Grave Robbers – aka Ladrones de tumbas – is a 1989 Mexican supernatural horror feature film directed by Rubén Galindo Jr. (Don’t Panic; Cemetery of Terror) from a screenplay by Carlos Valdemar, adapted from Galindo Jr.’s storyline. Fernando Almada, Edna Bolkan and Erika Buenfil star.
During the Inquisition, a satanist is accused of practicing black magic and tortured before being killed by an axe to his chest. As he dies, he curses his torturer’s descendants.
In present day Mexico, a group of greedy teenagers dig up graves looking for treasure. In doing so, they inadvertently discover a catacomb and resurrect the devil worshipper as a zombie killing machine…
“It’s a dragging slasher with a reliance on gore for gore’s sake and little magnetism. Galindo makes a slight move towards effective style (the subterranean exploration scenes for one), but the film is bogged down by aimless gab.” Joseph A. Ziemba, Bleeding Skull!
” …this features a few genuinely gruesome moments. Despite being completely unoriginal, this is actually a pretty fun movie. Apart from dragging a bit in the middle, it’s busy and fast-paced most of the time and the production values, acting, sets, cinematography and make-up effects are all either good or at least passable.” Justin McKinney, The Bloody Pit of Horror
“This obviously low-budget Mexican horror flick takes a while to get cooking, but once it does, it’s pretty gory […] The effects may not be state-of-the-art, but it’s apparent that they’re a labor of love and a breath of fresh air when compared to the sterile CGI effects of today. The film has a low-budget atmosphere that’s infectious, so it’s various shortcomings (including some camera shadows) can be ignored.” Fred Adelman, Critical Condition
“This is a slasher film of the highest degree, and as the body count mounts, so do the excellent Tom Savini-type special effects. Heads and hands are lopped off, throats and skulls are gashed, and one poor girl has her face mashed through the bars of a gate.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In
“While the plot and acting here are a complete mess, the film is worth seeing for the special effects as this is one gory little film. Innards are ripped out, faces are smushed, hands are chopped off and more, and the camera shies away from none of it. Thankfully, the effects are actually quite good...” Ian Jane, DVD Talk
“It’s colorful, gory, cheesy, silly and Galindo’s idea of scares is cobwebs, skeleton hands, graves, fog and a generous amount of (cheap) graphic gore. There’s a lot of axe-cuts of course, a head crushing, stabbings, a belly-ripping (from the inside, by a demon hand!), some general stabbings and decapitations and more.” Fred Anderson, Ninja Dixon
“Once you can get past all the Inquisition flashback shit and the inane treasure hunting malarkey, Grave Robbers settles down and becomes a fairly decent Mexican slasher flick chockfull of wonderfully moist gore scenes. There are plenty of gruesome axe murders to be had…” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum
“Slightly above average cheesy satanic-zombie-slasher from Mexico with just enough extra gore and energy…” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre
Image credits: The Bloody Pit of Horror