Reviews

Noche Infernal (1992)

The description on the back of the VHS box reads:

“A bloody film of suspense and passion in the style of Friday The 13th.”

Noche Infernal is not in the style of Jason Voorhees. But it is in the style of scumbags who do the moonwalk.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mexican home video was a dumping ground for thousands of no-budget trash movies that have mostly vanished from everywhere. Sometimes, the titles and synopsis sound like fake movies that were made up by ten-year-olds after watching A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors and an episode of Falcon Crest back-to-back. Pesadilla Sangrienta — a telepathic therapist suffers from visions of a bloody knife in a castle! Invocation Satanica — a ouija board predicts crimes in an aerobics class while people hang out and talk in showers! Al Filo Del Terror — a ventriloquist unleashes a gang of demonic clown midgets but not before arguing with his family for fifty minutes! These movies feel like they’re too outrageous to exist. But they do exist. And because of that, each one feels special, regardless of how boring they get. Case in point: Noche Infernal.

A roving gang of marijuana-addicted criminals randomly attack people in the street. That’s really what happens. A man will be walking down the street and the gang members jump out of nowhere and punch him and rape his girlfriend. Whenever the gang appears, music plays. The music sounds like a shitty version of Mötley Crüe. Mötley Crüe was shitty to begin with, so that’s saying something. The gang’s leader wears a variety of headbands (tiger print, a white one with “MONICA” embroidered on it) and a yellow tank-top that says “PLANET” and nothing else. When he’s not smoking weed or pouring whiskey on his own head, the gang leader plays the acoustic guitar.

Meanwhile, a couple take a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods with their two friends, the nurse and the businessman with a mullet. But before they do that, they talk about going to the cabin. They also foil a gang member’s plot to rape the nurse. Eventually, our heroes drive to the cabin. Slowly. They fail to notice the gang’s black van, which is following behind them at a distance of two feet. Also slowly. Revenge takes time.

Up to this point, watching Noche Infernal was almost as fun as eating spaghetti with two spoons. To be fair, the multiple crotch shots were a solid addition to the movie. And it’s always a treat when people talk on the phone while wearing their underwear, like they did in Charles Nizet’s Rescue Force. But the candlelit dinners, the office chit-chat, the scenes of people sitting in cars — it was all too much. The balance was off. We needed face-clubbings, choreographed stabbings, and a guy who falls in love with a woman who rapes him in order to make the experience worthwhile.

Bingo!

The final twenty minutes of Noche Infernal erase the shame of the previous fifty-eight. The pace is still static, but the nonsensical sleaze is piled on. Inept fist fights! Bloody murders! Toe licking! It never gets as over-the-top as the clown-midget killer in Muerte Infernal. Or Freddy Krueger with a machine gun in Trampa Infernal. But by the end, boredom was replaced with the satisfaction in knowing that you don’t need Jason Voorhees to make slow-dancing under track-lighting entertaining.

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