Joke: What's a three-word phrase synonymous with crap?
Punchline: Sci Fi Pictures.
I have to admit, that opening joke aside, I've watched way more Sci Fi Pictures films in the last two years or so than I ever thought possible. I've sort of reached the point with them that I sort of view the whole enterprise as a goofy long form anthology series, as if The Outer Limits was produced within the walls of an insane asylum housing the cheapest, skinflint schizophrenics on Earth.
I get the joke with the Sci Fi Pictures stuff, it's meant to invoke the swinging 60's type cheap-ass films of Roger Corman and Larry Buchanan (who just remade Corman films for even LESS money if you can believe that), I get that, but with all this homaging you'd think they'd find their embryonic Scorcese, or Coppola, who'll go on to be the next great directors, like Roger Corman did. But no, they'd rather hire Roger Corman to play a Paleoichtyologist in "Dinoshark" than let him run the Sci Fi Channel studios for a while. What the hell is up with that? I mean, the guy is a master at taking no money and making semi-watchable crap with it. And why change your name from Sci Fi Channel to SyFy? That's just fucking stupid!
I'm getting off tangent, aren't I—
Okay, I was talking about Chupacara Terror, right? I have a strange fascination with cryptozoology — What's cryptozoology you ask? Well, let's fire up the all powerful internet and get us some information! Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can add to, defines Cryptozoology as "the study of hidden animals", and that almost makes it sound like a science!
Crypozoology, is a science like Cosmetology and Astrology are sciences. The hidden animals that Cryptozoology studies span the who's who of current History Channel prime time series, Bigfoot, Yeti, Skunk Ape, Mothman, Mkolo Mkembe, Cadburosaurus (not affiliated with the Cadbury chocolate company), and of course, Chupacabra – the legendary Mexican goat sucker. Crypotzoolgy, in short is the study of animals that exist in folk tales and grainy photos taken by people with questionable motives and suspect memories.
I guess Mrs. McLargehuge was right about the dangers of watching too many episodes of Monsterquest in a row.
Okay, so back to this alleged film. Chupacabra Terror was shot in the film-making mecca of Turks and Caicos Island, located just north of Haiti and The Dominican Republic. Turks and Caicos is consistently voted as one of the 10 best SCUBA diving islands on Earth. Fortunately, no one votes on whether or not Turks and Caicos is a good place to make F-grade monster movies.
We open with Dr. Peña (Giancarlo Esposito, a long time character actor) and his band of merry men trucking, and then walking, through the dense jungle of — wait, why is there stock footage of a Meerkat? Who the hell thinks, "you know what would give this scene an air of majesty, a fucking Meerkat! Get me something from Meerkat Manor, STAT!" — this otherwise unnamed Caribbean resort island. The party also has a goat with them. While passing a half-buried skeleton of a dead man, one of the bearers apparently breaks his leg — he must've stepped on some stock footage of a Meerkat hole, or he has the bone structure of Samuel L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable and if so what the hell is he doing working as a bearer? We know he breaks his leg because he yells, "Ahh, I broke my leg." Dr. Peña leaves him behind to die.
Wait a minute, wait a cotton-picking minute.
This party is going to leave the tasty goat out to attract some dangerous animal, that much is a given even though there has been exactly one line of dialogue so far — Ahhh, I broke my leg — and yet the party is going to walk another mile or two to plant the goat after leaving Mr. Glassbones writhing in the sand? Why not just set up the trap you have planned there with him and the goat as bait. Seems like you'd have a better chance of not being sued by his next of kin that way.
Alas, though, this script is stupid so the party moves on. This is where you start to notice that all of the men seem to have machine guns. WTF are these guys hunting that they need AK47s? Dr. Peña doesn't need one, he has a tranquilizer pistol. All of the men hide after staking the goat out in the middle of a big sandy clearing. They don't wait long before something speeds in and kills a couple of the men. The party panics and begins firing wildly into the darkness while Dr. Peña tries to calm everyone down. However, the Chupacabra has other ideas and begins chowing down immediately on the big gun-wielding mercenary standing right beside Peña. A big net drops (from where, now?) and Dr. Peña tranquilizes the monster.
