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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Grave Robbers - Grave Robbers(Blu Rays) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2020]

Grave Robbers is a rip-roaring Mexican slasher from the late 1980’s – that’s stuffed full of limp lopping, and at times splatter bound gore. The film features a huge lumbering axe carrying supernatural killer, with a plot that sprinkles in creepy crypt stealing ‘n’ torture, satanic shenanigans, and punchy-to-machine gun tooting cop action. From Vinegar Syndrome- those resurrectors of lesser-seen genre fare- here’s a recent region free Blu Ray release of the film- bringing together the companies always classy new scan, a commentary track from slasher loving pod-cast The Hysteria Continues, and an interview with the director.

Grave Robbers( aka Ladrones de tumbas) appeared in 1989- it’s was the fourth feature length film from Mexico City-born director, writer, producer Rubén Galindo Jr.  Before making this film he helmed Ouija board slasher Don’t Panic, so he certainly knew the genre. And I think it’s fair to say that Grave Robbers is one of the better late 80’s examples of the slasher genre, as it’s nice & pacey, featuring loads of OTT killings, a memorable enough cast, and neat settings that move from a cobwebby crypt & graveyard, onto a wooded area, & a misty grand church.

The film begins back around the medieval ages- as a satanic loving killer is tortured, then cursed by a priest before getting an axe embedded in him. Flash forward to the ’80s and a group of grave-robbing teens find their way into an underground crypt full of dusty & cobwebbed bodies, and lots of gold & jewellery. The group uncover the now mummified killer- pulling out the huge axe- and so the slashing chaos begins- the killer is huge, lumbering & seemingly unstoppable with a hooded grown & his huge axe- think a blend of badass living dead knight, Madman Mars( 1980’s Madman) and Victor Crowley( the Hatchet series).

After the seemingly fairly lengthy & drab red ‘n’ black credits the film kicks in, and doesn’t really let up. As we move from medieval torture, onto low-grade Indiana Jones crypt stealing. Onto damn brutal & fairly no-holds barred killings that take in head twisting's, limp chopping, decapitation, axes in the face, and neat-yet- more ridiculous kills like gut ripping hands through bodies, and the wall coming alive to neck break. Added to these we get touches of  cop car racing & gunplay action, throwing in alongside misty gothic & devil loving tropes. All in all Grave Robbers is a damn great slasher, and if you’re a fan of the genre you’ve got to see this.

Moving onto this recent region free Blu Ray- and first, off we get the normal reversible VS cover, and this shows two very different covers for the film- we have the creepy living dead knight carrying an axe under a large moon cover, which looks like the film could be a spin-off of the Blind Dead Series. Or the cops, guns, teens & bright/ dramatic graphics- which looks like an action film….so neither was a true visual interpretation of the film.  Moving onto the disc it’s self- and we get a new 4k print from the films original 35mm negative, and as expected from VS it's wonderful clear, crisp & well-defined print- with vibrant reds, good & balanced night time footage, and a  general all-round great print. The Spanish audio is good too; with easy to read sub-titles through-out. Onto the extras front we get a commentary track with four piece slasher podcast collective The Hysteria Continues- and as anticipate this is both most informative, amusing & very worthy. They move from giving a potted history of Mexican horror films, moving onto talk about other Mexican slashers. They go onto discuss the films key actors, talk about the director's other films, and how Grave Robbers is very much a genre mix- bringing together elements of gothic euro horror, zombie films, slasher, treasure hunting action, and cop movie. They go onto point out the clear Friday 13th nods, and much more- as I said a most worthy track I can see myself playing again. The other extra on the disc is a new around nineteen-minute interview with director Rubén Galindo Jr- here he talks about the differences between this & his previous slasher film, what influenced the films story, the films actors, and more- another worthy/ good extra.

Before this release I was not aware of Grave Robbers- so a big thanks to VS for putting out this lost 80’s slasher classic out. Lets hope they have some more none American slashers in the pipeline for release, as it’s always great to see other countries take on this most American of horror genres.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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