Wednesday, October 6, 2021


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 6
Total First Time Views: 5
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $279.90

Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters (1970) d. Gilberto Martinez Solares (Mexico) (82 min) (2nd viewing)

In retrospect, it’s a bit strange that I haven’t gone back to watch Santo y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos in nearly a decade and half, considering that my memory of it has always been positive. I remember sitting there on my couch in 2007, mouth hanging open the entire time, hardly believing what I was seeing, and hardly believing my good fortune. When you’ve got two masked wrestlers doing battle, not only with each other, but with El Vampiro, two vampire senoritas, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s monster (dubbed “Franquestain” here), the Mummy, an absolutely bonkers Creature from the Black Lagoon knock-off, “The Cyclops,” not to mention a mad scientist, his bald Miguelito Loveless assistant, and a handful of green face-painted zombies, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

There is so much goodness on display, it’s hard to know where to begin, so we’ll start off with the opening titles, which act as an inverted curtain call, with each of the characters (including the monsters) walking into frame and landing center until the title card comes up. It’s basically the cinematic equivalent of a triple-dog-dare to avert your eyes or leave your seat for the next 80 minutes lest you miss any of THIS, folks.

What? You’d like to know the plot? Okay, try this on for size. A rebel scientist, Bruno Halder (Carlos Ancira), known for resurrecting dead bodies via brain transplants, dies under mysterious circumstances. Turns out Halder is the brother of Otto Halder (Jorge Rado), who happens to be the father of blonde bombshell Gloria Halder (Hedy Blue), none other than the main squeeze of everyone’s favorite Man in the Silver Mask, Santo (playing himself, naturally)!

After evil Bruno is revived by his diminutive assistant and undead henchmen, he hatches a plot to destroy Santo and conquer the world, in that order. What’s his plan of attack? Why, round up as many monsters as possible, of course, plus an evil clone of Santo’s best friend and fellow wrestler Blue Demon (also playing himself), and send them out to wreak havoc. I could call this sequence the highlight of the movie, since it features Franquestain stomping on a guys’ head, Hombre Lobo shredding a family, El Vampiro putting the bite on not one but two hot babes and turning them into bloodsucking brides, and our hilariously enthusiastic Cyclops (the film’s MVP by far) trouncing a fisherman.

I say I could call it the highlight, but the fact is that the entire movie is made up of highlights, each more deliriously goofy than the last.

For those unfamiliar with Santo, you would do well to look this fella up because he is basically the equivalent of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson 50 years earlier. This guy was a capital-S Star, in and out of the ring, and he did it while wearing a FRIGGING MASK the entire time. His breakout film, 1962’s Santo vs. the Zombies, set the template for the 50-odd features that followed, dramas, comedies, and horror, with this offering being one of the brightest spots on his resume, mostly due to the nonstop action (and reaction shots – Blue doesn’t do anything the entire movie except bug her eyes out at whatever is happening around her, which she does about 9,638 times. It’s amazing.)

There is so much fighting, within the squared circle, out in the countryside, in Halder’s laboratory, in said restaurant… basically the whole movie is one big monster brawl punctuated by scenes of guffaw-inducing inanity where characters make proclamations like, “Now I will disintegrate my niece, and you will suffer as you watch.” All set to a musical score that sounds like composer Gustava Cesar Carrion is performing top-rope pile drivers onto his Hammond Organ over and over and over again.

Let’s also not forget that this is a movie about a masked wrestler who never takes off his mask, whether he’s tooling around in his sports car, wearing a three-piece suit, macking with his honey, or ordering dinner in a fine restaurant (where an extravagant and entirely pointless music hall sequence takes place), and nobody ever asks, “What’s with the mask?” Why don’t they ask? Because it’s SANTO, fool, where you been?

I. Love. This. Movie.

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