Sunday, February 4, 2024

Guns of El Chupacabra: A Genre-Bending Adventure into Cult Territory

Guns of El Chupacabra (1997) defies easy categorization. A potent cocktail of martial arts, monster flick, space western, rock opera, and Spaghetti Western, it emerges as a film built on improvisation, campy humor, and sheer entertainment value. This essay delves into the film's unique style, its place within cult cinema, and its potential appeal to specific audiences.

A Fusion of Filmmaking: Kung Fu Meets Chupacabra

The film's plot, while loosely constructed, follows a space sheriff named Jack B. Quick (played by Scott Shaw) tasked with eliminating the mythical El Chupacabra on Earth. This premise alone suggests a genre-bending journey, and Guns of El Chupacabra doesn't disappoint. Kung fu battles mingle with monster chase sequences, rock concerts fuel intergalactic wars, and Spaghetti Western landscapes host fantastical creatures. This mashup, often improvised on set, creates a bizarre and unpredictable narrative, more concerned with entertainment than traditional storytelling.


Cult Appeal: A Film for the Unconventional

Guns of El Chupacabra doesn't seek mainstream acceptance. Its campy dialogue, over-the-top action, and absurdist scenarios cater to a specific audience. Cult film enthusiasts, B-movie aficionados, and Scott Shaw's dedicated following appreciate the film's unapologetic weirdness. They find value in its unconventional humor, its celebration of B-movie aesthetics, and its unique contribution to the world of independent cinema.


Zen Filmmaking: Embracing the Unpredictable

Describing Guns of El Chupacabra as Zen Filmmaking highlights its reliance on improvisation. The plot unfolds organically, informed by actors' performances and on-set decisions. This approach leads to bizarre humor, unexpected turns, and a distinct raw energy rarely found in mainstream fare. While it might alienate viewers expecting a structured narrative, it offers a refreshing alternative for those seeking something truly different.


Beyond the Mainstream

It's crucial to acknowledge that Guns of El Chupacabra isn't universally enjoyed. Its unconventional style, low-budget production value, and niche humor might not appeal to mainstream audiences. However, for those seeking a cinematic adventure that defies norms and embraces the strange, the film offers a truly unique experience.



Guns of El Chupacabra stands as a testament to the power of independent filmmaking and its ability to create cult classics. It's a film that revels in its B-movie roots, pushing boundaries through sheer weirdness and improvisation. While not for everyone, it offers a captivating journey for those seeking a departure from the ordinary, solidifying its place in the hearts of cult film enthusiasts worldwide.


In Brief:

Guns of El Chupacabra, released in 1997, is a wild ride through a unique blend of genres: martial arts, monster flick, space western, rock opera, and Spaghetti Western. Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written and produced by (and starring) Scott Shaw, the film is known for its unconventional style, campy humor, and cult status.

Here's a breakdown of the key points:



Jack B. Quick, a space sheriff (played by Shaw), travels to Earth to hunt and eliminate the mythical creature, El Chupacabra, unleashed by an intergalactic villain.

The story involves mystical elements, intergalactic battles, rock music performances, and plenty of action sequences.

Don't expect a tightly woven plot; the film embraces improvisation and spontaneity, leading to a bizarre and unpredictable narrative.


Style and Reception

The film has been described as "Fellini meets the Coen Brothers. This emphasizes its offbeat humor, visual surrealism, and improvisational filmmaking techniques.

Reviews are scarce, but the film enjoys a cult following among fans of B-movies, exploitation cinema, and Scott Shaw's work. They appreciate its campy charm, over-the-top action, and unique atmosphere.


This article can also be found on Zen

Guns of El Chupacabra: A Genre-Bending Adventure into Cult Territory

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Guns of El Chupacabra. A Love Ode to Cheap Class B Cinema


Every now and then I find, (by one way or the other), a review of one of my films that really grabs the essence of the movie. I have read that some people have said that I don’t like reviews of my films. This is not true. I just don’t like negativity on any level. But, love it or hate it, if a review is well written, it is interesting and even inspiring to me to come to view the film via the interpretations of someone else’s ideas.


In any case, I was just pointed to this review of Guns of El Chupacabra, written by Marta Górna, on a site named, Upper Watches. The review of Guns of El Chupacabra and the entire website is composed in Polish. I’ve provided a link to the original article below. I questioned what is the best way to present the review to you, as it is in Polish, I concluded I would put the Google English translation of it up here in this blog. Hope you enjoy it. And, thanks Marta!


