If you do not know who El Santo (The Saint) is he was a real professional wrestler in Mexico who also became a matinee idol and comic book hero. He made some 50 or more films in his career and a few were imported into the US by K. Gordon Murray, most noted for importing and dubbing loads of children’s fairy tale films. Santo in the Wax Museum was one of the more successful Santo films because it was one of them that was dubbed into English. I also have a about six or seven other Santo films here and the other one I watched, Santo and the Diabolical Brain is in Spanish with English subtitles. I don’t know why, but I like some movies more dubbed. Not because I am lazy and cannot read subs, but it really adds to the campiness of the dialog, as in the case of many of the Toho kaiju (strange monster) films. And most certainly the dubbing adds to the zaniness of this Santo (called Samson for some reason in the Murray releases, as if gringos can’t accept a Spanish sounding name maybe) film from 1963, made when Santo himself was 45 years old.
A series of murders and disappearances are tied to people who have recently visited Dr. Karols’s (Claudio Brook) wax museum. The museum is a strange collection of figures on one floor, ranging from Gandhi to Gary Cooper, but housed in the lower level is Dr. Karol’s collection of infamous murderers and monsters, the pride of his little museum. When photographer Susana Mendoza vanishes Santo is called in by a friend to investigate. The first part of the movie seems to plod along and I almost forgot it was a Santo film, until he arrives on the scene in his trademark silver mask, tights and cape. He rides around in a sports car and has a “Batcave” type laboratory that does not seems to be located in his apartment. Later when thugs set out to kill him they just come in through his back door. He is renowned for his crime solving abilities but once in a while he has to put the case on the back burner and rush off to the arena to do some wrestling. In fact there are three bouts in the film.
The movie culminates of course with Santo fighting the bad guys and monsters (humans changed into wax figure zombies by Dr. Karol, who will somehow destroy the world one day) with lots of wrestles moves. The girls is saved from being turned into a “panther girl” and put in the museums lower floor and in one scenes Santo cooks four or five monsters with a vat of boiling wax. Claudio Brook is great as Dr. Karol and in one scene does a classic mad scientist laugh that goes on and on. Santo is really strange as he stands around people’s apartments discussing the case with his in his mask and with his exposed chest and belly seemingly drawing no special attention from anyone. Like I said the dubbing adds to the fun, especially Dr. Karol’s radio announcer monotone. I liked it a lot and if look forward to getting my others ones burned so I can lie back on my sofa and bE thrilled at the marvel that is El Santo.