Follow TV Tropes


Film / Cemetery of Terror

Go To

Cementerio del Terror (Cemetery of Terror) is a 1985 Mexican horror movie.

On the night of October 30, after being moments too late to save his latest victim, the police manage to shoot and kill a devil worshipper named Devlon, who murdered 17 people, including his parents. Knowing of Devlon's powers and skill at the dark arts, his psychiatrist, Dr. Camilo Cardan, demands the skeptical police captain Adam Ancira to cremate Devlon's remains immediately, going so far as to forge legal documents to do so. Now October 31st, three medical school students named Jorge, Oscar and Pedro trick their girlfriends Olivia, Mariana and Lena into thinking they're going to a luxurious party at a mansion, instead taking them to an abandoned house by a cemetery to party by themselves, unaware that this is Devlon's hideout. The ladies are not happy with this and refuse to party with the guys, and after an annoyed Jorge finds a book of black magic in the house's attic, the guys decide to scare the girls by stealing a corpse from the city morgue to have a pretend ritual to revive it.


At the same time, young teenager Tony goes out with his friends Usi and Anita and their respective little brothers Cesar and Raul to fulfill a dare of heading into the deepest part of the cemetery on Halloween night (Anita and Raul are also Captain Ancira's children). The medical students steal Devlon's body from the morgue, and after finding out that it's missing, Dr. Cardan swipes Captain Ancira's patrol car to search by himself. The three couples hold the ritual despite the protests of the girls, and unaware that it worked, they return to the abandoned house while the five children arrive at the cemetery. Now revived, Devlon sets out to take back his book and murder the people invading his home and cemetery, all while Dr. Cardan desperately tries to find Devlon and put a stop to him once and for all.


Cementerio del Terror was filmed with an extremely small budget and it is basically a hodge-podge of horror subgenres all put together with a heap of Narm and some pretty bad acting. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, it became a hit in its native Mexico and considered a cult classic to this day, with slasher fans from other countries discovering it and holding it in high regard as schlocky B-Movie fun.

This film contains the following:

