Terror Goes on Vacation

Terror Goes on Vacation

Rene Cardonas III’s Vacation of Terror (1989) is the film that answers the question “Should We Go to the Country House We Just Inherited, the One Where the Witch Was Burned in Black and White?”

Uncle Fernando, who eats weird food, inherits a country house from his aunt, and packs the whole gang — twin boys, daughter Gaby, pregnant wife, and niece Paulina — into the car to go check it out. It’s pretty much a ruin, but the kids like it.

But darn the luck — Gaby falls into the well where the evil witch’s doll was stashed 100 years earlier.

See, the flick begins with a black and white flashback of some infuriated yokels burning a witch. And instead of burning all her stuff while they’re at it, they stick it all in a well, which as you might guess is just asking for trouble.

You’ll find this lax attitude toward destroying evil in these decadent, post-modern times. They got Anthony Weiner, all right, but did they go after his creator, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)? Nooo.

So the doll starts rolling her eyes and things start going awry – snakes in the fridge, miscarriages, you name it.

Meanwhile Julio, Paulina’s boyfriend, comes down in his old pickup. He has cleverly tied to the mirror another relic of the witch burning, a hunk of crystal that glows in the presence of evil, and of course they don’t get wise to the usefulness of the gizmo until it’s almost too late.

Directed by Rene Cardona III, the grandson of the immortal Rene Cardona (Doctor of Doom, The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy), and lacking in the latter’s sense of the absurd. I wonder if the opening flashback is an outtake from one of Grandpa’s flicks.

We’re talking flying crockery as part of a larger pattern of poltergeistitation. Acid-washed jeans on Julio, which makes this a true horror film. Big 80s hair on Paulina. Strongly implied miscarriage. Ham on a plate. Exceptional screaming. Bad driving. No nekkidity (automatic one coil deduction), and a 3.7 (of a possible 5) on the fast-forward button.

Not enough terror, in other words, and no compensating gratuitous nudity. In Spanish with subtitles. One coil.

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