaf, and this P.O.S. has no subtitles. Oh, and Maria pointlessly watches a little boy poking a dead bird with a stick.
I hate you, El Charro.
However, as they all order drinks(from a crazy-looking bald bartender of course) and Maria heads into the restroom, we get the best scene in the film so far. The already-dim lights go out, and a young blind man is helped onto a stage by a female assistant, who seats him in a comfy wheelchair in front of a microphone. She kisses him, then the magic happens...
Basically, the singer tosses his sunglasses aside, then launches into an apeshit-crazy-fantastic thrash metal song. One old guy is REALLY into it in the scene. I won't describe the entire scene here, because it's too funny and bizarre to do it justice, but you can watch it by typing "Scott Greenall performance from The Curse of El Charro" on YouTube. Great scene, and completely comes out of left field. Besides, aren't you supposed to be watching the movie as you read along?
Maria has a vision while she's in the bathroom, and a ghostly woman warns her that El Charro is coming. She rushes back to the bar and tries to convince Chris that they need to leave town, but the bartender tells them that they can't, then Tanya tells off Maria. Oh, and the song comes to an abrupt halt.
When they exit the bar, it's dark outside. They drive around in the dark, and Maria has yet another dream. In this one, a man in a long black coat or robe warns her that "the dark one" is looking for her, and that he likes it when she's asleep. Then he has ANOTHER DREAM where she's back in the car, and there are more warnings, plus a bloody throat-slitting.
Maria comes to, and asks Tanya to pull over to the side of the road, so that she can hurl. While Chris is assisting her, Tanya and Rose freak when they see a maniac in a poncho marching straight for the car. They urge the others to get back in, and the guy disappears, then pops up at Maria's window. They speed away. Bye, El Charro!
They decide to keep driving until they reach their destination, and get there pretty darned fast. The house they're staying in is luxurious, and they all start to relax. Even Maria. As Maria and Chris unpack in one room, Rose and Tanya decide to tour the premises.
The first room they explore seems to be a mini-church, filled with a buttload of iconic religious objects. Apparently, the homeowner collects religious objects and artifacts. Oh, and Chris tries to cheer up Maria with a pep-talk. Maria, on the other hand, makes Debbie Downer seem like friggin' Pollyanna by comparison.
Chris gives Maria a glam makeover, and Tanya insults the effort repeatedly when she sees the new look. Bitchy much? Rose(actually "Rosemary") then emerges, wearing a sexy black outfit. And they're off!
They drive around until they find a club called "Seraph". Can we please knock it off with all of the symbolism here? It's not exactly subtle, seeing as how it's being shoved down our throats.
They dance around in a blurry, obnoxious mess of a sequence, then head to the bar for more drinks. This is more like one of those "World's Wildest College Girls" videos, as opposed to an actual movie, slasher or otherwise. As you might expect, 2 guys swoop up Chris, Rosemary and Tanya, leaving Maria behind to practice her Dramatic Pouting.
Despite her entire persona, Maria meets a guy at the bar. While they chat, a scruffy-looking guy stares at Maria from across the room. This new guy whispers something to an attractive woman in a cocktail gown, and she approaches Maria now. Wow, gloomy girls are shockingly popular! The guy trying to be nice to Maria is named James, by the way. As he continues to flirt with her, the mystery woman leans over to whisper something in Maria's ear. It sound like Latin, but I have no idea what she says. Anyone out there know what she's saying?
Maria, disturbed by what just happened, gets up and walks away from the bar, leaving James talking to himself. When he realizes that she left, he seems pretty disappointed. Oh well...that's why God gave us hands and lotion, man. (I know, that was gross, but I'm reallllllllllly bored by this one...)