  • '80s Hair: Oh so much.
  • All in the Eyes: Devlon at the climax of the film, especially when he telekinetically pulls Usi towards him. Just one look into his eyes and she's fully paralyzed with fear for several moments, enough for Devlon to kill Dr. Cardan before Usi can snap out of it and burn Devlon's book.
  • Adult Fear: The parents of Usi and Cesar and of Anita and Raul (Captain Ancira being their dad) and Tony's older sister are extremely worried when the kids fail to arrive home when they should have, unaware that the kids are in a much worse situation than they could imagine.
  • Alliterative Name: Dr. Camilo Cardan, Captain Adam Ancira and his daughter Anita Ancira.
  • An Axe to Grind: Upon seeing Lena be attacked, Pedro rushes to save her, grabbing an ancient looking axe from a wall mount, which Devlon uses to kill him by taking control of the axe telekinetically and whacking him in the head with it. Tony later takes it for protection and it aids his group twice (breaking a window to escape from Devlon and Usi using it to free Tony from a zombie) but he loses it offscreen while being chased by zombies.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Devlon does this, just bursting right through a door when the children are attempting to destroy his book.
  • Big Bad: Devlon, a devil worshipping serial killer who can use powerful dark magic and can slice through people with his bare hands and fingernails.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Played with Dr. Cardan, who arrives in the nick of time twice to help the children out, but both times it backfires on him, with the second time resulting in his death, but ultimately he did buy the kids enough time to thwart Devlon and save themselves.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bordering on Downer Ending but not quite there. Devlon has killed all three couples as well as Dr. Cardan, and while the children survived thanks to Usi burning Devlon's book, she didn't completely succeed, as Devlon transferred his spirit to Dr. Cardan's body and managed to salvage his book from the fire with not much damage to it, ready to continue his evil deeds.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lena, Mariana and Olivia respectively.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: Devlon is a devil worshipper who can use black magic, yet looks like a hobo.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The last shot of the movie is of Devlon, now inhabiting Dr. Cardan's body, looking into the camera and delivering a Slasher Smile before the credits roll.
  • Camp: Despite the movie and all the characters playing the story entirely straight, the movie falls into this category thanks to its extremely low budget showing at times, the plot running on a ton of contrived coincidences, the occasional cheesy dialogue and the terrible acting by some of the actors and some badly filmed moments such as several instances of the kids being grabbed by zombies and it's obvious that the young actors basically walked into the grip of the extras playing the zombies.
  • Car Fu: Dr. Cardan, upon arriving at the cemetery and finding the children trapped and surrounded by zombies, plows right through the cemetery gates with the patrol car, taking out several zombies in the process.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The cops arrive only after Usi has burned Devlon's book, burning him and the zombies. They are still too late to catch on that Dr. Cardan's body went missing and is now possessed by Devlon.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Played with, as Devlon kills a woman in the opening scene and Dr. Cardan at almost the end of the movie, with all other murders happening at around the halfway point, as Devlon kills all six partying young adults at his home in the span of just 10 minutes.
  • Chase Scene: Basically the entire final 25 minutes of the movie is this trope, as Devlon and his zombie minions chase the children throughout the graveyard and in the house.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The movie pretty much runs on this. Jorge, Oscar and Pedro take their girlfriends to party at an abandoned house that happens to be Devlon's hideout, Jorge finds Devlon's book while exploring and the guys decide to prank the girls by stealing a corpse to carry out a fake black mass, and they happen to take Devlon's corpse moments before Dr. Cardan and Captain Ancira arrive to cremate it, and the children find themselves in the middle of the whole ordeal because of wanting to carry out a dare at the cemetery. There's also Dr. Cardan arriving at the cemetery right when the children are surrounded by zombies with no way out and he proceeds to tell them how to destroy Devlon.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Tony and his older sister Vicky are introduced as she cooks dinner for him. Said dinner consists of something in the oven that she doesn't serve because she burned it, and some unidentifiable slop that she had in a pan, which she serves to Tony despite having burned it too. It's no surprise that Tony just opts to grab an apple to eat as he leaves the house.
  • Creepy Cemetery: It's huge, dilapidated and with overgrown grass everywhere, showing the lack of care put into it. It gets far worse when Devlon reanimates the buried corpses to hunt the children down for him.
  • Cue the Sun: The film ends just after the sun has come up.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: An injured Dr. Cardan arrives at the house in the nick of time to save Usi from Devlon and allow her to burn the book. Unfortunately, all of Dr. Cardan's attempts at fighting Devlon are met with failure, as Devlon shrugs off everything his former psychiatrist throws at him and slices Dr. Cardan up.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Played straight with the three partying couples, especially with Jorge finding the black magic book and his idea to hold a fake black mass, causing Devlon to be revived and kill all six of them. The children manage to avert this by surviving.
  • Deadly Prank: Jorge, Oscar and Pedro decide to prank their girlfriends by lying about the party they were going to, and then prank them again by stealing a corpse from the morgue to hold a fake black mass with a book Jorge found. Big mistake.
  • Death Glare: Devlon gives one of these to Usi as she's about to burn his black magic book, and with the added effect of using his magic to telekinetically drag her towards him. One look into his Death Glare leaves her fully paralyzed with fear for several moments.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Happens twice to Usi, who is the most easily panicked of the five kids. It first happens when a zombie's hand comes up from the ground and grabs Tony's ankle, who screams at a frightened Usi for help and it takes her a few moments to grab the axe Tony had and chop the zombie's hand off. Then at the near end of the movie, right as she's about to burn Devlon's book, Devlon uses his magic to drag her to him telekinetically, and one look into his eyes is enough to leave her paralyzed for several moments, enough for Devlon to kill Dr. Cardan before Usi snaps out of it and finally burns his book.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Most of the main adult cast are introduced very quickly (with the exception of Lena, who first appears at nearly the 15 minute mark) and most get killed right after the halfway mark of the movie, all within 10 minutes of running time. Two of the kids are introduced at the 18 minute mark and the rest at the 25 minute mark, but they all survive at the end.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Surprisingly averted with the zombies, as Devlon uses them only to hunt down his prey so he can kill them himself, so the zombies surround their victims but don't kill them.
