Grave Robbers (1989) Vinegar Syndrome 10/27/2020
Directed By: Rubén Galindo Jr.
Starring: Fernando Almada, Edna Bolkan, Erika Buenfil
So, Grave Robbers (1989) might not be a hotly anticipated title but, if you, like me, are fans of Mexican horror director Rubén Galindo Jr. it is! Not only is Vinegar Syndrome unearthing Grave Robbers but, in my opinion his opus film Cemetery of Terror (1985). I have enjoyed these movies for awhile now so much so that both movies are written up in my book The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema. But, I was working from a crappy DVD, but now, in 2020 both films are presented in great new editions. I will hopefully be reviewing Cemetery of Terror sometime as well. A group of grave robbers unearth a tomb hoping for riches. However, this being a horror movie, they only find evil undead spirits and a accident curse.
Though I prefer Cemetery of Terror, I will say that Robbers has an overall more polished screenplay and I like the blending of Occult with the Slasher genre. Though the movie is done on a dime Ruben clearly does his best to craft a atmospheric movie with some decent production design. Sure, it still looks low budget but I can tell a strong effort was made to put every bit of budget onto the screen. Even the costumes in the film look solid. The makeup effects are also extremely well done, especially considering the limitations the filmmakers had to work with. Speaking of, if you are interested in gore, this film has plenty of splatter to sate even the more jaded of fans. To be honest, this isn't some kind of forgotten masterpiece and suffers from the typical short comings of low budget fares with some questionable plot holes. What saves it is Ruben' puts a crazy and altogether different spin on the slasher genre and I think what's really interesting is the film is steeped in Mexican tradition with a modern updating. I have a soft spot for this directors work and I really hope you decide to give this a blind-buy if you haven't seen it. I'm finally glad both of these Ruben films are getting a wider release and hopefully will finally find the cult following they deserve. Please do, Don't Panic next!
Picture: This is one of those rare chances that I can compare the older release to the new one. I previously owned the Cemetery of Terror and Grave Robbers on a double feature DVD. Vinegar Syndromes new 4k scan is such a huge leap in terms of picture. Colors are more vivid and, seeing how a bulk of the film takes place at night the new scan benefits from this transfer. Grain is fine and consistent throughout. It's hard to believe that this film will ever look better.
Sound: Robbers has a nice DTS-Mono track. Dialogue and sound design come through well.
Extra: Unearthing the Past: Interview with Ruben Galindo Jr (19 mins). This is a great new interview with the legendary Mexican horror director. It was great to hear about his career and the inspiration and making of Grave Robbers. Lively and enjoyable to watch.
It also features a commentary track by "The Hysteria Continues"
Grave Robbers is a fun slice of Mexican Slasher Satanic Horror that should not be missed!