There are certain events that are seasonal in nature.
The monarch butterflies return to Mexico each winter.
The swallows return to San Juan Capistrano each March.
The giant great white sharks return to Amity Island each July.
And we, Gentle Listeners, each May, must return to Horror Mexico, land of the luchador – the heroic, super human wrestler who uses his masked powers for good and not for evil.
Unless of course they are temporarily under the control of a mad scientist.
This month, as last May, our guide and our gateway to Horror Mexico is Santo, The Saint, The Man in The Silver Mask, and this month, he is going to fight very undead, but very beautiful vampire women.
In this early entry into the Santo mythos, the 7th film out of the eventual 52 that would be made, the movie both continues the tropes and traditions of the luchador, while adding some serious production values which add to the atmospheric black and white.
Let’s get in our convertible, put the top down, blast some bossa nova music, grab a Big Gulp and some Slim Jim’s from the 7-11 and head down to Horror Mexico, shall we?
Yes, we shall.
Over at Widescreen World, Rich Watson reviews Santon vs the Vampire Women, and well, let’s just say it’s even handed, but still isn’t good.
I understand that El Santo was the Elvis of Mexican wrestling, and he was revered as an cultural icon for generations, but as a movie, this is horrible. It’s tediously slow, and there’s not as much actual Santo/vampire fighting action as I was expecting. in fact, there are just as many scenes of Santo in the ring fighting regular luchadores – though he does fight a vampire in a ring thinking he’s a regular opponent, which was cool.
Santo, and the world of the luchador, are distinctly Mexican and therefore can be kind of confusing to US viewers, or easily dismissed, but I think that’s missing the point. Viewing the luchador through Latino eyes is a necessity here, and I think, can really add a great deal of fun and appreciation to the genre.
This is the point where I recommend the late Robert “Bobb” Cotter’s book, “The Mexican Masked Wrestler and Monster Filmography” as required reading.
Once you view the genre through the lens as a whole, I think you will want to seek out and watch more of these wonderful movies, because they are as fun as heck!
I am very grateful to be able to use the music and sound effects of so many wonderful creators.
You can find a list of all music used, and all sound effects used, and links, here, on our Credits page.
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