21 May 2011

MEXICAN WRESTLING WOMEN vs. THE AZTEC MUMMY/1964/RENE CARDONA

MEXICAN WRESTLING WOMEN vs. THE AZTEC MUMMY
AKA: Las Luchadoras contra la Momia

1964/Director: Rene Cardona/Writers: Guillermo Calderon, Alfredo Salazar

Cast: Lorena Velazquez, Armando Silvestre, Elizabeth Campbell, Maria Eugenia San Martain, Chucho Salinas, Ramon Bugarini, Victor Velazquez

This version of  Mexican Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy disk is part of a Something Weird video series DVDs that will feature the K. Gordon Murray English dubbed versions of many Mexican Wrestling films. Many will feature, or course, the more familiar names such as Santos (called Samson for some inexplicable reason in the Murray features) and Blue Demon (I am not completely sure if Murray dubbed any Blue Demon films and will check into that) but thankfully others will contain what may be the most enjoyable theme in this sadly over looked little genre: lucadoras, or vivacious Mexican wrestling women. Now I version I have may or may not be the Something Weird Video print but I do not think it is since I have read that the SWV version has some rockabilly music placed over top some of the wrestling scenes. This was done by rockabilly, wrestling and b-movie promoter Johnny Legend and so the title was updated to Rock and Roll Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy. This really makes little sense to me but who I am I to question Johnny Legend. The version I got is from Cinemageddon and seems to be the actual K. Gordon Murray version sans rockabilly insertions.

The film features  the four lead characters from Doctor of Doom, Gloria Venus (here called Loretta!) and Golden Rubi (Miss Mexico 1960 Lorena Velequez and American Amazon Elizabeth Campbell) are back as well as actors Armando Silvestre and Chucho Salinas as their suave and bumbling boyfriends respectively. While this is a pretty good movie and in some ways can be seen as a sequel to Doctor of Doom there a couple problems with it that, in my opinion, make it the lesser fare of the two films. One problem is the wrestling matches go on a little two long. These are wrestling movies and so there will be wrestling bouts that are usually handled in a very serious manner. But there just go on a little too long here sometimes. Could have either been trimmed or could have cut to some other scenes to break the monotony. But not a big issue. A bigger problem I had was that the genuinely scary Aztec mummy does not appear on screen until 70 minutes into the film and then does appear that much until the film's ending. I have always felt the Mexican mummies were far creepier looking than the Hollywood ones and this one is a really freaky looking mummy that can even transform into animals like a bat or tarantula. This is really pretty disappointing and if you watch the film and see how scary this mummy is how and yet also how wasted it was I think you may have the same feeling.

Those complaints aside this Rene Cardona film is a watchable and enjoyable movie, as are most Mexican wrestling films. The story is about a group of archaeologists who have been dying off one by one and one of the last one's seek the help of the two people most qualified to rescue him: Gloria Venus (I will not call her Loretta) and Golden Rubi, two wrestling champions who are, in the tradition of Santos, also crime fighters and righters of wrong. The archeologists are being targeted by the sinister Black Dragon gang because the leader, Prince Fujiyata, seeks a he believes they have that will lead him to a secret tomb and untold treasures. It so happens that the last surviving member of the team is Dr. Telles and not only does he have the codex but happens to the uncle of Armando (Armando Silvestre), and Armando luckily is Gloria Venus's boyfriend. What is interesting about Prince Fujiyata is that he is supposed to be Japanese but sports a Fu Manchu style mustache and wears traditional Chinese costumes. Furthermore his two Judo chopping Japanese sisters are named Tzu and Lien which are both Chinese names.

There are plenty of little antics that takes place while Fujiyata zeros in on the location of the codex. He uses mind control powers to manipulate people, there are a few fight scenes with obvious stunt doubles standing in for Velasquez and the very tall Campbell. There is comic relief provided by the love relationship between Amazon Golden Rubi and the diminutive Chucho Gomez (Chucho Salinas) and of course there is an epic wrestling match between Venus, Rubi and the Japanese/Chinese. There is a well done flash back sequence to the origin of the mummy where we learn why the mummy, Tezozoc (Geraldo Zepeda) was entombed and forced to stand guard for eternity over the treasure chamber.

The final confrontation between the wrestlers and their boyfriends and the mummy is a little weak and I had hoped the mummy would have killed off a few people. That's way you write characters into the script like assistants or security guards. Again the problem is that the mummy simply appears too late. There are loads of plot gaps but why in the world would you what these films if not for the mistakes and blunders. What is redeeming about some of these films in the end is the earnestness with which they are made. The heroes are larger than life and inspiring in a matinee hero fashion. The girls are sexy and the mummy is scary. Lots of fun if you love Mexican mummies. Am trying to get the rest of Rafael Portilloi's Aztec Mummy trilogy after seeing this one. I have seen his entertaining Robot vs the Aztec Mummy and a review will be here someday.


2 comments:

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