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dir. Jairo Pinilla, 1984
Colombia. 93 mins
In Spanish with English subtitles.

An ostensibly straightforward mystery thriller riffing on a bygone generations worth of toxic whispers about the Bermuda Triangle, this film (also released as LA ISLA FANTASMA) uses the Panama Canal Zone as a jumping-off point, from whence a young girl and her father vanish out on the high seas. Jack Mendelson, her swollen uncle (who may also be a mercenary/private detective?) decked out in a leather vest and ripped bell-bottom jeans, goes searching for them, with the remaining nephew in tow. Their axes form a puzzle, leading them to a moss-ensconced island housing a mythic miniature pyramid made of solid gold - but the triangle is treacherous, and exposure to it begins to cost Jack his sanity.

Well before a man-eating plan has taken center stage, youll agree that EL TRIANGULO DE ORO is one of the wildest and most imaginative horror movies ever made, including at least one set piece that should be legendarily famous: a showstopping martial arts throwdown between Jack and a cadre of shady characters in a seaside cantina. The bar patrons horrified reactions teeter between tragedy and farce, another example of Pinillas surprisingly un-rushed editing style: Pinilla builds mystery through gorgeous location photography, decking each scene out with more telephoto zooms than youll find in most contemporaneous Hollywood thrillers. Speaking of which: both films in this series betray Pinillas penchant for overlaying snatches of music from overhyped American movies of the day. An insaniack final twist (complete with flashing strobes and bedraggled first-person long takes tiptoeing through walls of ivy, reeking with death) adopts the perspective of a child, played by Pinillas real-life son Jorge, to dreamy, haunting and hilarious effect.

In keeping with our presentations of clásicos tropicales góticos by Luis Ospina and Ivan Cardoso, Spectacle is pleased to exhibit two Eighties rarities by living legend Jairo Pinilla, the so-called Ed Wood of Colombia. Also reigning from Cali (Ospinas hometown, as well as the late Carlos Mayolos), Pinilla pioneered a form of acerbic camp cinema in constant struggle with Foto Cine, the government agency providing funding for some of his movies. While the films are well known among cineaste circles of Colombia, little is published in English about Jairo Pinilla. His most notorious works (like the temporary-death medical thriller 27 HORAS CON LA MUERTE, or AREA MALDITA - about a marijuana crops protected by a monstrous, weed-addicted python) remain sadly unavailable on these dark shores. We hope this series begins a bigger inquiry into Pinilla's work which, despite its languorous pace and phantasmagoric theatrics, retains the innocence of the best zero-budget cinema of the macabre.

Last December Pinilla told The Miami Herald that You have to have a good ending first, he said, taking a deep drag on a cigarette. Then you start stacking all the other elements behind it like a funnel. The funnels capping both THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE and EXTRAÑA REGRESIÓN must be seen to be believed - affirming Pinilla's late night tales as low-key pulp masterpieces.


124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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