Maria leaves the club to get some fresh air, and is approached by a blind woman. She has her one millionth vision, which I believe means that she wins a free toaster oven. In this vision, Maria sees El Charro, and learns his backstory:
El Charro was an evil land baron, and he fell in love. He wanted to marry this woman, but her religious faith led her to reject him, so he killed her family and friends out of sheer spite. The townspeople of Saguro wanted revenge on him for all of his past misdeeds, so they executed El Charro before he could kill this woman. Right before he died, he placed a curse on her and any future members of her bloodline, and Maria is his next target for revenge. Okey-dokey.
As Maria snaps out of the vision, James meets the other girls, and we discover that the other dudes who picked them up are his buddies. The 6 of them decide to leave the club without Maria, and 2 "little people" at the bar have a brief chat. Swear to God, that's how the scene ended.
Maria meets the group by the car, and refuses to speak. As they all start to drive away in different vehicles, a girl named Brittany arrives to create a scene, yelling at a friend of James' named King. As King tries to convince Britt that he hasn't seen her boyfriend all night, one of the little people walks up to King, telling him that James forgot his credit card. Whoops, I guess Britt knows the truth now!
As they drive away, King reveals that Britt is actually no longer dating James, she's just psychotic. What a relief, huh? She, of course, is following them to find her ex. Is this thing ever going to get to the slasher stuff? I've seen more horror in Saturday morning cartoons!
Back at the estate, everybody shares a bong, minus the pure, innocent Maria. She needs to chill. As she gets up to go inside, Britt encounters the "cock-sucking motherfucker" in the poncho on the road, and leaves the relative safety of her car.. Her words, by the way, not mine. He slices off the middle finger she shows him, then he cuts her head off as well. Yay!
Chris and King pick up another couple, Odie and Elvira, then continue to the house. Did this movie really need more characters? As they drive away, we get to look at El Charro's damn feet.
Tanya and her date leave the others to get acquainted, and she leaves him at the pool, so he decides to strip for a midnight swim. El Charro is still wearily trudging to the party, while Maria has more visions and a crying fit. Compelling stuff.
King's truck finally reaches the destination, and Chris leaves to check up on Maria. She finds her friend babbling, rocking back and forth, and in tears. Obviously, the very first thing she asks is, "Maria, are you okay?" (I had to pause at this point to laugh for about 3 straight minutes.)
Maria tries to tell Chris about the visions of her sister and El Charro, but Chris just thinks it's hysteria. Then there's an out-of-nowhere lesbian sequence, between Rosemary and (I think) Elvira, probably added in to wake us up. Just as it starts to get steamy, El Charro hacks them both up in the shower. Great, now I'm somehow excited AND bored. How does that work???
Maria meets up with James again, and has more visions. Shocking, I know. King and Chris start to make out on the hood of his truck, and El Charro swiftly kills them both, in a pretty unexciting and mostly bloodless sequence. Considering how much endurance it took to get to this point, you'd think that they could at least deliver decent kills.
Maria and James walk outside, where El Charro ambushes them. They make it to a car, but El Charro pulls James outside, and begins to slice him like a deli ham. Maria screams, then runs away, while El Charro's voice gets inside her head.
Maria gets to the shrine room, and starts to pray her ass off. El Charro looms large over her shoulder, still trying to seduce her with his whispers. He raises his blade, but before he can kill her, the bearded dude from the nightclub grabs his arm. Ah, the bearded guy has angel wings. El Charro is defeated by a combination of angel magic, prayer, and the magical power of a lousy script. Hooray.
The angel gives Maria a hug, and she finds herself alone in the shrine, cvovered in blood and holding a cross. She gets checked into a mental hospital, where she spends the rest of her days babbling nonstop. THE END...Wait, what? Weren't there other characters? Did Odie live?
Man, what a downer. A rushed ending, a sluggish opening act, and one epic song later, and I still can't believe how pointless it all seemed! And short! It's getting 2 killer trees out of 5, with both points going to that one song in the movie. Next up is Home Sick, which can't be half as dull as this one was.
Oh, and what did I get out of watching Curse of El Charro?
-People who have visions are no fun to be around.
-Old men are the best head-bangers.
-Ghosts have to walk everywhere.
Have a good week!