Cut to some stock footage of the harbor, flamingos, etc., and a cruise ship way at the end of a dock. It's time to meet the rest of our cast now and tour the setting for the rest of this crappy movie. Lance (Longtime TV actor Dylan Neal) shares some cut scenes with a luxury liner, Regent Queen (actual ship not appearing in this movie). He's a US Marshall (??) sent to the ship to help the captain apprehend a thief who's managed to make off with $110,000 of bank notes and jewels somewhere along the stops of this particular voyage. The captain has requested someone to help solve the thievery as no one has left the ship with more than a pocketbook-sized piece of luggage, thus the thief is still aboard.
We learn this when Lance introduces himself to Captain Randolph (John Ryhs-Davies) and immediately asks if he's the same Captain Randolph as this other Captain Randolph who of the HMS Shepphird (a nod, no doubt the director) that steamed into a heavily mined harbor of Iraq and evacuated a platoon of stranded Marines during Operation Desert Storm.
Now, while I am relatively sure there was no naval engagements between the US and Iraq, let alone beachhead landings gone horribly wrong requiring a Dunkirk style evacuation of US Marines, the story doesn't seem to be — what's the word I'm looking for here? — Oh yeah, true.
Lance says that he always promised himself that if he ever met that Captain Randolph again he'd buy him a drink. Captain Randolph says that if he catches the thief who's plagued his boat, he'll consider them even.
Randolph receives another report about what's missing from his 1st mate, then sends Lance off to his quarters and to get more information. Enter Jenny (Chelan Simmons), Randolph's daughter who is also the Tae Bo instructor aboard the vessel — This is a cruise ship after all. What doesn't appear to make sense is that John Ryhs-Davies is appears to be 500 years old, and very British while Jenny is 20 years old and very not British. Now, it's entirely possible that he married a nice not-British woman and had a child then abandoned them for life as a scurvy 500 year old cruise ship captain and thus she doesn't have any hint of an accent. But Occam's Razor tells us to seek out the simplest solution, which is probably the right one, and that suggests that no such international coupling took place, but that the casting director figured no one would notice that the captain's daughter didn't look or sound like the captain.
Jenny swoons that they must come back to the island sometime because it's so awesome. She's also bought a little action figure of a Chupacabra (foreshadowing) from one of the "natives". Captain Randolph sends Jenny off with a warning to stop fraternizing with the rest of the crew.
Careful viewers will begin to notice bizarre inconsistencies with the sets of this film right about here. We begin with the long shots of the cruise ship, of which there are seeming million in this film, and almost all of them show different cruise vessels when using stock footage (the common trait being they are all white), or a CGI ship that always passes the same full moon at the same time irrespective of the time of day where the rest of the characters live. The few scenes shot aboard the outer decks of the ship are obviously on some vessel that is much, much, much smaller than any of the cruise ships in the long shots. Oh, it might be a small inter-island cruiser, sure, but it's not a luxury liner by any definition. In fact, I will go so far as to call it a steam freighter the same as you'd find in a Dmitry Badfilmova shark movie. But don't think too much about the deck shots because there aren't many, and besides, almost all of the rest of the film is shot inside a land-based hotel.
Randolph tells Jenny that she has to get ready as the last of the passengers are boarding now, and she has a Tae Bo class to teach.
Cut to Dr. Peña paying off two cargo guys to get his giant man-in-monster-suit sized box with "dangerous animal" stamps all over it, into the cargo hold of the ship. I have never been on a cruise before so I don't know if they regularly take on cargo from one port to another. However, in this movie, probably because the cruise ship is really a cargo ship, they do. So before you can say Chupacabra loose on a cargo ship, the crate gets lifted aboard. Peña also tells the men, when they ask what's in the box, that it's a don't ask don't tell box.
