Friday, February 12, 2016

Past Misdeeds: El Trono Del Infierno (1992? 1994?)

Through the transformation of the glorious WTF-Films into the even more glorious Exploder Button and the ensuing server changes, some of my old columns for the site have gone the way of all things internet. I’m going to repost them here in irregular intervals in addition to my usual ramblings.

Please keep in mind these are the old posts without any re-writes or improvements. Furthermore, many of these pieces were written years ago, so if you feel offended or need to violently disagree with me in the comments, you can be pretty sure I won’t know why I wrote what I wrote anymore anyhow.

During archaeological excavations with the typically destructive tools film archaeologists are wont to use, Dr. Rosa Maria Castro (Telly Filippini) and her team make a very exciting find.

Hidden under a peculiar seal made from pure gold is an offering jar that contains an idol picturing a demon and some kind of omen-o-matic that causes a short eclipse of the sun and an earthquake. We will later learn some rather strange facts about the seal itself, for example that it is marked with a European design once used by the Templars, but must have been made before the building of Tenochtitlan.

Right now, we have to note that the dig's foreman Jose Juan Jimenez (Roberto Ballesteros) accidentally breaks the jar through the influence of EVIL and breathes in some red gas that was floating around the idol. We all know where this sort of thing always leads, and sure, a few days later Jimenez is doing some fierce "I am possessed" mugging and throwing a priest out of a window. Afterwards JJJ goes on the run, trying to bring the idol in his possession and put it on its throne in hell to start the reign of Satan. Yes, the small statue is Satan itself. And by the way, hell's location is written down in the Popol Vuh. No, I don't think the film is consciously kidding.

Fortunately, the Catholic church is on the ball and sends a beardy, extensively mulleted man only called El Hombre (director Sergio Goyri himself casting himself with greatest humility as the saviour of humankind) with his trusty sword Excalibur to use the seal and the other six seals which have been found during the course of human history to put Satan away forever. El Hombre, the Excalibunator, isn't all he's cracked up to be, though. He spends most of his time floating in meditation and walking on water, and when he finally takes action, he turns out to be the sort of crap fighter who even has problems to kill a troll armed with a wobbly rubber club. My RPG characters are mocking him.

For this reason, we don't spend too much time with him. Instead, we follow the investigations of Dr. Castro and the also quite awesomely mulleted police lieutenant Moran (Jorge Luke, who needs the mullet badly to distract from his face and acting abilities) who are going to puzzle together all the stupid exposition I just explained. Then, they are going to find even more stupid exposition and lend our man El Hombre a hand.

Now, if I tell you that El Trono Del Infierno contains everything I just told you, and additionally an exploding cop partner, awesome animal imitations on the soundtrack whenever JJJ is on screen (he is "The Beast", you understand), an evil empty plate mail armour and a home-made crucifixion, you'll probably want to just run out and acquire a copy of this masterpiece. You better not run too fast, for moving very slow and deliberately will put you in the right frame of mind for experiencing the movie as it was meant to be watched.

Goyri, foremost a veteran actor in all kinds of genre films and just a dabbler in the director's chair has learned quite an important thing about making a cheap movie. It is the following main rule pulled directly from Making Movies For Dummies: "Viewers are of a weak constitution and therefore need to be prepared for scenes of potential awesomeness by first letting them walk the slow and deliberate road of utter boredom". And boy, does he ever follow this rule.

For every minute of silly fun, there are five minutes of inane, badly written and acted exposition, that usually explain everything two or three times and another five minutes of glorious, glorious filler. You probably know the sort. It is the dreaded transitional scene cancer, when all transitions are shown, however unnecessary they might be and when each and every scene in which nothing at all happens drags on and on and on. See the airplane in the sky! See the priest waiting for the plane! See the airplane! See the priest again! See the airplane land! See the runway stairs rolled to the plane! See the plane door open! And so on, and so on. The film even does this in scenes that should by all rights be more interesting (poor exploding policeman!), but at least not as much.

Still, there are some positive things to say about El Trono Del Infierno - the camera is mostly in focus, the editing does at least make more sense than the plot, the acting is absolutely atrocious, but JJJ is an excellent scene chewer, Jorge Luke knows how to sweat and look constipated like no other and Telly Fillippini is kinda cute in her earnest scientist garb. And, you know, there are at least thirty minutes of fun tucked away between the insane repetition and the outright boredom.

However, I don't believe too many people will be willing and able to excavate these minutes of fun from among the dross. Of course, I count myself among the number of people who do exactly that, and seen from this position, I'd even call the film mildly entertaining.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

No comments: