Saturday, February 16, 2013

SANTO Y BLUE DEMON CONTRA LOS MONSTRUOS (1970)

I am one of (I suspect) 30 people who saw the lively MIL MASCARAS VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY in its theatrical """release""".  This occurred at a theater in Kentucky, just where you'd expect a lucha movie to screen, at a theater which had not advertised the movie at all & didn't include it in the listing of showtimes on the marquee.  When I asked to buy a ticket, the ticket guy seemed baffled that I even knew that it was happening.  It was the strangest movie experience of all time and I feel like the release was the result of mob pressure or a lost bet.  But I loved the movie anyway and always meant to delve more into the golden age of luchadore-vs.-monster cinema.  So my hopes going into SANTO Y BLUE DEMON were sky-high...


Tragically for me, this film lacks MUMMY's self-aware spirit of fun and is played much straighter, though on the budget of a child's lemonade stand.  The best comparison that I can conceive is the 60s Batman show, only if a mad scientist sucked all of the purposeful camp out of it.  Like, we're going to make you watch this thing that we didn't really think through or try that hard to make, but you are not allowed to have fun with it.  It has monsters and fighting, so stop whining and watch it.


Santo and Blue Demon are best Mexican wrestling friends.  They also have issues with recently-dead mad scientist Dr. Halder, who gets reanimated by his dwarf assistant and immediately sets to work building a squad of extremely cheap-looking monsters, basically Universal monsters who are way past their expiration dates—

*a vampire in a shitty hipster hat


*a Frankenstein's monster (called "Frankenstein", grrrr) who looks like a paunchy Telenovela star with food poisoning and a barber school haircut


*this thing, which is like a cyclops/Creature from the Black Lagoon mashup


*a mummy who walks like he is a taking a DUI test and an old Mexican person semi-dressed up like a werewolf.  And an evil duplicate of Blue Demon, too.

Dude, this thing is full of monsters!  Aren't you already incredibly impressed?


The problem is that all this monsterousness is so much monotonousness without a solid story told with energy and passion.  And, oh dios mio, SANTO Y BLUE is one of the best movies ever at lazily pissing away any potential that it might accidentally generate.  If you came to me on the street and told me that you had a movie in which a mad scientist and his dwarf assistant conduct surgery on a water cyclops, while assisted by rockabillies in green greasepaint, I would give you a fistful of money to see it!  


But then I would give you a fistful of knuckles afterwards.  Too much of this is draggy and cyclical.  The fights consume tons of time, but because it's mostly Santo fighting dimestore Halloween costumes that have to last for the entire shoot, the action isn't that pulse-pounding.  Plus it's scored with the most generic stripshow jazz, so it's hard to shake the Something Weird feeling, which doesn't exactly square with action movie greatness.


SANTO Y BLUE didn't do much for me.  Word is that it's one of the weaker Santo entries, so I'm sure I'll give the whole idea another shot later on.  Let's end on a good note for now, the note of vampire tits.  See you next time, Internet friends!

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