Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos (Gilberto Martínez Solares, 1970)

Say what you will about cinema as art, sometimes you want a movie that grabs you right away and boldly shouts, "you will watch me!" Santo and Blue Demon vs the Monsters is such a film. I caught this one on Galavision this weekend, in Spanish (which I do not speak). Now, I am fairly new to Luchador movies, and am not a big fan of wrestling in general, but do appreciate the super-hero aspect of these movies. Sometimes Santo is a James Bond character (as mentioned yesterday) or Batman sin Bruce Wayne. Regardless of role, Santo is the scourge of bad-guys everywhere (or at least in Mexico).

Santo and Blue Demon vs the Monsters is a real mish-mash that the Vicar of VHS described "as if two movie-loving, hyperactive playground buddies were sitting behind the typewriter pounding out everything that entered their sugared cereal-addled brains." The film features a cacophony of monsters, a mad scientist with hunch-backed midget assistant, and just for laughs an evil clone of Blue Demon. We have a horde of zombies (Voodoo-style), three vampires, the wolfman, a mummy, Frankenstein's monster, a cyclops, and a rock creature with an over-sized, highly exposed brain. All this, and only one man to stop them; El Santo.

As I said, I don't speak Spanish, but like Amazing Mask, the storytelling is pretty plain by visuals alone. I did not realize there was a Blue Demon clone, I just thought the mad scientist used some sort of mind control on him, but that would be just as (nay more) probable. I did not understand the mad scientist's motivation, but really, do you need to? He's a mad scientist. He is out for either a) revenge against the scientific community that spurns his research, or b) world domination. Oddly enough both motivations typically yield the same plan, so skipping all the backstory is both appropriate and expedient.

Now, it might seem weird that in one of the big action scenes all of the monsters get in the wrestling ring. The vampire apparently challenges Santo to a match, and when he loses (by seeing a cross) all his monster buddies swarm into the ring, all showing fair wrestling aplomb, to battle Santo and his legion of wrestling buddies. Now, on one hand, the Blue Demon clone might have taught them to wrestle, or it could just be standard genre action logic. In kung fu movies with vampires, the vampires know kung fu. In swashbuckling vampire movies (like Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter) the vampire is a sword master. In the Underworld films, vampires are skilled with handguns. So, obviously, in a luchador movie the vampire will be a wrestler. The other monsters are primarily brutes anyway, so wrestling likely comes natural to them. Like the Vicar, I do not fully understand why the vampire wears a mask. Maybe a stunt double did the wrestling, or it was too hard to keep his prosthetic ears and teeth attached during the wrestling scene?

This film is silly to be sure, but it is so full of awesome to watch it surpasses its limitations. It is kind of  family monster movie. Sort of a Groovie Ghoulies for 'tweens. The cheesecake is limited, the violence is similar to a '70s tv show (sin the heavy gun use). It is an utterly enjoyable bit of film, and hell, if you watch it with your kids, maybe they will be more enthused about learning Spanish?


The Vicar of VHS said...

Thanks for the shout out! :) I'm a Santo fan dyed in the wool, and even went as the Silver Masked Man for Halloween last year. This is really a fun one, but it can't hold a candle to my all-time favorite, SANTO Y BLUE DEMON CONTRA DRACULA Y EL HOMBRE LOBO! That should definitely be next on your luchador watchlist!

And for superheroes vs. midgets action, it's hard to beat Blue Demon and a team of luchadors as an ad hoc Justice League in THE CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE!

Incidentally, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there are a lot of fansubbed versions of these films out there. If you have trouble finding them, drop me a line, I might be able hook you up. ;)

Viva El Santo!

Darius Whiteplume said...

NP. I may need to hit you up on those. Particularly interested in "contra el Invasion de la Marcianos"

Champions of Justice looks good. Saw TK's review from your post. Doing a bit on Demonio Azul y Tinieblas on Thursday, as well as La Novia del Santo and American Luchadora April Hunter. Naschy tomorrow, who would have certainly made an awesome Luchador (maybe he was un Enmascardo, but never told anyone?)

Darius Whiteplume said...

BTW, from now on when I go to long without shaving I will call myself "El Hobo Lobo" :-D

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