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Blu-Ray : For Fans Only
Ranking:
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Release Date: March 26th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1993

Herencia Diabólica

Overview -

Blu-ray Review by Bruce Douglas
Known affectionately as “Mexican Chucky,” the low-budget ripoff Herencia Diabólica, aka Diabolical Inheritance, is a bizarre slasher in the “Cursed Doll” genre of Mexican Horror that never quite works but maintains an erratic yet satisfying display of utter weirdness. The Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome's sub-label Degausser Video utilizes the only known source tapes to craft a pleasing A/V experience paired with slim bonus content. Rabid fans of cult curiosities will love this strange oddity. For Fans Only

OVERALL:
For Fans Only
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free Blu-ray, Newly transferred and restored from the best quality archival tape master, Inside sleeve artwork, This special limited edition spot gloss slipcover (designed by Robert Sammelin) is limited to 3,000 units
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Length:
78
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.33:1
Audio Formats:
Spanish Mono
Subtitles/Captions:
Newly translated English subtitles
Special Features:
Spanish Audio Commentary with film critic Hugo Lara, Interview with Robert Guinar (11mins)
Release Date:
March 26th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

“You’re wrong, Mommy, he moves.” 

The film opens with an elderly woman clutching a strange doll as she dies in her poolside rocking chair. The woman’s nephew, Tony (Roberto Guinar, (Muerte infernal), is a successful NYC businessman who inherits his late aunt's vast estate in Mexico City. He relocates there with his wife, Annie (Holda Ramírez, Jóvenes perversos), only to discover the mysterious clown doll. Soon, it comes to life and pushes a pregnant Annie down the stairs to her death. Tony raises the child Roy (Alan Fernando, Juegos inocentes), who years later finds the doll and adores its mischievous antics. Soon, the toy causes trouble around the house and sets its murderous sights on Tony’s sexy new wife, Doris (Lorena Herrera, Brain Planet). 

Herencia Diabólica has been affectionately known as “Mexican Chucky” because the film directly borrows the plot from Child’s Play. Director Alfredo Salazar, whose extensive writing credits include the epic crossover Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man, wastes no time with shot composition, framing, or even establishing a coherent narrative for the film. Placing the camera behind office chairs at odd angles that even hide the actors isn’t the POV effect I assume he was going for at the time. It’s just a train wreck. What made Chucky an iconic villain was more than dressing up an actor in costume with a kitchen knife. The “cursed doll” genre of Mexican horror had been around for over 30 years, making Salazar’s flick a no-brainer for gaining audience appeal, but the choices left much to be desired compared to other flicks in the genre. 

Salazar’s killer doll, Payasito, was played by the singer/comedian Margarito Esparza, whose portrayal of the toy can only be described as playful absurdism. Gazing into the camera as the inanimate doll, you can see his eyes peering into your soul. This unnerving aspect of the killer toy is what makes this bonkers film entertaining. Oh, and let’s not forget the sudden desire to kill! Early in the story, we learn that Tony’s aunt was summoning the Devil, with both Annie and Doris backing up the black magic claims after finding the old woman’s gothic sanctuary. Tony shrugs off the idea and moves on even as both his wives lose their minds as the doll appears randomly around the house. Margarito shuffles about in this bizarre costume, chasing women with a knife and then playing hide-and-seek with Roy in the garden. What fun! 

Performances are key to this movie, with Margarito’s having the biggest impact. Without him, this cursed doll flick would be just another in a string of zero-budget thrillers coming out of Mexico. Roberto Guinar shuffles through scenes, doing his best with hysterical wives screaming about dolls. Holda Ramírez seems to care the most about her character as she transitions from hot NYC babe to expectant mother. Her sex scene with Guinar was a welcome respite from the dull first act, but unfortunately, Salazar didn’t use lights on set, rendering the whole scene pitch black. Seriously, you can’t see anything. 

