And that conflict, as compact as it is, is pretty intense, with a couple great instances of Santo in peril, including a harrowing sequence where he awakens to find himself buried alive. It all just goes to show that, even at their least, the Santo films of this era outshine the vast majority of what was to follow. Damn, damn, damn.
Here I was thinking that I was done with Santo - at least for the time being. I thought I'd watched every dvd - both legit and gray market - that was available, and in the process had seen all but three of the fifty-four! Thank you, internet.
Thank you so very much. La Furia de las Karatecas stars a 64 year old Santo and Grace Renat, a woman with freakishly enormous breasts. Renat plays twins here, a circumstance that opens such a broad vista of possible juvenile puns that my only response can be to turn and quietly walk away.
As the evil sister, she spends almost the entirety of her screen time doing orgasmic, mostly naked booty dances in supplication to some kind of glowing space rock. As the good sister - well, who cares what the good sister does. There is a monster also - awakened by Bad Grace In the course of her gyrations - and he appears to have symmetrically-spaced, hair-sprouting moles all over his body.
La Fura Dels Baus
La Furia de las Karatecas is really pretty horrible. And don't even think about the fact that Santo would be dead within a few short years of completing this one. That's just too depressing to bear. Still, the possibility of discovering another Danger: Diabolik or Suspiria or The Great Silence makes it worth the slog. That alter ego, Dr.
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We know that he's a scientist because, at one point, he looks up from a microscope and spews some nonsense about the "sex organs" of a certain "species" of "microbes". So shame on your racist gold face, Goldface! Those crazy Italians! El Hacha Diabolica El Hacha Diabolica is a great example of this, as it quite ambitiously sets out to give us a 16th century costume adventure on a budget smaller than a drivers ed film. And in the process it gives us quite an interesting back story on Santo.
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In fact, as modest as it is, El Hacha Diabolica will teach you more about Santo than most any other film in the series. For instance, did you know that there was a colonial era version of Santo? This ancestor of the 20th century Santo was a nobleman who renounced his wealth and identity after having the magic silver wrestling mask bestowed upon him by a cave-dwelling wizard. No way is it as weird as Profanadores de Tumbas , though. Alma Grande is a gun slinging hero of comic books and movies.
Why a film ostensibly centered around the adventures of his son would need to prominently feature Blue Demon becomes immediately apparent once you see the kid. El Hijo de Alma Grande is an Agrasanchez production, and the thought of writing about it fills me with inertia.
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In order to psyche myself up for it, I tried to convince myself that I was ready for another Agrasanchez picture, that I was even perversely looking forward to it. After all, it had been a while since I'd watched one - I think since the time I grimly soldiered through one of those BCI bargain flipper disc sets with seemingly a million of the things on it.
But this turned out to be way too much to ask of myself. In El Hijo de Alma Grande 's favor, I will say that the fact that it's shot on location in Belize is of interest, and the film even starts off by providing a little travelogue of the region.
She, especially, looks like she would rather be anywhere else. I can relate. Don't give up on Zovek like I did. However, when I popped it back in the player two weeks later, I was treated to a hailstorm of cannibal midgets, reanimated corpses, and bad kung fu. So be patient with this one. This means that, instead of the film taking a break from the story to show you a wrestling match, it takes a break from the story to show you Zovek's nightclub act. Other than that, all the lucha components are in place: Directed by Rene Cardona?
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When I first encountered midgets in a lucha film - the first Champions of Justice movie, to be exact - I thought it was an amusing novelty. Now I know that, if you're watching a lucha film from the 70's and you're not seeing little people, then you're being cheated. I'm not sure yet, but I think it's always the same guys, too. Their faces are obscured by space helmets in Superzan el Invencible , but I'm pretty sure that's them in there. They're too embarrassed to show them properly in the second Champions of Justice movie, because their costumes were so awful, but I think that was them, too.
They know it's cool, too, because they keep going back to it over and over. La Invasion de los Muertos ? The art of filmmaking sure has changed in the last thirty-five years.
There are some effectively atmospheric moments - a scene where Zovek battles a bunch of zombies in an underground cavern, the moment when the zombies first rise from the grave and shuffle en masse through the cemetery - but the scenes with Blue Demon serve to pretty much scuttle any chance of there being any kind of consistent tone. From what we see, it's as if Blue has moved beyond using his fists and has resolved to subdue his enemies by simply boring them into unconsciousness.
A typical scene keeping in mind that I had no idea of what was actually being said will have some official type person coming into the boiler room and reporting some event to Blue, after which Blue will begin to talk, and talk, and talk while we alternately cut to shots of the official looking like he's battling both confusion and the sudden urge to take a nap and Blue's comic relief sidekick mugging and grimacing furiously. The apparent desperation to pad out La Invasion de los Muertos ' running time makes you wonder just what the consequences would have been for director Rene Cardona Sr.
