Friday, July 4, 2014

"Santo y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos" (1970) d/ Gilberto Martinez Solares

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Let's celebrate American independence this year in the best possible way, by reviewing a Mexican horror/wrestling movie of the highest/ lowest order, starring two of everyone's favorite superhero luchas, Santo and The Blue Demon (Three if you count Black Shadow, who plays Demon's evil clone, Blue Demon II) and a host of dollar store versions of universally beloved monsters (Franquestain, I shit you not.)...and a rubbery cyclops with a flashlight eye...and a brainy dwarf creature that stands around a lot...and a hunchbacked dwarf assistant...and green spackle-grilled Mexican wrestlers this film's producers would have you believe were "zombies". What a sublime hoot.

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"Last night's party left me a little twisted...", notes Waldo (Santanon),  the hunchbacked dwarf henchman.
First we're treated to entirely too much of a tag team match between boxy-looking Mexican masked lady wrestlers (oof), then Santo watches (or not, he looks glazed over to me) his crime-fighting partner/ ring rival, Blue Demon, in his tag team match. Blue Demon likes to head butt a whole lot. In the meanwhile, Bruno Halder (Jorge Rado), a scientist world renowned for his preoccupation with resurrecting monsters and brain transplants, has passed on, but his corpse is stolen by a bald hunchbacked midget named Waldo (Santanon) and a gaggle of zombies who whisk the late doctor back to his castle via horse and buggy. Blue Demon happens to notice the ghoulish goings-on as he's speeding past in his convertible whip, and later gets himself captured and subsequently duplicated for evil by the reanimated scientist, who also scours the local graveyard and haunted house scene for all of his favorite monsters, that we were introduced to during the credit sequence, as they stood on a hillside, doing their own respective monster thing.

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"We'll soon be done examining your heads for appearing in this movie, dressed as you all are."
To help Blue Demon II and his zombie thugs beat Santo up and terrorize his own brother and niece ("You called me insane...I will now disintegrate my niece.", he says at one point, in all seriousness), Gloria (Hedi Blue),  who just so happens to be Santo's arm candy, Halder enlists El Vampiro, a Coffin Joe-knock off on a wire, an impoverished-looking mummy, an old bearded Indio with a fake nose and teeth, or the alleged "Wolfman" we were promised in the release poster, Franquestain, allegedly the Frankenstein monster's goateed relative, an aquatic Cyclops, and if all of them weren't enough, a pair of vampire women. Naturally, Vampiro dons a wrasslin' mask (or another much larger wrestler, if you're splitting hairs) and squares off against Santo in the ring, and is repelled by Gloria's cross necklace, turning into a hopelessly rubber bat and flapping off, leading all of the other monsters to tag in on Enmascarado de Plata. See! Franquestain driving a car and squashing a dude's headpiece under his over sized bovver boot. See! Wolfman slaughter a hysterical boy's family before his very eyes. See! Vampiro cheesily spread his cape, and repeatedly fly on a wire up to terrified, screaming mujeres. All this, and slightly more.

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"Cosplay ees so mach fahnnnnnn!", exclaims El Vampiro (David Alvisu).
This was one of six movies Santo made in 1970 alone. Think about that for a second. In the others he squares off against the likes of mafia assassins,  Nazis from Atlantis, zombies, The Riders of Terror, and even some more vampire women, because there really isn't anybody who doesn't appreciate a hot little number with fangs now and again, is there? There are a lot of cheap laughs here, as one might expect, despite being a technical flop of sorts...But, then again, the same abysmal production values that burn my well-traveled ojos after too long (one movie is my usual cut off point, I doubt I could double dip this particular sub-genre, even for significant piles of dinero) might give all sorts of pleasure to fans of this brand of brainless, pugilistic schlock. On the scale, one Wop. Could have used Mil Mascaras.

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"When monsters threaten the safety of the world, it's good to know we have you Mexican masked wrestlers to protect us."
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