Finally, we get to Playboy Playmate Lorena Herrera, whose bodacious secretary Doris makes a bid for scream-queen status as Payasito chases her around with a kitchen knife. Sadly, it takes Herencia Diabólica about 55 minutes before the film enters slasher mode. Lorena commits to her character, which makes for an excellent match with Maragarito’s intensity. Sure, he grabs a knife and starts chasing around the blonde hottie, but there isn’t enough terror to galvanize fear, just a perplexing question of why she didn’t just push him over! My favorite scene in the entire film involves the two sharing an alarming interaction. Doris has a nightmare in which Payasito climbs into bed with her and starts feeling up her breasts as she is frozen with fear. It’s an unsettling image, especially the split second where you realize she’s into it! 

Herencia Diabólica, aka Diabolical Inheritance, aka Mexican Chucky, is a true oddity meant to be experienced as a right of passage for curious fans of so-bad-its-good flicks. There is much to love here if you can submit to it: creepy clown vibes and all. As a long-time cult collector, I thoroughly enjoyed diving into this strange, unsettling, and downright surreal flick that flexes filmmaking into unpredictable directions. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Herencia Diabólica arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome's sub-label Degausser Video. The BD-25 Region Free Disc is housed in a transparent keep case with a double-sided artwork sleeve. A 3000-count limited-edition slipcover is available. Loading the disc presents the Degausser Video logo before landing on the Main Menu screen with scenes from the film cycling. Typical navigation options are available, including an “Insert tape” option, which is hilarious. 

Video Review

Ranking:

A disclaimer reads at the movie's start: “Herencia Diabólica was originally shot on motion picture film and then finished on tape. The original materials are lost and presumed destroyed. During the film-to-video telecine transfer process in the early 90’s, several instances of irregular frame and field cadences were introduced which present as dropped and/or repeated frames. Since these issues were baked into the original master, we decided to leave them untouched.”

Presented in a 1.34:1 aspect ratio for the AVC encoded 1080p image, the film has an SOV aesthetic that is rough around all edges with a fuzzy appearance lacking detail. Primaries are appreciable, with reds and yellows striking through with costuming and blood effects. The irregular frames mentioned in the disclaimer appear during moments of slow motion or quick zooms for character reactions. Given the videotaped appearance of the feature, these instances don’t seem out of place. Frustratingly, most of the film is so dark that it's nearly impossible to understand scenes that are not shot in broad daylight. Viewers should keep their room as dark as possible when watching Herencia Diabólica in order to appreciate every scene. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

Herencia Diabólica is given a single 2.0 DTS-HD MA in Spanish with English subtitles. Dialogue is appreciable, though muddy in some exchanges. Effects and scoring drive the momentum of the audio mix, providing atmosphere and tone for the feature. Given the limitations of the source materials, this is a pleasing audio track. 

Special Features

Ranking:

Degausser Video didn’t offer much in terms of quantity here, but for an obscure Mexican horror flick, the quality counts. Hugo Lara's Spanish commentary track is excellent, while the interview segment with Guinar paints a somber picture of the production. Pick your poison! 

  • Audio Commentary Film critic Hugo Lara provides an informative commentary track that discusses various aspects of the production, cast and crew histories, and his own critique of the feature. The track is in Spanish with English subtitles. 
  • Memorias Diabolicas: The Mexican Chucky (HD 11:11) An interview with actor Roberto Guinar in which he discusses his career in music and film. He responds disappointedly when asked about Herencia Diabólica, outlining his distaste for Salazar and the cast. 

Final Thoughts

Herencia Diabólica isn’t the “Mexican Chucky” we need, but it's the one we deserve. Rife with opportunities to expand characters, story, and action, the film never reaches its potential yet satisfies as a bizarre curiosity to share with like-minded cinephiles. Filled with WTF moments, the film will please those looking for a surreal midnight movie. Given the source materials, the Blu-ray from Degausser Video provides a satisfying A/V package. Bonus features are slim, but more than expected for this insane horror ripoff. For Fans Only.

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