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Hell's Trap (1990)

DVD Cover (Imperial Films & Music)
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6.1
 / 10
2 votes
Genres:
Action Thriller, Horror, Slasher Film
Director:
Pedro Galindo III Pedro Galindo III
Starring:
Pedro Fernández Pedro Fernández
Edith González Edith González
Toño Mauri Toño Mauri
Charly Valentino Charly Valentino
Marisol Santacruz Marisol Santacruz
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Review by Chad
Added: July 19, 2010
Mexico hasn't really come to be known for their horror output over the years. Sure, they gave us Guillermo del Toro who kinda dabbled in horror, but the list of notable Mexican horror flicks is fairly small. So, when I picked up a copy of Hell's Trap, a little-known slasher from 1990, I really wasn't expecting much. I expected to see their take on the American eighties slasher, but with subtitles: no more, no less. I was prepared for that, but what I wasn't prepared for was an action-slasher hybrid. Yes, folks, this film combines two radically different genres, and surprisingly, it worked. Granted, it "worked" in an extremely cheesy sort of way, but I'll be damned if I didn't have some fun with it.

Taking a cue from American slashers, the storyline for this one is paper-thin. It revolves around Mauricio (Toño Mauri) and Nacho (Pedro Fernández), two guys who have a love / hate relationship with one another and fuel this with little wagers. For example, to open the film, we see the two "dueling to the death" in a paintball showdown with a round of beers on the line. Nacho ends up taking the prize here, much to the chagrin of Mauricio - in fact, the man is so pissed off about his loss that he throws down the gauntlet: one more wager, winner takes all. The wager? The two men, along with a few of their buddies and their girlfriends, will head on up to a remote section of the woods and track down a bear that has massacred a handful of local townsfolk. The man who scores the killing shot wins the wager and the eternal respect of the other.

Of course, this being a horror film and all, we quickly learn that it wasn't a bear that killed those folk. It was Jesse (Alberto Mejia Baron), a gringo American soldier who moved to Mexico after "the" war, went insane, and started believing that everyone who he stumbled across was his sworn enemy. Naturally, this doesn't bode well for our heroes, because come to find out, these woods are his home turf. Ariba!

From the description, you may think that this is nothing more than your typical slasher movie. Weak plot, disposable characters, lots of kills, yatta yatta yatta. It is, but it's the little things that make it work - things like, I don't know, mixing the slasher genre with plenty of action sequences. Yes, it turns out that Jesse is the bastard love-child of Michael Myers and Rambo, as he is equally adept with sharp pointy things as he is with machine guns and forest traps. Oh, and while we're on a roll with the analogies, let's just say that Uncle Freddy Krueger apparently gave his nephew a present in the form of a certain glove. An unstoppable killing machine wearing a bloody mannequin mask with a machine gun in one hand and a glove straight out of A Nightmare on Elm Street on the other... what's not to love here?

Very few movies deliver this kind of mixture, and being a huge fan of both genres, it brought a tear to my eye to see the man rip out a woman's throat with his gloves just before picking up his machine gun and unloading a clip in the direction of our heroes. That tear was down to my cheek when shit started exploding, and it fell to the floor when the grenades started getting thrown. Is it high art? Hell no, but for a night of cheesy fun in front of the tube, you really can't beat this. The gore was above average (though nothing to write home about), the action sequences were pretty good, and in fine tradition, the acting was laughably bad. The only thing missing that would have made this fit firmly inside the eighties slasher mentality was an abundance of nudity, but at least we get to see a couple of girls in skimpy bikinis. Thank goodness for small favors.

Overall, I'm giving this movie a thumbs up, but only for those of you who think the mixture sounds interesting or those slasher fans who think that they've seen it all. This is not a hidden gem that will find a spot in your favorites list, but if you think it sounds like the ideal disc for a night of enjoyment, then you won't be disappointed. 7/10.
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