The Merits of Sin: Zapatlela (1993) (India)

There’s something so damn beautiful about a rip-off handled through the hands of another culture. Although, I should say “rip-off” may be too strong of a term. You see, this Indian flick has the lifeblood of Child’s Play running through its veins but somewhere a blood transfusion was necessary and it just mutated into its own damn thing. Luckily there’s enough plagiarism at work to make this unsubtitled two hour trek a little bit recognizable. Sadly, being at a complete loss when it comes to understanding Marathi and Hindi, I’m not sure just how much love they were expressing in the various musical bits but I’m just gonna assume it was a buttload.


A goofy ass looking gangster and his goofy ass looking hunchbacked sidekick pay a visit to a black arts practicing tantrik. It would seem the crime boss, Vinchu, wants to learn a mantra which will allow him to transfer his soul from body to body, thus enabling him to live on forever. I know… this all sounds very familiar. The tantrik, Baba, is easily bullied and teaches him the words he must say to accomplish his goal of immortality. It turns out Vinchu is lucky to have learned what he did because soon after his meeting with Baba a badass inspector leads a charge on his warehouse where he gets into whatever it is creepy crime bosses get into. He and his hunchbacked pal flee. They don’t get far.

Well they weren’t gonna be the heroes

Inspector badass manages to beat the crap out of old hunchback and he gets a few well placed shots at Vinchu. Realizing the end is near, Vinchu grabs the closest thing to him and performs the mantra. The closest thing to him is a large dole that is somehow concurrently the goofiest thing to ever grace the screen and a throughly disturbing visualization of nightmare fuel.

They left their Chucky and Brad Dourif out in the sun for too long

So we’ve pretty much been in pure Child’s Play territory for the opening what with the story being the exact same thing and everyone looking like an off brand version of their inspiration but that’s all about to change. Instead of a desperate momma looking for her son’s dream present we have a desperate ventriloquist looking like he hasn’t missed a meal.


Cheapo Chucky gets in the shrill voiced buffoons hands and immediately let’s him in on his secret. Seeing an easy source of money, out hero is excited at first for his new horrific buddy but soon comes to learn that this dummy ain’t no saint.

Watching you sleep since 1993

There’s a murder committed by the maniacal muppet and the ventriloquist Lakshya is blamed. Admittedly, there would be something wrong with you if you believed a grown man’s claims that his new doll was running around, getting into trouble. So everyone pretty much assumes Lakshya has lost his god damn mind which makes it a little easier for Vinchu to attempt to transfer his soul into India’s answer to Jeff Dunham.

Act natural

This being a flick from India there is a shit ton more going on than just the adventures of a walking dummy. Inspector badass is also around, falling in love with his chief’s daughter. Lakshya has a girlfriend who he’s getting into goofy shit with and his long suffering sister (mother?) is putting up with almost too much. And in the background the whole time is a delightfully cheap looking doll (brought to life by less than special effects) running around and shouting dialogue in an echoey voice.

We spooky

Inspector badass with the cool kung fu moves eventually comes around to believing his thought to be dead enemy is inhabiting the body of the doll. This brings them back to Baba for help and it all leads to a climactic rooftop battle between two men and the ugly ass doll.


You’ll need more patience than usual when it comes to this one. The comedy is persistent and more annoying than anything. There’s a good amount of musical bits which you’ll either see as an interruption or a blessing (I’ve always loved ’em). I surely felt the slog but I was so damn in love with the batshit insanity of a low rent Chucky that the boredom was easily forgiven. 6/10

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