Cut back to Captain Randolph, Lance and Jonesey, the first mate (David St. Pierre) watching Dr. Peña board the ship, he's the last passenger. With the manifest updated the CGI and stock footage ocean liner cruises out of the harbor. We cut to the interior of Dr. Peña's cabin (it's a hotel room) where he is staring at the tranquilizer gun and tranquilizer serum in its stainless steel case. He transfers the pistol and drugs to the in-room safe thus rendering it impossible to get when needed then laughs maniacally at himself in the mirror.
Cut to Carlos and Pablo moving the big box of Dr. Peña's into the cargo hold. To do this they have to raise a garage door and turn on a light switch before pushing a huge man-in-monster-suit sized box into the hold. This sounds unimportant, but wait.
Keep in mind we are supposed to be on a ship here — do these men strap the big box down? No. Do they secure it in anyway to the wall? No. Do they even take the dolly upon which it rides out from beneath? Nope. What they do is open the thing to see what's inside. This, proves to be extremely stupid as the Chupacabra immediately escapes and kills both men.
Props to Sci Fi Pictures for not sparing the splatter of Karo and food color here. Oh, and to make the Chupacabra appear to move super fast, they motion blur all of his movements and it looks cheaper than old Dr. Who effects. Both men die, one of them manages to turn off the lights.
Cut now to the Captain's table in the dinning room where Lance sits uncomfortably across from Mrs. Hartman (Paula Shaw) a matronly old rich lady with a lapdog (who orders a fingerbowl of mineral water and heated goose liver pate for her dog), and Rick McGraw (David Millbern) a skeezy guy with an apparent sexual interest in Mrs. Hartman.
If you haven't figured out who the thief is by this point in the film perhaps it's time you looked into hiring a tutor. I don't know why I'm complaining about this plot element because it's immaterial, but if you're going to throw some sort of mystery/crime element into your monster movie, at least make it fun. All I wanted Rick to do was die horribly, and we have to wait a really long goddamn time to get to that. As soon as you see him you know he's the thief, so nothing he does is surprising at all for the rest of the film. It's a real wasted opportunity, but I guess that "wasted opportunity" could be the tagline for ANY Sci Fi Pictures production.
The little trip around our "Captain's Table" lets all of our main characters eventually mingle together and spill teeny little expository bits of crap about themselves as a substitute for character development. Mrs. Hartman is a widow (naturally), Jenny answers the query from lance about her lack of similar accent to her father. She explains that her mom is American and she grew up in California. Lance, when questioned, explains that her dad pulled him from a bad situation during the Gulf War and he's now an insurance salesman. Jenny and Lance are meant to be the heroic/romantic leads in this alleged film so it's natural that they have all the romantic chemistry as the cast of a retractable awning commercial. Dr. Peña arrives, and while he's also the mustache twisting villain here (minus the mustache) he is also the third end of the romantic triangle between Lance and Jenny. He immediately draws approving (i.e. vacuous) hair twisting and blondie-bobbing from the silicon boobed Tae Bo instructor. He's smooth, he's latino, he's a cryptozoologist — What's not to love?
Cut to Captain Randolph and one of his nameless female crew walking towards the table. She explains that they've checked a whole lot of the ship, all of the crew quarters and several of the guest safes, but haven't found the money. Randolph tells her to search the entire cargo hold. He then joins the others at the Captain's Table.
Amazingly (not really, but I like that word), no one stands up when Captain Randolph enters the dining room, or approaches The Captain's Table. Standard cruise ship etiquette is to do the opposite. But I guess since this is all shot in the grand ballroom of a budget resort on Turks and Caicos, it's moot. Randolph states for the record that it's an oceangoing tradition for the Captain's Table to host only the most distinguished guests. Why the hell Mrs. Hartman and Rick, let alone the cryptozoologist they just picked uo are among the most distinguished is anyone's guess.