„Gunsof El Chupacabra”. Oda miłosna do taniego kina klasy B


Guns of El Chupacabra. A Love Ode to Cheap Class B Cinema

By Marta Górna 1 year ago


I delayed the launch of 1997's Guns of El Chupacabra for a long time and eventually this production became part of my marathon in honor of Julie Strain - the queen of B movies and erotic thrillers who died on January 10th.


Although Strain only appears in a few not very long scenes, the whole movie begins with her. Dressed in a skimpy, seemingly plastic armor, she fights (with her iconic black curls) with the Chupacabra, the legendary Latin American beast. With a sword in her hand, she looks like an amazon, and her duel with a monster gives hope for an unleavened fantasy movie with a female heroine playing the first fiddle.


Hopes will soon prove to be in vain. Fighting a monster is just a dream of a beautiful Queen who, dreaming nightmares, throws herself in bed sheets with naked breasts. At her side, her beloved husband, Król (Strain's husband, Kevin B. Eastman, creator of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles") wakes up and together they decide to summon the cosmic sheriff Jack B. Quick because only he can save the planet from Chupacabra, whose bloody reign is heralded by the Queen's dream.


Then the space hero enters the stage - dark glasses on his nose, pistols in his hand, and a tight ponytail bouncing on his back. He is played by Scott Shaw, a cult figure for fans of cheap cinema and a master of martial arts, director of over 150 films, star of over a hundred productions and a great idol of Adam Sandler, who has repeatedly invited Scott to guest appearances in his films and programs - most recently in "Sandy Wexler" .


Shaw is a regular collaborator of Donald G. Jackson, director and screenplay writer of "Guns of El Chupacabra" and director of more than 40 B-movies, many of which - such as "The City of Frogs" with Roddy Piper and "The Brigade of the Seven Swords" - became cult productions. Strain and Eastman often collaborated with Jackson, whose work is the quintessence of cheap class B cinema of the 90s - unleavened, not entirely serious and chaotic. These adjectives best describe "Guns of El Chupacabra", the film was made according to Shaw's philosophy of "Zen", which involves making films without a script or film sets, but with a large dose of improvisation.

Well, it shows in "Guns of El Chupacabra," but it's not a pinch at all. The movie is utterly stupid, the dialogues are grotesque, there are many scenes that do not make the slightest sense, and a lot of shaving on the screen. But it does not bother the reception of the film at all. Especially that at some point it turns out to be in fact the story of a film crew making a film about Chupacabra. 

Exactly, because there are many twists and turns after the first scene with Julie Strain. One of the protagonists is a journalist who reports on the Chupacabra murders, and there will also be an action actor played by B-class action actor David Heavener. The legendary Joe Estevez, Martin's brother and Jackson's regular associate, will also flit the screen, and the main villain will be the wonderful, endowed with an impressive jaw and Robert Z'Dar, who died in 2015.


"Guns of El Chupacabra" has a slack that is often missing from B movies. You can see that everyone involved in the production has known each other for years and have a great time together. This makes the movie enjoyable to watch. Anyway, the production has been adored by fans for the last 24 years, and there were also several sequels of the film, the last one a few years ago. Scott Shaw runs a blog about the film, shares reviews, excerpts from the script, and memories and recordings from the film set. This is valuable because it allows you to see what an eternal struggle in the 1990s independent filmmakers waged with the cinema industry, how they had to struggle with the system by almost every millimeter of film. And it's all for the love of cinema. Because that is what "Guns of El Chupacabra" is - a love ode to the magic of the movie story. But you watch at your own risk anyway.



Saturday, November 6, 2021

Crimes of the Chupacabra on Amazon Prime - Scott Shaw - Zen Filmmaking

 Crimes of the Chupacabra is the PG version of the Cult Film Classic, Guns of El Chupacabra.

This version was original released only to Asia. Removed is the adult content that some may find offensive, replacing it is footage seen in no other version of the film. Click on the title to view the film on Amazon Prime.

