Thursday, April 21, 2011

Santo en Las Momias de Guanajuato

This is probably my favorite of the films I have seen thus far in the lucha-libre genre–probably due to the Holy Trinity star in this film: Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Máscaras. I also like the fact that in this film (and others) they suggest that Santo comes from a long lineage of Enmascarados de Plata. Imagine Hernán Cortés arriving in México, and seeing a wrestling ring constructed of jungle vine and wood set within an ancient Aztec temple; two tribal brutes duke it out with masks…too bad real lucha history doesn't extend much further than than the early 20th century!

Guanajuato is very beautiful

This isn't a real mummy...

The film is set in the beautiful colonial city of Guanajuato, known for it's bizarre collection of mummies. Pinguino, the midget tour guide, explains to a group of curious visitors: the unique chemical makeup of the earth in Guanajuato only lets the human body break down to a point, then it begins to harden, turning corpses into twisted looking mummies. He goes on to say that one of the mummies is called Satan, and was once a luchador. (He's even still wearing his one-hundred year old tights). It is revealed that this 7' monster had made a pact with the Lord of shadows to return to life to avenge a humiliating loss in the ring against Santo's ancestor. Pinguino remembers that the curse foretells that our villain should return this very day! Well, the curse is true–the lucha mummy and his cohorts set forth causing all sorts of havoc until they find Santo to settle an ancient score.

This is the real museum of the mummies of Guanajuato

And this is what a true mummy of Guanajuato looks like.


Length: 95 minutes
Year: 1971

Favorite Quote
Blue Demon: How about we celebrate our meeting?
Mil Máscaras: That sounds like a great idea! How about I make us some big steaks, and a Roquefort salad, and a Valencian paella, and a nice vegetable soup, and...
Lina (Mil's girlfriend): Remember, you're on a diet!
Mil Máscaras looks down and whimpers in disappointment

The Ratings:
My rating system is out of five stars, and consists of six categories, then an overall score.
  • Story: This is a pretty basic story, like most lucha films. We have the trope of the adopted child (This time Blue Demon has Julio as an adopted son). We have a midget (Pinguino the mummy tour guide). We have monsters (Guanajuato mummies that look more like zombies). I also like how Santo plays as the Deux ex Machina in this film, coming in out of the blue to save the day. I also like that there was only one tag-team wrestling scene in this film. Most of these lucha films have two to three matches that you have to sit through. Depending on whose wrestling, I sometimes watch. Mil is definitely more skilled, and has some impressive movies in the ring in this film.
  • Bizarre Factor:   Honestly, this isn't all that weird compared to others. I do like that the police don't seem to terribly distraught over shooting a mummy disguised as Blue Demon with no effect. They are also pretty chummy with Blue Demon when they apologize for accusing him of the murders without any real clues. Also, the one way to survive a mummy attack is to go to sleep. Lina and Julio always are sleeping, yet Mil and Blue Demon don't seem too afraid they might be eaten or kidnapped by the living dead walking the streets of Guanajuato.
  • Horror: These mummies are pretty cool looking, but not ragged enough for being 100+ years old. I also like the ring leader's droopy eyeball. Too bad they couldn't be a little more rotten, or even hungry for flesh. They were only good for snapping necks. 
  • Action: As per usual lucha film, lots of fights, matches, and throw downs. My favorite scene is when Blue chucks a mummy out of the second story window. I am curious though, are the undead forced to watch Bruce Lee films in the afterlife? I ask because these mummies have only one battle tactic: karate chop. No closed fist punches, no kicks, just hand chops. Not even biting! I guess not all zombies were created equal. 
  • Camp: Oh man are there some plot holes in this film. My favorite plot hole is the scene where the mummies knock out Blue Demon and steal his clothes to impersonate him and cause chaos downtown. For one, how did Blue get home? They don't even mention it, and he never tells anyone what happened. Perhaps he was too ashamed to have been stripped by a 7' mummy? Also, why are these mummies only interested in knocking out the heroes? You'd think they would just feast on them instead. 
  • Nudity: No nudity, or even suggestion of real sex. Well, Pinguino does ask one of the night club girls to stay the night in her room, but that might be 50% because the little guy is scared of the mummy murders. 
  • Overall: This is a really great introduction into the lucha genre of films for anyone. There is only one lucha match to undergo (or fastforward for the weak), the action is pretty quick, not many slow dialogue moments, there are scenes of comedy, and it has all the fun tropes. I would go to this film for new recruits.

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