Sunday, May 15, 2011

Atacan Las Brujas

Today, I bring you Atacan Las Brujas (The Witches Attack), starring Santo and Lorena Velazquez, from 1964. I have the Rise Above/Rebel Crew copy of the dvd from their Santo Collection series. Before we get to the film, I just want to say that Rise Above really understood what these Santo films were about. Just look at the packaging, fun fonts, bright colors, and an original poster. Even the dvd menus are impressive with their comic book style. All of Rise Above's dvds also come with English subtitles, but watch out because Zima also released several Santo dvds that mimic the packaging.

The Witches Attack DVD

DVD menu, super-stylish

This story revolves around Ofelia and Arturo, a young couple in love. But recently after Ofelia's parents' death, a face from her past has returned. Her aunt, whom she hadn't seen since childhood, has returned and is in charge of her inheritance, and Ofelia must remain within the old dark mansion with Mayra. Since Mayra has appeared, Ofelia has had the strangest nightmares of a silver masked man who saves her from her imprisonment of witches, and her aunt as the witch Queen.

Our Characters:
A creature of extraordinary strength and kidness, according to Ofelia.

Ofelia, the damsel in distress

Her fiancé, Arturo.
(Side note, fiancée is the engaged female, Rise Above's subtitles are occasionally with typos)

Prince of Darkness, Lord of Shadows, your go-to guy for mayhem.

This is the hottest witches coven I've ever encountered.

Everyone's favorite on the left, Mayra (Lorena Velazquez),
but I'm smitten with Medusa on the right. Yeah, her name's Medusa.

If you've read my list of Best Lucha Movies, you'll know that this happens to be one of my favorite films starring Santo. It has a classic 50s orchestral soundtrack, it feels like an old Universal horror movie, we have a coven of gorgeous witches, and an interesting story. Even the lucha match 3/4ths of the way through the film is super entertaining!

Interesting, the only Santo flick I've seen with a title card for a second act.

The basic setup of this film is much like a Jerry Bruckheimer picture, starts with action, then some low key scenes of dialogue, then action, more story, action, story, action, etc. The first sequence with Santo fighting the witches is just a dream-sequence, so it doesn't even count! Many scenes of Arturo, Santo, and Ofelia discussing the situation in an apartment, then Santo driving to the mansion to do some snooping/fighting. Then Santo comes home, talks with the couple again, then more attempts to breach the mansion. Another interesting note about the film is that they completely avoid any typical witch standards. Instead, they go for a Greek motif.

Santo doesn't use doors, he's much too hip for that.

This is my favorite Santo move, LA CRUZ!!

His silhouette creates a shadow cross that sends the hordes of evil running.

I also really liked this technique that Santo pulled out of nowhere. Apparently, like vampires, witches and their minions are driven away by just the silhouette of a cross. I wonder if they hate crosswalk signs then? Helipads? Hospitals? Swiss flag? Norwegian flag? lower case t?

1) Would you ask a masked man to give you a ride?
2) Would you trust a vixen who just happens to be hanging by a witch house?

Santo, how can I be subjected to these infernal seductions?

I love this, Santo is a prude in the early films!

Each time the couple go for a kiss, he promptly coughs to kill the mood

It's so surprising that Santo is such a prude. If you've seen any of the films from the 70s, he's almost always with a girlfriend. Hell, many of his girlfriends die off, and he shrugs it off like a pet goldfish turned belly up. Even in Santo contra la Hija de Frankenstein, his girlfriend talks about how when they are alone, he takes off his mask, and she goes gaga for his manly good looks. Then even Doctora Freda Frankenstein needs to remove the mask, and then is compelled to go for a kiss. But back in 1964, black and white Santo is everything his name entails, he's a saint of saints.

Is a mob of one anything like an army of one?

I used to play mercy in grade school too!

La Tapatía, aka the surfboard!

Llave de caballo, aka the horse-lock. A favorite of Santo's.

I really liked this match in Atacan Las Brujas. Some of the matches in these films aren't very energetic, and we end up with Santo resorting to a lot of tope attacks (headbutts), planchas (flat iron/belly flops), and an ocassional leap from the ropes. But here we see Santo doing headscissors, horse locks, tons of blows, a sweeping kick to trip his opponent, and more. His opponent does flips, jumps, and all sorts of spastic attacks, I get tired just watching this guy lash about. At one point he even resorts to tap dancing on Santo's skull.

Don't mess with a pissed Mexicana con un cuchillo!

Santo just happened to bring a cross for the final showdown!


Length: 95 minutes
Year: 1964

Favorite Quote: After Santo defeats the witches with his giant cross, he tends to Arturo's stab wound which has miraculously disappeared.
Arturo: "I don't understand, Santo"
Santo: "When a cross destroys a witch, her evildoings disappear with her."

The Ratings:
My rating system is out of five stars, and consists of six categories, then an overall score.

  • Story: I love this story, though it will be a staple format for other films in the series. I also like all the witch facts that Arturo and Santo know.
  • Horror: While not exactly a nail-biting horror fest, this definitely gives the aura of a Universal film.
  • Action: Let's just say if you were to drink a shot for every fist thrown, you'd be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.
  • Camp: Oh yeah, stuffed animals, fake bats and spiders, it's all fun!
  • Nudity: Zero nudity, zero sexual situations, totally safe for junior lucha-fans. Santo won't even let a couple give each other an innocent kiss! The prude! In later films, Santo would turn from prude to the king of pimps, with women clawing to get a chance at his barrel-chested brawn.
  • Overall: I really love this film from the black and white era of lucha libre. I'd recommend it as a good starter for anyone interested in the genre.

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