Rodrigo Arag„o  

Brazilian talent that fell in love with old-school gore and horror. As opposed to many of his low-budgeted peers, he focuses on all of the elements of a movie besides the splatter, bringing a blend of characters, plot developments, horror, black magic, freaky characters, superb wild & natural locations, textures, and plenty of old-school splatter that often involves mud and rot, resulting in texture-rich, palpable horror movies. He often manages to overcome his small budgets, and is improving with each movie. One to look out for.

Of Some Interest

Black Fables, The  
All-star low-budget Brazilian horror anthology with Josť Mojica Marins, Rodrigo Arag„o, Petter Baiestorf and Joel Caetano. The wrap-around involves kids in the woods telling gruesome tales. If anyone could make sewage-zombie-splatter, Arag„o would be the one to do it, and that is the topic of the first segment. There is a sewage problem, the mayor is fat and corrupt and literally full of crap, and the local authorities are a bureaucratic nightmare. Enter sewage zombie disease and sewage creatures for some brief, messy splattery entertainment. Then comes some forgettable splattery werewolf horror by Baiestorf in a small village led by a strict colonel that finishes in a very messy surprise transformation scene. Then there's a more conventional, simple horror short by Marins about old dark magic vs religion, and evil which may or may not come in the form of monsters. The fourth segment is the only modern-style poorly written and incoherent short that uses a hodgepodge of gruesome gore scenes and jump-scares in some kind of haunted strict Catholic school for girls. And finally, Arag„o directs a surprise, but really short, second segment about jealous vengeance inspired by a weird demon.

Black Forest, The  
Arag„o delivers another raw, muddy, slab of dark-magic jungle horror with a variety of colorful horror elements, although the splatter is greatly reduced and is featured only in a couple of final scenes. A young woman who is the daughter of a healer in a forest, comes across an evil book. Dabbling in dark magic brings on bigger and bigger curses, however, and one has to keep escalating the magic in order to undo the damage of the previous. The simple-minded locals aren't happy at all with the new witchcraft in their midst. Once again, the tone is cruel, raw, texture-rich, primal, and features natural-locations, and characters that are somewhat lacking in human dimensions, reduced to their baser instincts, and this final point holds back these movies. Otherwise, it features scary demonic curses, evil chicken-babies that behave like something straight out of Evil Dead, some undead, a scary grandmother, and an ambitious ending.

Cemetery of Lost Souls, The  
Arag„o greatly expands his palette and toolbox here beyond the usual mud-jungle dark magic. In fact he expands it so much that this could easily have been turned into a two or three-movie series with all its back-stories, events and characters. The only thing he is missing is some real-life human set-up to balance out the constant gothic horror, splattery violence and dark-magic gruesomeness. There's a Grimoire book of dark magic and its story is told from ancient times. there's savage colonial violence, fierce cannibals, and revenge, and an evil ex-priest that has given his life to the power of the dark magic along with his horde of immortal undead that live in a cemetery. There's a modern mobile carnival side-show of gothic horror, a psychic boy with confusing dreams, and a native cannibal girl imprisoned amongst the undead. All of this is not put together using the best structure, and most of the movie is back-story, but it does become clear in the end. As with his last movie, Arag„o doesn't just make a splatterfest, but uses the splatter as needed, especially with the violent climax. A good old-school horror movie. It just needs a bit more balance and themes, and perhaps some inspiration from Guillermo Del Toro.

Dark Sea  
Now this is a splatterfest. Arag„o follows up on his 'Mud Zombies' with another unique blend of zombies, muddy-blackened-zombie-gore, black magic, action, a swampy location, and an odd, obsessive love story. The great opening features two fishermen that find themselves battling a bizarre and very vicious mutant sea-creature, bringing home an infected bite. A brand new local whorehouse (run by a freaky eye-sore of a transvestite with a mini-gun) serves as the breeding ground for the increasing chaos, as they are visited by politicians, horny perverts, bodyguards, a Spanish woman, and other colorful visitors for the grand opening. Also in the whorehouse, working as a kitchen assistant, is the love of a local albino who dabbles in black magic. Add to the mix a black-magic freak that wants his magic book back, Satan, sleaze, and various sea-creature zombies, and you have yourself a very entertaining zombie movie. Splatter is way over-the-top, including nasty mutations, and endless carnage scenes via mini-gun or machetes that bring to mind Peter Jackson, except without the splatstick and creativity. Besides the look of the gore and the sea-creature zombies (especially one big surprise at the end), there is not that much that is new, witty or exciting here. But it's definitely an entertaining watch with superb gore, and it is Arag„o's best so far.

Mud Zombies  
Brazilian low-budget old-school zombie movie that is all about location and very good gooey splatter effects and makeup. A group of poor people living in a Brazilian mangrove and swamp try to make a living off the dying animal-life, including oysters and crustaceans. But the grove is polluted, rotting and full of corpses of people that didn't make it, and the oysters aren't as healthy anymore. When the dead start coming back to life, some survivors fight it out with a hatchet and grandmother medicines, while a timid man tries to protect his secret love. There is no CGI which is very good, the old-school gore is very well done albeit not too creative, the camera-work is very dynamic and tries to emulate Evil Dead, but doesn't quite make it half the time, the acting is passable, and the atmosphere is great. In short, a mixed bag but mostly good, and there's great fun to be had here for zombie-movie lovers. I just wish the writing had more personality or creativity.

Night of the Chupacabras, The  
A feud between two local families is fuelled by random killings by a creature in the woods with a taste for goats and other animals. A visiting city-boy and his pregnant wife finds himself right in the middle of the rapidly-escalating violence. For a monster-movie, this film strangely manages to spend the vast majority of its time with a feud and endless fights that aren't very good, escalating from fist-fights to gun and knife-fights that become increasingly gory and violent, as some of them get into a frenzy of sadism and dismemberment. Baiestorf definitely makes the movie more entertaining with his over-the-top acting and enthusiastic violence. The Chupacabra monster, however, detracts greatly, looking no more than a man in a rubber suit that doesn't seem powerful enough to be scary, and whose only talent seems to be persistence and indestructibility. Then again, Baiestorf takes more punishment than the monster and refuses to die as well. For some reason, Arag„o suddenly injects an odd scene with a crazed, black-magic-practicing cannibal in the woods that seems to have wandered in from another movie. The gore is over-the-top and pretty good. In short, pretty much a bad movie, but with some elements that may entertain you.

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