Peña immediately asks of because Jenny's name is also Randolph, if she and Captain Randolph are related. Poor John Rhys-davies. He smiles at the question but his face betrays a weird bemusement, as if he's rather eat a bowl of broken compact fluorescent light bulbs than listen to the prattle of his costars. Rick lobs praise grenades at Randolph, as does Mrs. Hartman about how clean, and safe, and just all around awesome this Best Western — er — Regent Queen is.
All eyes fall on Lance, who must, again, introduce himself as an insurance salesman. He promises that he's left all of his policies at home and he's on vacation. Rick announces that you can never have too much insurance, a statement that Mrs. Hartman also attributes to her late husband.
There's one good shot in this whole scene (probably the whole movie) where the camera jumps from one person to another at The Captain's Table and while Jenny looks mentally challenged /horny, Peña stares at Jenny, Rick smiles idiotically at Mrs. Hartman, Mrs. Hartman makes smoochy-eyes at Captain Randolph, Lance is taking it all in with a look of interested bemusement. He actually looks like someone who investigates other people and their crimes for one second. Props to Lance.
Breaking this little scene off requires adding a new character, Marc, one of the waitstaff of this floating luxury land based hotel. He's brought a soup bowl of water for Jeffrey, Mrs. Hartman's lapdog, and she nearly pops a clot over it. Jenny intervenes but Captain Randolph shouts her down and barks at the waiter. We will get to see a little more of Marc later, but for now he runs off to fetch dog water.
Cut to two of the mates on the way down to the cargo hold to search for the missing money, they are also looking for Carlos and Pablo (who are now chasing monsters in the afterlife). Now the garage door is back down and the lights are not only off, but broken. This crewmember, a lady, the same one who was talking to Captain Randolph earlier she flicks on her flashlight and starts walking around in the dark so we can have a spring-loaded-cocoanut-carved-into-a-monkey-face scare.
Cut to her partner entering the same room, only now it has different stuff stacked against the wall. His part of the ship is also in the dark. This guy doesn't find a cocoanut, he finds blood, and our friendly Chupacabra snacking on either Carlos or Pablo. It's never a good idea to interrupt a Chupacabra at dinner, he eats the guy, then the girl runs in screaming, and he eats her too.
Someone better get our Chupacabra a Tums.
For what it's worth (not much) The monster suit is sort of okay as long as the monster isn't moving. See, they put these long Spock-on-steroids ears on the thing and didn't use any wire or stuff inside to keep them from wagging all over the place like obvious latex, and that ear wobbling is so unintentionally hilarious you immediately forget that the monster is supposed to be scary.
Cut to the kitchen where Marc is stripping out of his waiter duds and into his cleanup duds. His dishwashing partner razzes him for getting demoted again. I guess the scene where that happens was cut, because when we get back to the Captain's Table, Mrs. Hartman's dog has his finger bowl. Mrs. Hartman and Rick are also mumbling complaints about the service and food, but I am not sure what that's meant to accomplish considering Captain Randolph appears to be very able to hear them. The first mate appears and asks for Captain Randolph's attention. He departs the table, as does Lance who says he needs to stretch his legs. This leaves Jenny to ask Dr. Peña what he does for a living. He replies, and props to Giancarlo Esposito for being able to answer this question without devolving into a heap of quivering laughter, he explains that "in the scientific community, he is known as a cryptozoologist". Actually, in the scientific community he is known as a "Woo-Woo". He explains further that cryptozoology is the study of unknown or unclassified animals. Jenny, for all her head bobbing, asks, "you mean like unicorns?"
Dr. Peña laughs maniacally — muahahahahahahahohohohohhahaha —, answers no, then admonishes her that unicorns are mythological and fictional, and he studies the Chupacabra. Which, in and of itself is both mythical and fictional. Therefore, Chupacabra's are unicorns — No wait, I'm just going off on a logic-tangent there. Dr. Peña's description of his job draws the attention of Rick and Mrs. Hartman. Jenny, oblivious to the cryptosmackdown her unicorn comment drew, explains that she bought a little Chupacabra action figure.
