Monday, November 28, 2011

Fan-Boy Icon #57 - El Santo

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was a Mexican wrestler better known as El Santo. Now, wrestling is not my thing, but I do have a soft spot for luchadores, and El Santo is the king. For me, one of the most interesting things is how many films were made (54 according to the IMDb), and how low the availability is in the United States. I have read that only four films were dubbed into English.

I have seen two of the Santo films. Well, one and two-thirds. Santo vs Capulina, and Santo vs the Vampire Women. Both are available on YouTube. The first is mostly a comedy. Capulina is a famous clown, and pretty much used to round out a seemingly non-existent story. Now, it was in Spanish, and the last thirty minutes were missing, but it was easy enough to get the idea. Santo vs the Vampire Women was more solid. A mostly straightforward vampire film. Again, it was in Spanish, but easy enough to follow. Links to both below.

The oddest part of these films is that Santo is always masked. Sleeping, swimming, making sweet love; the mask stays on. Now, Huerta never appeared without his mask until shortly before his death, but it is so humorous to watch a masked man in a suit going about his business and no one questions why. In the films Santo is a bit of a James Bond or Batman. Rich playboy who has gadgets and fights crime, he just does not have an alter-ego.

So, the better of the two films I found was Santo contra las Mujeres Vampiro (Alfonso Corona Blake, 1962), a pretty solid vampire movie in a rather Hammer-style, though based in modern time. The actual story is a bit hard to grasp, as I don't speak Spanish. Basically, a mad scientist wants a vampire. He gets go-go dancers from a local club, the first of which he uses to reconstitute the vampire husk he has found, then other go-go dancers fill the larder. There are also some killings to look into, so Santo is called in to aid the police. The initial vampire takes over the go-go club, tries to kill Santo, makes a lot of new vampires, and eventually bites it. It was a fun film, I just wish I understood the dialogue better. You can see it on Youtube here. Some decent leg action for those so inclined.

Not quite Faster Pussycat,Kill! Kill! but not bad.
Swanky and scary night-club people.
Even swimming, the mask stays on.
Modern science meets ancient myth.
Our vampire hostess.
Even when sleeping, the mask stays on.

Okay, maybe a guy in a mask is not so odd.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

I am with you. I don't know a thing about wrestling, but Santo to me is more of a superhero than anything else. Mexico's Captain America so to speak.

I enjoyed the hell out of Vampire Women. I have seen one other other Santo film, but for the life of me I can;t remember the name.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have seen pictures of Santo with a rather Luchador-styled Captain America... Now I wonder if Marvel ever optioned the character. There were certainly Santo comics in Mexico.

Tomorrow we'll have Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstrous, which may be the one you saw.

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