"El Robo de las Momias de Guanajuato" (1972) d/ Tito Novaro
As a kid, I'd usually follow up my Saturday afternoon horror movie double dip with WPHL-17 Philadelphia's own late, great horror host Dr. Shock with some WWF wrestling over dinner, and my favorite was always Mil Mascaras, hands down, with his high flying Mexican Lucha Libre maneuvers and colorful masks; a far cry from the usual cadre of lumpy, middle-aged palookas with broken noses and cauliflower ears slapping each other in the chest for twenty minutes. While Mil, or "Thousand Masks", was my favorite wrestler, he's never been one of my favorite actors. Tonight's review, known in English as "Robbery of the Guanajuato Mummies", is another solid piece of evidence of why that is.
"Wait, was this the thousandth mask or the fifth or sixth one? I lost count, dammit!"
Count Cagliostro (Tito Novaro, the director himself) makes the scene in a carriage drawn by an animated skeleton with a scythe. At Dr. Raymond's futuristic silver-themed pad, they map out their plans for world domination: Mine an element that's "stronger than Uranium" out of a nearby abandoned silver mine, but not by putting the scientist's hired midget henchmen(!) at risk of radiation poisoning, but by stealing the mummies of Guanajuato, reanimating them through a forgotten Egyptian rite(!!), and forcing them to do the duo's dirty work. Only, a shoe shining peasant boy witnesses the robbery, and when the authorities naturally dismiss the boy's wild story, his grown up hobo sidekick suggests that they take the matter to his compadre, Thousand Masks. After thumping some lower tier humps in a lengthy tag team match with his pals, Rayo de Jalisco and Blue Angel (Santo and the Blue Demon must have been preoccupied with Dracula, the Wolfman, and the guy with a spider for a hand somewhere across town), Mil hears the transient's story as he's getting a rub down from some groovy seventies dish and totally buys it. This sounds like a job for some masked wrestlers.
"Of course, I'm a top scientist, can't you see all the silver things in here?"
After entirely too long, Mil and his cape-wearing sidekicks-on-motorcycles (Mil whips a flash convertible full of groupie birds like a pugilistic pimp in a leopard print bomber jacket, for the record) descend upon Cagliostro and Raymond's shiny hideout, on a heroic sabbatical from sold out wrestling matches and the fitness workshop for mini-skirted chicks that they run on the side, these fuckin' guys! Though "The Lightning from Jalisco" experiences great difficulty executing his trademark diving headbutt to oncoming attacking midgets, and Blue Angel (looks more like "Cap'n South America" to me) is similarly inept duking it out versus the mummies, Thousand Masks throws on his ornate cape and proves more than able enough in defeating all manner of baddies with flying dropkicks and submission holds par excellence, culminating in total destruction of the witchcraft/science alliance (don't expect any Michael Bay-style pyrotechnics here, whatever you do), and our heroes drive off into the sunset, until the next time their beloved Mexico is threatened by the forces of evil...
In a low budget movie, a brush fire on a hill like this one could only mean the day has been once again saved.
Mascaras, who's made twenty or so of these wrestling movies since his inception in the late sixties as a replacement of sorts to El Santo and the Blue Demon on the silver screen, was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010 and the WWE Hall of Fame two years later. All of that aside, it still doesn't excuse such a meretricious cinematic taco of stinkamole as this, with a story that'd insult the average four year old's intelligence. In other words, great fun to shred on with your snarky film chums over a well-packed bubbler. On the scale though, El Robo gets headstand-headscissored into a one count, and angry fans throw milk cartons towards the squared circle...
"How you chicks feel about the Burger Chef drive thru?"