Peña says that the name literally means goat-sucker and it literally lives off the blood of mammals and is responsible for all of the animal mutilations we've heard so much about (in some other movie somewhere I guess).
All of this pseudoscience claptrap is enough to aggravate Rick and Mrs. Hartman enough that they bug off for the casino.
Cut to the storeroom where the dead people lay in pools of their own blood, or as the Chupacabra calls it, gravy. Captain Randolph surveys the carnage. Lance spots the big empty animal crate and wonders what was inside. The crew suggests maybe an alligator or a tiger, because that's somehow more probably in the Caribbean than say a great white shark or a nest of superintelligent army ants. Randolph demands that the deck be sealed and the crew maintain absolute silence with regard to whatever is loose aboard the Regent Queen.
Really Captain? You think this is a good idea?
Randolph then asks if Lance thinks this murder might be attached to the robberies. How the hell he managed to stitch those two things together is anyone's guess, but a fold of bloodied bills drawn from one of the corpses by Lance is the answer. Nope, this is a new problem.
Back on deck the quartermaster hands out shotguns to the crew.
Jenny and Dr. Peña discuss the characteristics of the Chupabra so that we in the audience can all have the same information going forward, namely that they are fast, and they have a very tough exoskeleton. I will say that the Chupacabra suit doesn't looks like it has an exo-anything, in fact it looks a lot like a guy with good abs spray painted glossy gray wearing wings and a devil mask.
Also, Dr. Peña, the cryptozoologist, actually calls the exoskeleton an "echo-skeleton".
And cryptozoologists wonder why actual scientists don't take them seriously.
She asks if he's ever seen one, but before he can answer, some of the crew walk by with their shotguns. So much for keeping things quiet.
Dr. Peña asks for a tour of the ship and Jenny obliges but not to the cargo hold, where the doctor is anxious to see if his expensive equipment was loaded aboard safely. Jenny, perplexed and even aroused by Peña's rationale, agrees.
Cut to Captain Randolph explaining the search orders to his four crewmembers packing shotguns. They'll seal of the deck. Check. They'll shoot to kill. Check. They'll use radios to stay in touch. Check!
Then, perhaps foreshadowing the inability of anyone aboard the Regent Queen to do anything, Jenny and Dr. Peña arrive and want to know what's going on. So, they were able to penetrate a sealed cargo hold and walk unannounced into the very room where 4 dead crewmembers decorate the floor like a bloody mosaic. And Captain Randolph expects us to believe he's got a handle on this situation. He explains that this is a drill.
Dr. Peña should immediately recognize what's going on, but in keeping with all mustache twisting villains since the beginning of monster cinema, he doesn't. Randolph demands that both interlopers return to their cabins and asks Lance to escort them there. He draws a pistol. Jenny asks, "insurance salesman?"
"I'm the best insurance you've got."
Oh puh-fuckin-lease. Whoever wrote that line should have their fingers broken.
Now it's time, as it is in all low budget monster pictures, to play split the cast up and watch the extras die. Randolph breaks the crew into teams of two, each armed with shotguns, and sends them out to look for the monster. Yes, this is all very interesting with the walking through the storage rooms and the staring.
Cut to Lance escorting Peña and Jenny back to their rooms. Peña bids goodnight and slips into his cabin, that leaves times for us to watch Lance and Jenny attempt to establish some sort of screen chemistry.
Immediately after they walk away, Dr. Peña slips out of his cabin and starts searching the ship.
We cut back and forth between Randolph and the other crew or a whole until one of the groups ends up in the laundry room where they are eaten. But not before they get word to the others that the monster is mingling with the dirty undies. The film here tries so hard to establish tension and plays the scene mostly in closeup with a washer playing the mcguffin, but there's no suspense at all. We've seen the monster already, and we only know these two extras are crewmembers because they have epaulets on their shirts. So it's a foregone conclusion that they are going to die immediately of goat suckery. These guys are the Star Trek red-shirts of science fiction, the horny camp councilors of slasher flicks.