 Crimes of the Chupacabra on Amazon Prime Video




Sunday, June 6, 2021

Guns of El Chupacabra DVD - Scott Shaw - Zen Filmmaking


As of 4 June 2021 will no longer be distributing films on DVD from Independent Film Production Companies like Light Source Films. We are now offering our DVD's via a new distribution company. If you want to pick up a Guns of El Chupacabra DVD here's the link:

Guns of El Chupacabra DVD 



Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Here's a fun/interesting recently rediscovered review of Guns of El Chupacabra

By Steve Latshaw

The "B" or independent movie world is a pretty dull place these days. Discounting the pseudo-amateur soft-core epics flooding the back bins at Best Buy, most of today's "B" efforts are carbon copies of bigger budget action movies saddled with whoever the latest, bankable "name" star and filled with stock shots from those same bigger offerings. I should know; I've written a pile of 'em.

But GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA is good, old-fashioned, honest-to-godfrey independent filmmaking with a capital "I." It's subversive while remaining true to its genre roots - at times stupefyingly bizarre, always unsettling and occasionally confusing - shaking your understanding of plot structure and story development so thoroughly that you doubt your own sanity. How's that for a compound sentence? Fine. It's a compound movie.

Directed by one of the last of his breed, maverick filmmaker Donald G. Jackson (the man who brought us - among other things - HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN and the classic ROLLER BLADE WARRIORS.), GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA is the best "B" movie I've seen in years and full of surprises. It starts off like a standard, cheap-ass exploitation film... with Space Queen B Julie Strain (who else) reclining on a cheap-ass exploitation space ship set, ordering Samurai-Sword Wielding Space Sheriff Jack B. Quick (Scott Shaw) to earth where he's set to tangle with crazed cannibal hunters, spies, angels, demons, DogBoys, Mexican bounty hunters, an assortment of famous B movie icons, filmmakers and El Chupacabra his self, a rubber-suited, slobbering, carnivorous monster. And so, director Jackson carries us along on this roller-coaster ride through lots of fun mayhem, including lots of bullets, beautiful nude girls doing martial arts and firing guns and always-welcome gratuitous violence cut music-video style to one of the best rock/folk/country/spaghetti western scores I've heard in a long time, when all of a sudden the film lurches in a completely different direction. Before long we're watching a film within a film - and asking ourselves whether it's a movie about El Chupacabra - or a documentary about the making of a movie about El Chupacabra - or a movie about El Chupacabra killing off people participating in a documentary about the making of a movie about El Chupacabra or... my brain hurts. But it all gets resolved in the end, after much blood-spilling and teeth-gnashing. Initially confusing; ultimately satisfying in its creation of its own special alternate universe(s), GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA plays like THE MATRIX. If directed by Luis Buenel. In Mexico. On Acid. With A Rubber Monster.

Like most of Jackson's films, GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA is filled with filmmic nods to everything from modern martial arts to Republic serials. Such B movie icons as David Heavener, Conrad "Plan 9" Brooks, and Rocket Ranger Joe Estevez pop into view at various points; B movie heavy Robert Z'Dar turns in his best work as a space villain with serious anger issues. We even see Don Jackson, gamefully playing both a documentarian and himself, desperately trying to get his star to stick around in the closing minutes for "one more take."

GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA works on a couple of levels. It follows the tried-and-true Corman formula of "Beasts, Breasts and Blood" in abundance, while at the same time savaging that formula, turning the genre upside down and inside out.

A wild-ass roller coaster ride, brain-draining, never a dull moment. Damned fun. Don's movies are always fun. And smart. That's what I like best about his latest. In GUNS OF EL CHUPACABRA, Don makes you think while he's cutting your throat.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Scott Shaw and the Art of Zen Filmmaking - The Hollywood File Japan

Here's a fun piece, published in Kansai Time Out Magazine, Japan in 2008, where the author, Matt Kaufman, talks about Guns of El Chupacabra and other Scott Shaw Zen Films.

By Matt Kaufman

Scott Shaw is a martial arts expert, author, actor and filmmaker who grew up in Hollywood and spent many years in Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, India, and Thailand. He holds an eighth-degree black belt in both hapkido and taekwondo and is one of the few actors in Hollywood that can expertly wield a samurai sword. Shaw began acting in Hong Kong and Japanese films in the late 80s and early 90s, and also nabbed small roles in major American television shows and films such as Seinfeld and The Player. In 1990, Shaw teamed up with the filmmaker Donald G. Jackson, the notorious director of low-budget cult classics such as Hell Comes To Frogtown, on a new production called The Roller Blade Seven.

