Are you truly ready for a 1980’s “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico?!! Nope. this ain’t Cancun folks, this here is a sweet horror franchise that started in 1989, starring legendary south of the border pop star turned B-movie horror icon Pedro Fernandez. Yes the lesser known Fernandez, appears to be a sort of “Ricky Martin-type” singer, who started his music career at the tender age of seven and later in the 80’s had a string of rad horror flicks like Trampa Infernal, Panic on the Mountain & this two part creep-out, Vacation of Terror (1&2). Check out his music as a kid when he went by the name Pedrito Fernandez:
1989’s Vacation of Terror is a pretty sweet little horror flick that follows a wealthy family’s visit to the countryside to fix up a crusty old cabin in the woods. Along for the ride is teen daughter’s hot shot occult investigating BF Pedro Fernandez along with his impressive mullet! The family starts to notice a few truly strange things happening in and around the property, and their youngest daughter soon falls down into a creepy ass well. Oddly there’s no water down there, but rather what seems to be some sort of lived in cavern den, with a freaky old doll and a few other odd antiques scattered about. Of course the daughter wants the weird ass doll, so they bring it up to the cabin where it begins to have an evil mind of it’s own that starts to manipulate and possess the young girl.
Good thing Pedro is there to combat the evil forces because this doll is hell bent on destroying the family and any furniture in the way of her telekinetic powers. You’ll see this doll’s evil eyes whisk from side to side about a hundred times as she “uses her powers” and her schtick does get a bit tired by the finale, but still strangely satisfying. However it’s imperative to see this first movie to set you up for the far superior sequel, where only one cast member returns-of course Pedro Fernandez!
1990’s ‘Vacation of Terror: Diabolical Birthday’ (directed by Pedro Galindo III who also did the excellent Trampa Infernal) is one helluva good time-but oddly there’s no damn vacation going on anywhere here. But that’s ok, we’ve got a wild ass halloween themed birthday party to attend instead this time! The best thing is Pedro returns, now a single man (who maybe had enough of the family’s creepy cabin and odd shenanigans), who runs an antique shop and meets by chance a cute lady pop star, Mayra who’s played by real life Mexican pop star Tatiana who wanders in. After some chit chat she ends up inviting him to attend a party later and when she’s about to split he notices a her little sister in the back seat of her car holding the same creepy ass doll from the first movie! Naturally Pedro swings into action at the sight and has a new reason to attend other than being crushed out on his sweet date-to fight evil! Of course part of the fun is to go to the party, where it’s either taking place on Halloween or the little girl just loves horror decor. We also get a super sweet performance from Tatiana of course doing her sweet hit song “Chicos Chicos” check it!
Luckily Pedro gets there just in time to see her rock out! However there’s bigger fish to fry as he’s hot on the trail of the doll. However the there’s a wild birthday cake that just by “chance” gets some blood on it and soon the creepy living doll goes missing and eats the blood soiled cake, transforming it into human sized demon that resembles Angelica Huston’s wicked persona in “The Witches” mixed with Freddy Krueger.
From this point on the creature is out to terrorize all the party goers and it’s now up to Pedro & Tatiana to stop evil from spreading and maybe even find some romance? This one is a lot more fun then the first installment, it’s got a lot more going on, faster paced and a bit of a more playful element at it’s core . However director Pedro Galindo doesn’t skimp on the horror, there’s some great gore and colorful kills to behold as well as the setting. The decaying old deserted Mexican village they end up being chased around in is an excellent place for the spooky shenanigans to occur.
While some may say this is the Mexican “Troll 2” I just think it’s yet another super fun, campy horror movie that fans of the 80’s have got to check out. These two movies certainly need to receive a cleaned up blu ray release with some sweet special features. Otherwise horror fans will certainly miss out, these days it feels like a company like ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ releasing these unknowns gems gives them a sort of sudden street cred/seal of approval. Well you heard it here first though, before the ‘Vacation of Terror’ blu rays are suddenly all the rage-get ahead of the curve and head back to the 80’s to take your own “Vacation of Terror” to Mexico before all the tourists arrive!! You can get it on dvd as a double feature right here at World Cult Cinema!
This week I had the great pleasure to see the legendary Jon Mikl Thor live right here in Portland Oregon! But that wasn’t all, before he hit the stage he gave us all a screening of the new documentary “I am Thor”!!
Some of you might not even know who Thor is but if you like 80’s metal and 80’s horror flicks then there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this guy. To me, my first introduction to him was in the cult favorite flick ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare’ and this one really has got to be seen to be believed. It’s one of the best cheezy 80’s flicks of all time. Don’t believe me check this shit out:
Anyway to make a long story short, Jon Mikl Thor was a successful body builder who fronted the band Thor way back in 1973. He looked like a real life version of the Marvel Comics character or heck he could easily have passed as He-Man as well!
He really never achieved the success he’d always wanted and spent most of the 70’s and 80’s touring the world. He had a short career in B-movies as well and in 1997 he decided to pick up the hammer again and rock the world as Thor one more time.
The documentary covers this and so much more and is filled the heart and determination of a man who’s willing to defy the odds for the sheer love of Rock & Roll. It follows his rise and fall as well as his quest to return to the stage years later. In many ways it’s quite similar to another excellent documentary about another Canadian metal band called Anvil. If you want a dynamic double feature I highly recommend “I Am Thor” and “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” they will inspire you to never give up on your dreams.
We get a lot of great info on Jon Mikl Thor as well, one interesting thing was learning that he was originally asked by Jerry Only from the Misfits to front the 90’s version of the band before eventually getting Michale Graves to replace Danzig. Man, how awesome would a Thor fronted version of The Misfits have been?!! Well to me it sounds awesome.
If you get a chance check this movie out, it’s a lot of fun and by the end of it you’ll feel like you really know the guy personally. I guess that’s one reason why I had such a good time at the show, after the movie we got to see Thor rock again with a full band. Though he doesn’t have the long hair or ultra ripped body that he used to he’s still got the pipes and at age 62 he’s got a ton of great energy. It was a real treat seeing a band playing that style of metal and while not fully familiar with all of his music (mainly because I didn’t own any of it personally yet), when I attended the show by the end of his set I couldn’t get his power metal anthems out of my head.
I knew I had to go much deeper into the music and film career of John Mikl Thor! He’s a true character who never gave up on his dreams and though his shows don’t sell out you can see how much this guy truly appreciates every person in attendance. It was a night that still has me smiling days later. It takes a very special person to make you feel that in this day and age. Long live Thor, you’re still the number one Warrior of the Universe in my opinion…
Weird, today I stumbles across Avenger’s star Robert Downey Jr’s solo album he put out in 2004 called “The Futurist”. Strange stuff-I had no idea he was an adult contemporary singer! Ahhh yes my least favorite genre of music!
It seems that I’m not the only one who’s head this info skipped over. The album pretty much tanked when he released it and he went on to state that he probably wouldn’t ever attempt another one. Hey I think it was a good thing he dropped the music career personally-I’m not sure what you think but I could live with out hearing this song again…