  • Dull Surprise: Happens with the character of Raul, likely due to being the youngest actor in the whole cast and being inexperienced in acting. Being fair to him, some of the adult actors fall into this too.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The film ends with Devlon, in Dr. Cardan's body, taking his book back and glaring menacingly.
  • Expy: Dr. Cardan is a psychiatrist who studied Devlon for many years and knows how dangerous he truly is, striving to catch and destroy him at all costs, considering him not a man, but a demon, making Dr. Cardan a clear Expy of Dr. Loomis from Halloween.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: Devlon's hideout is an abandoned house, and it shows. The furniture is sparse, and there is a lot of dust and cobwebs everywhere.
  • Final Girl: Olivia, Mariana and Lena all seem to show some characteristics. They don't like the idea of partying at an abandoned house and really don't want to mess with supernatural things, though eventually go along with both things anyway. They're with their boyfriends having drinks and making out but there is no sex and no drugs. Ultimately, they all avert this when all three get killed within minutes of each other (with Olivia being the only one to put up any sort of a fight), leaving Usi and Anita, two girls in their early teens, as the only female survivors.
  • Flat Character: Most characters, even minor ones, tend to have a purpose to the story. Such is not the case with Cessy and Michel, two friends of the three couples who are introduced spending time with some of the group at a lake as they talk about their plans for the evening, then the two of them are never seen or mentioned again. The actors are not even credited in the movie.
  • From Bad to Worse: Having an undead serial killer with the power of dark magic and being able to rip you apart with his bare hands is bad enough. And then he uses his dark magic to reanimate the dead bodies buried in the cemetery, giving himself a horde of zombies to do his bidding.
  • Genre Savvy: The five children seem to have watched plenty of horror movies. Upon finding a house full of dead bodies and the creepy guy who killed them, their first instinct is to grab an axe for protection (having to actually pry the axe off of a dead man's head) and run the hell away, opting to stick together at all times, knowing that becoming separated only puts them in worse danger. Even after Devlon uses magic to shut all the doors in the house, trapping them inside with him, they just break a window and flee.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Anita
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Devlon does this to both Oscar and Olivia, especially her, as she manages to stab him with a bottle before he retaliates in full.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Cardan faces Devlon to buy the children time to burn Devlon's book, losing his life in the process as he is unable to fight off the undead killer.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Dr. Cardan kept a cross on him just in case, which helps keep the zombies away, as they were reanimated by satanic magic and dare not get too close to the cross, and Dr. Cardan even takes a large wooden one from the cemetery itself to use as a crutch when his leg gets broken after a tree falls on him. Unfortunately, Devlon is too powerful to be affected by the cross.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Downplayed. The events of the movie take place during Halloween and it's mentioned a few times by the characters, but it really has no importance in the story and the only signs of anything remotely resembling it are a couple of cheap plastic masks and the kids carrying jack-o-lanterns as they explore the cemetery.
  • Ignored Expert: Dr. Cardan knows exactly how truly dangerous Devlon's mastery of dark magic is even after his death and knows that Devlon's remains must be burned as soon as possible, though being fair, the police did shoot Devlon to death so it makes sense they'd doubt him. Once Devlon's body turns out missing, only Dr. Cardan knows something very bad is going to happen but the police still don't make much of it.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: We see things from Devlon's POV several times, especially as he stalks people.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Out of everyone stalked and attacked by Devlon in his house and the cemetery, he manages to kill all six young adults partying at his house and also kills Dr. Cardan. Tony, Anita, Raul, Usi and Cesar are the only survivors.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Oscar, Pedro and especially Jorge, who get angry that their girlfriends didn't like their prank and decide to get "payback" by scaring them with a fake black mass after actually stealing a dead body from the city morgue. However, once shit hits the fan, they are clearly concerned about the girls and each other and spring into action without hesitation.
    • Captain Ancira is dismissive of Dr. Cardan's worries, and while he's rightfully skeptical, he's still quite jerkish about the whole thing and is barely concerned even after Devlon's body has disappeared from the morgue. But once he finds out that his children and their friends didn't come home and are nowhere to be found, he's clearly worried, is very kind and reassuring to his wife, Tony's sister and Cesar and Usi's parents, and strives to find the children.
  • Kill It with Fire: The only way to destroy Devlon after he has revived is to burn his book.
  • Large Ham: Hugo Stiglitz really hams it up in his role as Dr. Cardan all while actually playing it straight and serious rather than comedic.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!:
    • After Olivia finds Oscar and Mariana's bodies and informs Jorge, he shouts to Pedro and Lena upstairs but they can't hear him over the music from the boombox they have. Jorge then opts to have Olivia wait for him while he goes get them by himself, which leads to both he and Olivia getting killed immediately afterwards.
    • The children actually avert this, opting to stick together all the time. They become separated into two groups by accident at one point and their main priority is to get back together before attempting to escape.
  • Lighter and Softer: The movie is this in two ways at least, as it has no nudity at all (at most just showing some girls in swimsuits) and there is not a single curse word in the entire movie (other than "hell"), making it seem like a PG-13 rated movie at the most, but then come the deaths, some of which are rather gory and definitely not PG-13 material.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Quite a lot for such a low budget slasher, what with a dozen characters who are put in danger by Devlon, plus Devlon himself, Chief Ancira, and several secondary characters.