The shoot was marred by all sorts of headaches, mostly due to interference from the producer, who made the Hollywood bottom-feeders in Elmore Leonard's novel Get Shorty seem like cinematic geniuses. The producer spent most of the budget hiring "name" actors; in this case, Frank Stallone, which meant that Shaw had to edit and score the film on his own. From this experience, Shaw and Jackson developed a new style of independent production that Shaw dubbed "zen filmmaking." In this approach, there are no scripts or sets. All rules are thrown out the window. The filmmakers have an idea of what they want to do, show up at a location, and feed lines to the actors just before the cameras roll. Actors are encouraged to improvise and experiment, and this often creates very natural and spontaneous dialog. The main problem with most low-budget movies is that the screenplays are written by untalented hacks. The producers are not going to hire someone like David Mamet or Charlie Kaufman to write a genre film, so sometimes it makes more sense to allow the actors to be creative and see where it goes. Zen filmmaking often comes together in the editing process, something that has become much easier and cost efficient in recent years.

The most interesting Shaw/Jackson collaboration is Guns of El Chupacabra (1997), a film that has been described as "Fellini meets the Coen Brothers." It's an acid-tinged spaghetti western about a space sheriff named James B. Quick who has come to earth to kill mythical creatures in the desert. The cast includes B-movie legends Joe Estevez (brother of Martin Sheen) and Robert Z'Dar (Samurai Cop), Penthouse Pet Julie Strain and her husband, Teenage Mutant Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, and Conrad Brooks, an actor who appeared in the films of legendary director Ed Wood (Plan 9 From Outer Space). All of these actors were quick to embrace the creativity that Zen filmmaking allows and have appeared in many Scott Shaw films over the years. The first film that Scott Shaw directed on his own was Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell (the title says it all), which was made in 1992 and took only two days to film. Several Japanese actors are in the cast, including Nakamura Saemi, who later appeared in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Samurai Vampire Bikers From Hell was one of the first feature films to be shot on video and won an award at the 1993 Tokyo Experimental Film Festival.

In the 2001 film Undercover X (aka No Boundaries), Shaw plays an undercover LAPD detective named Truck Baker, a cross between action star Chuck Norris and The Dude from The Big Lebowski. He's laid-back, but he can also tear your head off with his bare hands. Newcomer Richard Magram plays Shaw's hyperactive partner Torino, who rambles on and on like Joe Pesci after four cups of espresso. The two actors work very well together and there's some priceless improvised dialog in the film, most notably in a scene in which Torino gets into an argument in a bar about whether drinking beer straight from the bottle is more manly than using a glass.

Undercover X was partially filmed in Seoul and Tokyo, and the natural lighting and backdrop of these "exotic locales," shot with handheld digital cameras, come across as more authentic than the faux Asia seen in Hollywood films like Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. In the past few years, several major directors have started to incorporate elements of Zen filmmaking into their work, such as Sofia Coppola, who filmed a great deal of Lost in Translation on location without a script; Gus Van Sant (Gerry); Steven Soderbergh (Full Frontal and Bubble); and Brian DePalma (Redacted). There are also a few similarities (and some major differences) between Zen filmmaking and the Dogme 95 movement created by Lars Von Trier.

Scott Shaw can make a film that costs next to nothing and if it doesn't come out the way he expected; who cares? He'll just move on to the next one. Hollywood types, on the other hand, are always lecturing us about supporting important causes like the Amazon Rainforest, but then they go ahead and waste obscene amounts of money making incredibly bad films like the recent All The Kings Men remake, which starred Sean Penn and Jude Law. The screenplay, written by Academy Award winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List), didn't help either because the film lost over $55 million. They should have just made a Zen film over the weekend and given the rest of the money to charity.

You can also find this article at:  

Scott Shaw and the Art of Zen Filmmaking
Hollywood File Japan 


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Guns of El Chupacabra: The Story of the Production - Scott Shaw - Zen Filmmaking



Guns of El Chupacabra: A Genre-Bending Adventure into Cult Territory

Guns of El Chupacabra (1997) defies easy categorization. A potent cocktail of martial arts, monster flick, space western, rock opera, and Sp...