Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Havoc: DIABOLIC INHERITANCE (1994)

After the death of a wealthy, eccentric aunt leaves her vast estate to her nephew Tony (Roberto Guinar) and his wife Annie (Holda Ramírez), the couple decide to move in. Once in the house, they do some cleaning. And some kissing. And a shower is taken and... find a room with a satanic alter! We know it's satanic because there is a big Chris Cooper style Halloween mask of the devil hanging on the wall.

Tony brushes off his wife's frivolous concerns saying that everybody knew about his aunt's love of weird stuff, like whatevs. Also in the attic is a picture of the Aunt at eight years old with a clown doll that is nearly the same size. Conveniently also in the same attic trunk is the doll itself. I should point out that it took twenty minutes to get to this point. Twenty! Most of this time is people making phone calls, travellogue footage of Mexico City and even stock footage of airplanes taking off and landing. Oh, and Tony looking for a job, for which he is having little luck because he has absolutely zero personality.

Annie becomes pregnant (conceived during a lengthy sex scene in a completely dark room!), and while wandering around the mansion, the clown doll comes to life and pushes her to down the stairs. The doctors manage to save the baby and now Tony's son Roy is now besties with Auntie's creepy clown doll. He swears that the doll is alive, but of course Tony just brushes it off like everything else in life. Well, except for kissing. Tony sure does love to kiss. Matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Guinar took the role just so he could get as much necking and groping as possible from the two female leads. Oh, and because it's shot on video we get noisy kisses, that sound like someone torturing a balloon animal, every couple of minutes. Did I say "two" female leads? Yep, still working at the same job, and in spite of being a complete dickhole to his smokin' hot secretary Claudia (Mexican soap star and Playboy model Lorena Herrera), she totally digs him and after confessing her feelings, they get hitched. If Guinar was the director, I'd say this was a total vanity project.

All of a sudden Roy has a step-mother and you know what that means. His life is about to reach all new levels of suck. First thing she does is decide that she doesn't like the fact that Roy enjoys hanging out with his homie, the clown. Not that he has anyone else to play with since they live on a massive estate in the middle of nowhere, but whatever, the clown has got to go! First she tries locking him in an armoire, and he returns. Next she tries throwing him in a pond in a park, and he comes back. Then she tries throwing him in a box and while driving her convertible in a rough area of town let's a dirt-bag steal the box out of the car (no really), and he returns. She then totally flips out grabs a pair of scissors and rips his head off. At this point I'm feeling kind of sorry for that clown doll. Not only does it not have a name other than "clown doll", but jeeze what the hell did he do to piss off Claudia? I mean, since she's been around, the only thing he's done is stab the criminal who stole him out of her car with a broken bottle! Oh, and he kills the housekeeper by telekinetically using a rope in the longest slow-motion shot in cinema history to grab her and throw her over the roof of the mansion. Don't ask, I don't know either.

Of course, this means war and the bitch has got to go! I say that like something exciting happens. It doesn't. Really.
(spoilers ahead if you care)
Clown doll teleports around the room and then comes after Claudia with a knife instigating a chase scene in which they run down stairs, through some woods, down more stairs, up some stairs, up more stairs, at which point she falls over a cliff and clown doll and Roy smile and shake hands.
(end of spoilers)

While this all sounds like some wonderful beertainment, it has so much pointless filler that you have a movie that could have been a TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode drawn out to 80 minutes. Not that it has the production values that are anywhere near TALES, hell these guys dream of being on-par with THE NAILGUN MASSACRE (1985), which they are not. We get scenes of climbing stairs, driving, drinking beverages, standing around, kissing, more kissing, going to the lamest fair ever and petting the animals, walking some more, having completely non-sequitur phone conversations that abruptly appear in the movie and serve no purpose for the characters or plot. Seriously, in one scene Tony and Claudia walk outside, close the door, walk to a spot on the terrace, take out cigarettes, light them and Claudia says "It's getting hot, don't you think?" to which Tony says "No, not really." Cut! Print! Or rather press stop on the video camera and on to the next scene in which Tony and Claudia go out for a classy black tie dinner at Aladino's and slow dance for a while. Riveting!

This one truly tested my fawning adoration for Mexican films and it may have tested a lot of other people too, as this was writer-director Alfredo Salazar's final directorial effort. As a director he started with the cult favorite horror-western THE RIDER OF THE SKULLS (1965), but only made ten movies in that capacity. However he served as production manager on NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (1969) and wrote over 60 films, most of which are genre films such as the classic horror THE CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (1968), the infamous superhero flick THE BATWOMAN (1968) and lucha films such as SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. DRACULA AND THE WOLFMAN (1973). This makes me want to give him some props, but damn this movie is rough going.

Lorena Herrera in 2011

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