The last of the two laundry room snacks manages to get a few shots off, and alert Randolph, but the shotgun shells have no effect on the creature's "Echo-Skeleton". While trying to reload the old shotgun, the second guy is also attacked.
As Randolph and the others assemble and charge down the hallway, Chupacabra snack #2 staggers out of the laundry room with his throat torn out. Randolph calls for the Deck 5 fire doors to be shut (which can be done, apparently from the bridge). However, Dr. Peña has pegged the port side door with a fire extinguisher.
Interestingly for this film we still don't know what his motivation is for trying to find the monster before the crew does. He's already figured out that it's killed some of the crew so he's liable for their deaths, even indirectly. Typically in a monster on the loose flick the scientist is either naïve, "we need to study it!" or consumed with hubris "I must tame it!" with both conditions leading to many unnecessary deaths and at least one necessary one. So far though, Dr. Peña hasn't made his particular type of mania overtly known.
Careful viewers will notice that the cast runs down the same hallway and through the same two bulkheads at least three times during the course of the pursuit of the Chupacabra.
The bridge reports that the port side doors won't close. So the cast runs off to close them manually. Not surprisingly, the CGI wireframe model of the ship allegedly showing the port side fire door to the crewman on the bridge appears to be the wireframe model of an oil tanker. In fact, were I one to accuse films of plagiarizing, it appears to be the wireframe model of the oil tanker used in the film Hackers that illustrated the nefarious plan of Fisher Stevens and Elain Bracco.
But I digress — the crew finds the pegged door, and whoever the set decorator is, they didn't manage to clean the residue of the spark bullets on the inner wall. Those stained were made when the crew fired madly at the fleeing monster allegedly on the other side of the ship. I know, I'm picking nits. I can't help it. The fire extinguisher holding the door is slicked with blood, thus they know the monster passed this way recently.
Cut to the elaborate stage where we will be tortured by "The Regent Queen Tropical Dancers". In the midst of this musical number we establish that Chupy (as I will now call him) has found his way above decks and can menace the three or four people who will standing in for the hundred of typical passengers we see on normal cruise ships. Two of which are meandering down the hall, they stop to kiss, they somehow fail to see Chupy in all his ear-wiggliness, standing just beside them. This is the first of our Chupycam POV shots, and like the slasher films it emulates, to show that we are looking through the monster's eyes we won't put the camera on the steadycam or tripod, and we'll super-amplify the creature's breathing so he sounds like a Roman orgy.
I've never understood why directors use this technique. Seriously. Go someplace quiet. Stand still. Look around. Are you panting? Do you sound like a coyote tired out from chasing snowshoe hares in the winter drifts? Of course not. Yet, here we are with Chupy-Vader trying to stay hidden in the shadows while breathing like he's in an iron lung.
Chupy attacks both halves of the couple, and these are intecut with the insufferable dance number. I guess the idea was to suggest that we had a choice of damnation, tropical dancers who look like rejects from the YMCA hip-hop program, or being eaten by a monster who is not a unicorn.
I'll take Chupy, thanks.
Cut to another establishing shot of the CGI liner. As if we'd forgotten that we are on a ship. And into Jenny's room where she's sitting on her bunk reading some self-help relationship book. Captain Randolph uses the intercom to order all passengers and non-essential personnel back to their quarters, but that there is no emergency.
Cut to Dr. Peña sitting with a drink in the casino. The hell? Why the hell did he jam the door to let Chupy out? Does he need a live specimen to make himself famous? Maybe because he's a cryptozoologist he doesn't understand what specimens are, and that a dissectible corpse is as useful as a live animal when it comes to establishing taxonomy and that even if he did deliver a live Chupy to, say, The Smithsonian, they'd probably want to cut it apart anyway. None of this explains why he's in the bar though.
