aka Santo Contra La Invasión De Los Marcianos
Director Alfredo B. Crevenna Writer Raphael Garcia Travesi
Cast Santo (himself), Wolf Ruvinskis (
Our first round of Mexican madness tonight is our silver-masked hero El Santo in yet another adventure from our ongoing Festival del Santo: the outrageous Sixties retro-futurism of Santo vs The Martian Invasion.
Having already battled all villains natural and supernatural, it’s only natural for Santo to take on a menace from outside the Earth’s orbit. And WHAT a menace – a tagteam of all-blonde Martians resembling Surf Nazis, but changing their appearance mid-film to Greek gods and goddesses (so as to not attract attention in modern-day
Our Aryan grapplers deliver a “People of Earth…” speech demanding a one-world government and a universal language (ah! Martian Freemasons!) to a TV-obsessed
Santo is now seen not only as the greatest wrestler in the world (a lofty opinion trumpeted several times during the movie), but as the single greatest threat to Mars in the known universe. Their invasion plans change to kidnapping nuclear physicist Professor Ordinera for his brains (even though their technology is 500 years in advance of Earth’s), and Santo for his bravery, wrestling skills, and walk-in wardrobe of spandex tights. Theirs hopes are now pinned on breeding them (hopefully not with each other) to create a new master race and conquer the universe. Two Martian handmaidens are sent to tempt Santo and he almost drops his saintly guard; the Men in Tights even invade a wrestling ring to unmask Santo, though luckily he has another mask on underneath! The Professor, it turns out, has a weakness for “the ladies”, and is surprisingly easy to catch once Santo’s not around: the four Martiano women turn up to a nightclub in showgirl costumes and snatch the Professor after an eye-popping go-go routine!
It’s one of our maddest Mexican masked wrestling hybrids yet, a wildly uneven grab bag thieving elements from scores of American science fiction movies. At this point a strange thing happens: its shameless pastiche of Fifties sci fi actually starts to resemble Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, only thirty years its senior, with Santo as a more effectual Sarah Jessica Parker. Filled with moments of unintentional charicature – like a wrestling crowd fleeing a building screaming “Ay ay ay!!” – it’s Mexico-centric film mania at its most eccentric. People of Earth, I give you: Santo vs The Martian Invasion.
aka El Barón Del Terror
Director Chano Urueta Producer Abel Salazar Writers Federico Curiel, Adolfo López Portillo
Cast Abel Salazar (Baron Vitelius d'Estera), “Ariadne”/Ariadna Welter (Bar girl), David Silva (Detective inspector), Germán Robles (Indalecio Pantoja/Sebastian de Pantoja), Rojo Reinaldo (Ruben), Rosa Maria Gallardo (
Last month we played the 1957 Mexican film The Vampire from producer/star Abel Salazar, a minor classic of South of the Border gothic horror. That should have prepared you for what you are about to witness, but couldn’t. Words can’t describe the spiralling lunacy of our second film tonight, also from Salazar: our man in
The 1961 reappearance of a comet marks the return of Baron Vitelius of Estera, condemned to death by the Inquisition in 1661 for sorcery and necromancy, and swearing a terrible revenge on the decendents of his executioners. He zaps down to earth from the comet’s tale in the shape of a goblin with hairy pincers and a two foot forked proboscis. Put simply, it’s the most outrageous creature in horror cinema, Mexican or otherwise. The fact he’s been hitching his wagon to a comet for 300 years… for once, words fail me.
The sinister troll startles a motorist and absorbs his suit - but not his underwear, as the Baron is clearly a gentleman. Within hours he’s set up in a tidy castle (presumably his) with his own butler, entertaining the great-great-great- great-great-great-great grandchildren (give or take a generation) of his Inquisitors. He’s so suave and debonair the locals can’t help but fall for his charms, even if he has to excuse himself every so often to tuck into a silver bowl full of fresh brains (“I’ll just go for my medicine,” he euphemises). Over the next few days, the Baron’s guests are discovered with two suckholes in the back of their necks and their skulls a hollow shell. Even the village police, and a young couple of astronomers with fancies of becoming amateur detectives, can’t see beyond the Baron’s meticulously mannered exterior as he transforms into the Brainiac, freezing his male victims with his withering stare and seducing the women before literally blowing their minds.
The Brainiac has so many plot contrivances and leaps of faith required to accept its tangential vortices, you could almost believe they’re taking the piss. If it IS a parody of
I don’t believe in the concept of guilty pleasures – you either dig something or you don’t, and any amount of attached self-loathing is wasted energy – but if you are of that persuasion, the pleasures are by the bowlful. Tuck in, connoisseurs, to the strangest dish to ever come out of a Mexican filmic buffet: the 1961 The Brainiac.