  • Made of Plasticine: Devlon tears through his victims with his bare hands as though he had Wolverine Claws.
  • Menacing Stroll: Devlon never runs after his victims, opting more for a slow walk, as do his zombie minions.
  • My Car Hates Me: After Dr. Cardan busts through the cemetery gates and various zombies, the kids all get in the patrol car, ready to escape, and then the car stalls.
  • Neck Lift: Devlon does this to Jorge, breaking his neck in the process and leaving him hanging on a hook that held a lamp on a wall.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Dr. Cardan has a nightmare at the beginning of the movie, with the implication that he saw Devlon's last murder and subsequent death by being shot by the cops, though it's never really made clear.
  • No Name Given: The movie has a lot of characters, both main and minor, and most get names, except for Usi and Cesar's father.
    • Happens to the mother of Usi and Cesar and the mother of Anita and Raul, in a way. Vicky speaks to both of them on the phone, referring to one as Susan and to the other as Sonia, but the movie never makes it clear which of the two women is which.
  • No Peripheral Vision:
    • After the kids arrive to the house looking for help and find nobody around, they hear music upstairs and go to investigate. Jorge's dead body is hanging on a wall nearby, but the kids pass right by it without seeing it and head upstairs, discovering the body only when they flee back downstairs after discovering Pedro and Lena's bodies as well as Devlon himself.
    • Likewise with Jorge's body, Pedro excuses himself from the bedroom he and Lena are in, going downstairs and outside to pee, and somehow he completely misses Jorge's hanging body, which is in plain sight of the stairs.
    • Olivia finds both Mariana and Oscar dead, but only when she walks close enough to Mariana's body, and completely misses Oscar's body until she stumbles over it, despite having just walked through that same spot. Both bodies happen to be in an open backyard area.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Despite being undead, nobody uses the Z word for Devlon. Likewise, after he has reanimated the corpses in the cemetery, the characters refer to them as "the dead".
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Devlon does this at times, even before he becomes a magic-powered undead killer.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony lives with his older sister, Vicky, who is in her very late teens to early twenties at most, and she refers to Tony as "the man of the house" at one point. Their parents are never mentioned in any way.
  • Parental Obliviousness: While he's a doting father to his kids, Captain Ancira falls into this not only because he doesn't know the parents of his children's friends, he doesn't even know his children's friends themselves.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Granted, it's hard to believe Dr. Cardan's story about Devlon's black magic, but even after going to the morgue and finding that his corpse is missing, the police are still rather lax about the whole thing and can't even find Dr. Cardan after he stole Captain Ancira's patrol car. And despite the fact that they make it their priority to find the missing children, they only find the kids after someone called them to report hearing screams at the abandoned house. And then there's at the end of the movie, where Devlon, now possessing Dr. Cardan's body, manages to hide from them in the attic despite the police checking out the whole house as a murder crime scene.
    • While not exactly cops, the security guards at the morgue firmly fall into this trope. One is asleep on the job and won't wake up even after his co-worker tries to wake him. Said co-worker is too busy reading a magazine to do his job, which allows three random guys to just waltz into the place and steal a corpse without anyone noticing.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Devlon uses his magic to raise the dead in the cemetery to hunt the children down for him, with the zombies popping out of their graves and the ground.
  • Scare Dare: Tony and his friends head out to the cemetery to carry out a "bravery test" they were dared to. Everything's going fine, until out of nowhere, a wall of flame bursts out of a random grave, sending the frightened kids fleeing further into danger.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Devlon, who murdered his own parents offscreen (along with 15 other people) in his initial rampage.
  • Sequel Hook: The movie ends with Devlon, now in Dr. Cardan's body, recovering his rather damaged but still usable black magic book, indicating that he shall continue his rampage, but the movie never had a sequel.
  • Serial Killer: Devlon is introduced killing a woman and is later mentioned to have killed a total of 17 people, including his parents. Then of course, he continues his murders after being inadvertently brought back by the couples.
  • Silent Antagonist: Devlon never utters a word.
  • Slashed Throat: After leaving Mariana for a moment to get drinks, Oscar returns to find her with her throat slashed quite messily.
  • Slasher Movie: With supernatural elements.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Played with, as Devlon goes after anyone without preferences. Lena, the only blonde, is the fifth person and last woman Devlon kills among the six young adults invading his house.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: The lids of the stone graves in the cemetery when the zombies start coming out of their graves are clearly made of thin styrofoam, this being one of the parts where the movie's quite diminutive budget shows.
  • Tempting Fate: The girls warn their boyfriends several times that stealing a corpse and messing with some weird black magic book they found in an abandoned house is a bad idea, but the guys are adamant in carrying out the deed. Turns out the girls were quite right.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Devlon's book of black magic, which is the main source of his powers and the couples use it to unwittingly revive him. It's also Devlon's main weakness, as he can be stopped by burning the book.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: After discovering the children, Devlon goes after them, sends zombies after them as well, and when they manage to reach the cemetery gates, he magically locks them and makes them grow several meters high so they can't climb out. Even after Dr. Cardan smashes through the gates, his car stalls and the zombies prevent them from escaping the cemetery.
  • Visible Boom Mic: Blatantly visible in the scene where Tony pries the axe off of a dead Pedro's head.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: When the zombies are emerging from their graves, one grabs a hold of Anita and Cesar frees her by hitting the zombie on the head with a rock, which connects with a very cartoony thunk sound.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Devlon has no qualms on going after the children with every intent to kill.