Monday, May 28, 2012

SANTO EN LA VENGANZA DE LA MOMIA

It's so awesome that El Santo's films are finally released on DVD, and not in low-rent fashion. When I heard that Santo's classics were on the way to the U.S. DVD market, I really expected a No-Frills assortment of campy K. Gordon Murray-style dubbed versions that many of us baby-boomers enjoyed on Saturday night T.V. horror film fests.
The beauty of this release is that you get to see Santo with subtitles. The films still are campy, but nowhere near as kitschy as the English dubbed releases like "Samson In The Wax Museum" or "Samson vs The Vampire Women." Sure, it was funny hearing legendary lucha libre rudo Cavernario Galindo being introduced as "Caveman Wellington," but it's nice to see the subtitled version, which gives the movie the aura it was intended to have.

As far as "Santo en la Venganza de La Momia" itself, this is enjoyable, but the great Santo flicks were the early B&W releases. The longer time marched on, the lamer the production of these movies got. While they were never on a Speilberg budget, the films made in the 1950s-early 1960s had good wrestling sequences in front of packed arenas. In this film, Santo's "stellar matches" take place in miniscule arenas before miniscule crowds; while this would be cute if the character was a 'rassler on a small farm circuit, we're talking El Santo, the wrestling hero of the 20th Century!
The plot of the movie involves the popular "desecration of the Mummy's tomb" genre. When Santo accompanies a troupe of archaeologists in the search for Aztec artifacts, they find the Mummy of an Aztec who leaves a warning to those who tamper with his resting place. The adventurers ignore the warning, and before long, the Mummy starts bumping them off one-by-one with his bow & arrow. The Mummy's costume is undeniably cheesy, but at times when he puts forth a mournful groan, actually comes off a bit creepy (but maybe that's just flashbacks of visiting cheap retirement homes in my childhood). The intended comic relief of the absent-minded geologist is actually funny at times, and the concept of a masked man as a proteector of scientists and their road-dogs is a riot.
If you want to buy a Santo flick from the 1970s era, this will suffice, but you're better off holding out until they release one with dreamy Rossy Mendoza {sigh!}. If you want to catch some classic El Santo, one of his earlier B&W flicks, "La Hacha Diabolica," is available in this series of releases, and in my opinion, is not just a great Santo movie, but a really good horror flick, and I don't mean in a "so bad it's good" kind of way. "La Hacha Diabolica" is very cool!
"Santo en la Venganza de La Momia" is good, but if you're planning on buying just one Santo flick for your DVD collection, try "La Hacha Diabolica" instead.

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