This gives us a second to check in on Mrs. Hartman (And Jeffrey) and Rick sitting at the routlette table. But they also cut out for their rooms while Dr. Peña drunkenly orders another drink.
The hell? Who wrote this script? Are there some pages missing?
All of the extras leave. Jenny pokes her head out of her room to see the same extras meandering up the same hall that the couple were killed in earlier. We cut to the kitchen where Marc and his pal lament the confined to quarters order and plan to ignore it. Marc has stolen a bottle of hooch, so it’s all good.
Cut back to Randolph and Lance pouring over a schematic of the ship. Jenny barges in and demands to know what's going on. Captain Randolph explains, earnestly, that someone has brought a savage animal aboard the ship and it's gotten itself loose. Now they have to trap and kill it before it hurts someone. She accepts this and allows her father and Lance to walk her back to her room. On the way they find Dr. Peña, now not drunk, and the dead couple from before. Jenny freaks. Dr. Peña asks of they know what did this because he might.
Way to incriminate yourself, jackass.
He explains that it's a creature he's studied for years, and that can't be stopped. Jenny pipes in, "A — a Chupacabra?" Peña nods and explains that he has trapped them before and he can trap this one — er again.
Randolph sees right through this and accuses him of smuggling the monster aboard the ship.
Normally, in a competent movie, this would elicit tension but the editing is so clumsy, jumping from one blank face to another and another and another every time Peña speaks slows the thing to a crawl. Lance jumps in and says they should heard Dr. Peña out.
Have none of these people heard of Occams Razor? Why is Chupacabra the most logical reason for all the deaths on the ship? What the hell else has happened on other voyages that makes this incident commonplace enough to consider?
Randolph demands to know how to kill the monster. Peña counters that the creature is so valuable that everyone aboard the ship, including himself, is expendable as long as the creature gets to "science". So, now, a full millennium into the film we get to where he stands on the crazy pseudo-scientist scale. He's right up there with android Ian Holm, and Dr. Yamane. At least we have that out of the way.
The rest of the cast looks on with horror. Jenny calls him "insane". Peña reiterates that he can trap the beast again.
Cut to Marc and the other kitchen guy walking around the seemingly empty ship. They are eaten. They are given a hefty 5 minute death scene. What is up with that? Who cares about these two? No one can possibly give a rats ass whether they live or die. But they die, and it takes forever for it to happen. And you'd think with that forever stuck in there you'd get something for your time. You don't, it's the same kind of death all the other crew have suffered so far.
Marc manages to hit the fire alarm before he dies.
Cut to Captain Randolph calling in a Mayday. He is apparently in the basement of the hote — er — inner something of the Regent Queen. He has no modern seeming communications gear, and he is no where near the bridge of a modern cruise ship. Have you ever seen one of those? I kid you not, they are like the bridge of the Next Generation Enterprise, only with more dials. These guys look like they are making the Mayday call from the storage room of a Chinese restaurant.
The Mayday reaches a US Navy listening station taken right out of a 1950s monster movie. Randolph calls in a Tango alert, which means they have a terrorist aboard. The Admiral in charge of the station says he'll send every available man he's got, but Santiago Bay is just a listening station. He also scrambles civilian rescue (which technically should have scrambled as soon as they heard the Mayday.).Six soldiers depart in a bass boat to rendezvous with the Regent Queen.
Man – 12 pages of this already. Okay, let's speed things up.
• Peña runs off to get supplies for his trap.
• Lance catches Rick robbing the casino and locks him in his quarters.
• The soldiers land on the CGI Regent Queen.
• The soldiers are Navy Seals. They wear skateboard helmets.
• Randolph spills the beans about the Chupacabra.
• Someone gets the video surveillance working.
• Dr. Peña rants about how important the Chupacabra is to science, and explains that he needs a warm blooded creature to bait the trap (see if you can guess who he means).
• Everyone watches the captured footage of the monster.
• Mrs. Hartman begs Captain Randolph to let her take Jeffrey for a walk. He says no but she sneaks out with the dog anyway.