Could it be that he would have been An entertaining clusterfuck, mind you, but a clusterfuck nonetheless. As I mentioned in my review of Karla contra los Jaguares , that film's scant apportionment of screen time to its titular heroes left me with a lot of unanswered questions. Three things, in fact. Firstly, their costumes are fuzzy.
I hadn't noticed that before. There's not a "goofy" one, or a "hot head", or a "ladies' man". It doesn't matter which one is talking or punching somebody. The guy really oversells it, but to be fair, the filmmakers didn't even bother to provide any sparks or flames or anything, instead just putting a "zzzzzttt" sound effect in, so he kind of had to. As the title implies, Los Jaguares face off against some space aliens in this movie, and I do not say lightly that they are one of the most motley groups of space aliens ever seen in a lucha movie.
And the karate fighting alien foot soldiers, well, they all wear thin latex masks with black hair and mutton chop sideburns painted on them that are further adorned with glued-on platinum blonde bushy eyebrows and van dyke beards. There are also some humans working under the aliens, including a foxy young couple who, based on the amount of screen time they get and the recurring romantic musical theme they're given, are apparently the actual stars of the movie.
These two are given the task of fencing the fake diamonds that the aliens are for some reason making to a jeweler named "Senor Rosenberg" and spend most of the movie on the lam from the police, which is played off as very "Bonnie and Clyde". All in all, it's good stupid fun, which makes me a little sad that there aren't any more Los Jaguares movies to look forward to. Kaliman en el Siniestro Mundo de Humanon is not a lucha movie, but it contains enough dopey weirdness for ten Santo movies providing that one of those ten isn't Profandores de Tumbas , and that for me is enough to qualify it for inclusion in The Lucha Diaries.
Humanon, for instance, who wears a bright red Klansman's outfit but with sunglasses worn over the hood and a cape with an atomic symbol on it, hides out in a secret jungle compound with a magical dwarf lady, a cackling, hyperactive witch doctor and a grizzled right hand man with the demeanor of a crazy old prospector and does all kinds of weird shit for no discernable reason.
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Kaliman en el Siniestro Mundo de Humanon hits the ground running, providing a rich, projectile stream of insanity that lasts from it's first moments to its very last. And if that doesn't sound like an endorsement, you don't know me very well. Karla contra los Jaguares was produced in Colombia, a fact which renders unnecessary the question of what it's makers were smoking. And inappropriate. Because Karla contra los Jaguares , for a low budget film starring a team of motorcycle riding luchadores in matching leopard print outfits, is not nearly as cheap and stupid as it could have been. Consider that, on the scale of motorcycle riding team of luchadore movies, it could have been on the level of either of the two Los Campeones Justicieros sequels, and it's very modest charms become a lot easier to appreciate.
Not that the makers of Karla had any more to work with than the producers of the Campeones movies. I kind of like how this lack of fanfare makes the whole business seem like routine procedure, as if sending in a team of unarmed masked wrestlers in leopard print briefs is just one of the many tactical options available to the police, and was, for some reason, in this case preferable to sending in the SWAT team. We don't even get to see them in a wrestling match, for God's sake. But this particular model is made of construction paper and toothpicks, and I'm reasonably certain that it actually was made by a six year old.
Ladron de Cadaveres ! I've been delving into some seminal lucha films lately. Last week it was the seminal serial El Enmascarado de Plata , and this week it's the seminal wrestling monster movie Ladron de Cadaveres. And I'm not just calling these movies seminal because the 12 year old in me finds the word seminal hilarious har!
Frankenstein , and, to some extent, Santo contra la Hija de Frankenstein. It seems one need only put the brain of an ape into a human to give that human the actual strength - and, eventually, the appearance - of an ape. Could one not then gain such strength by simply striving to think like an ape? Fascinating questions, to be sure, though one need not grapple with them in order to enjoy the hell out of Ladron de Cadaveres.
You never get the sense here, as with some later lucha films, that you're just seeing half hearted nods to genre expectations. Overall, it makes me feel like a kid again. Which reminds me: Seminal Leyendas Macabras de la Colonia ? This is a weird one. The film stars Mil Mascaras and Tinieblas. It's a sleek look, one that wouldn't be out of place on a Marvel Comics character from the 70s. In other films I've seen - including ones that also star Mil Mascaras - Tinieblas plays it straight, but here he seems intended to be a comic relief sidekick for Mil Mascaras.
Anyway, in Leyendas Macabras De La Colonia , Tinieblas that goofball unwittingly buys a haunted painting from an antiques dealer. When he, Mil Mascaras and El Fantasmo Blanco take their ladies back to Tinieblas' apartment for a nightcap after the match, the painting magically transports them back to colonial times. Holy shit! Then there's a wrestling match and Tinieblas acts silly and falls down.