• Peña pleads with Randolph to lead the monster to the kitchen.
• Chupy attacks the Seals right in the hallway (audacious and delicious).
• We get a shot of Chupy climbing clumsily along the wall like Spiderman.
• The Seal team commander directs the others from the bridge (or the storage room).
• We get lots of shots of Seals running through hallways and down stairs.
• Lance waits in the kitchen.
• Chupy gets cornered in the garbage room, but rather than just leave him locked in there the Seals barge in and shoot up the garbage. There is a big chute running up the wall, so that's probably where Chupy is hiding.
• Jeffrey runs away from Mrs. Hartman and finds Chupy in the casino.
• Rick escapes his room through the air duct in his room (just like Die Hard!).
• Jeffrey and Mrs. Hartman gets eaten, again they get a good five minute death scene for no good reason.
• The Seal commander takes command of the Regent Queen. Randolph calls for abandon ship. He asks Lance to take Jenny to the lifeboats and make sure she gets on.
• Rick falls into someone's room where he can make his escape.
• CGI lifeboats appear.
• Peña readies a hypodermic needle while listening for Jenny. How the hell he knows where she's going to be is anyone's guess as he wasn't on the bridge when Randolph sent her to the lifeboats. He hears that Lance is with her and readies a surprise unexected defibrillation for him, then after a few nice Tae Bo kicks from Jenny, jabs her ass with a needle and knocks her out.
• Rick dresses up like an old lady to sneak onto the lifeboats.
• Another CGI establishing shot. Again, because we somehow might forget this takes place on a ship.
• The crew searches for Rick upon realizing he's escaped from his cabin.
• Randolph finds Lance waking up in the hallway. He somehow remembers that it was Peña that took Jenny to the kitchen. How he does this is anyone's guess as he was unconscious.
• Jenny is tied to the table under a net in the kitchen. Peña explains that she's being sacrificed to science, or something equally stupid.
• The Seals rush the galley.
• Chupy climbs in from the ceiling.
• Randolph and Lance meander towards the kitchen as if they don't know where the place is. In the background, Jenny screams as she's seen Chupy in the shadows.
• Jenny appear to be tied to the commercial kitchen equivalent of a spice rack. I cannot believe anyone would be unable to escape from the loose ropes and flimsy shelf to which she's been tied.
• Randolph and Lance shoot Chupy in the face. He runs off.
• Peña pulls the rope dropping the net on Jenny, he then runs away then gets eaten.
• The seals finally arrive and two of them are eaten.
• Peña, gargling through a torn throat laments to Lance that his life's work is wasted. Lance and Randolph and Jenny pester him for information about how to kill Chupy.
You know what, I'm going to stop there because this has gone on way too long enough. The rest of the film is as predictable as this much of it. Rick gets killed, more seals die (though only six originally entered the ship and at least that many have been eaten so far). The last Seal throws CGI grenades all over the engine room and that sinks the CGI Regent Queen. Randolph, Lance, and Jenny escape after electrocuting Chupy.
There, the end. Blah. Phooey. The main problem with this film, nay, with all Sci Fi Pictures is not in the cheapness, of the C list talent (or in the case of this, two B listers and the rest F list talent), it's the poor choice of directors. I don't know what these guys work on before they get assigned to these craptastic films. Commercials maybe, weddings? Who the fuck knows. The bottom line is, even with crap material, in somewhat competent hands this stuff can be made fun and exciting and even scary. Here it's just boring. Chupacabra Terror is as boring as a rerun of The Love Boat and it goes on three times as long. There are great low and no-budget films out there. Shit, there are probably three of them sharing the main page with this review here at horrorview.com right now. Watch one of those instead. Even though SyFy streams for free (or seeming free) into your cable box, doesn't mean you should watch Chupacabra Terror. Watching this made me long for the delightful insanity of an Asylum Home Entertainment production, and that's saying something as The Asylum is The Gitmo Waterboarding of straight to DVR monster films.