Monday, February 13, 2012

Santo in the Wax Museum (1963)

A couple of weeks ago I saw my first Santo-movie, the excellent and fun Santo & Blue Demon vs. Dracula & the Wolfman (love titles like that!). I loved every second of it and the next morning I ordered a couple of them. The first one to arrive was Santo in the Wax Museum, in a nice English DVD release. A sharp fullscreen print and in Spanish! Lovely! It's hard to find any deeper meanings in a movie like this. Santo has his mask, someone gets kidnapped, he's trying to solve the mystery and then there's a lot of wrestling, off and on the arena! Like good old Mr J once said, it's like a Godzilla - you know exactly what you get!

The sinister Dr. Karol (Claudio Brook) has just opened a ultra-realistic wax museum in town. Everyone from Gary Cooper or Stalin is portrayed and down in the basement there's a classic horror dungeon with all the classic monsters. But Karol has more plans than just entertain people with his wax figures, he also wants to take over the world with the help of four pig-men (and a couple of the standard henchmen also of course)! He's suspected in the disappearances of several locals, and to divert the suspicions he hires Santo to try to solve the case - but soon Santo knows who's the real bad guy is and has to use all his wrestling skills to save the world!

Oh, this is goooood stuff. The story is mix between every House of Wax-movie made before this one and with a nice dose of The Island of Doctor Moreau and as usual it's a thinly disguised excuse to put Santo in wrestling fights with Dr. Karol's evil henchmen and the colourful opponents inside the ring. My favourite enemy of Santo in the ring is a French blonde bastard who acts like the stereotypical Frenchman - the nose up in the air, a bit feminine and using a lot of foul play.

The only disappointment was that Frankenstein's Monster, Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll, Stalin and Gary Cooper never came alive, because that would have been almost too cool for school. Instead we get these four ugly pig-men who mostly acts like zombies and can't fight! But don't worry. There's enough fights for the whole family and good one's too. I love the form of fights which is close to acrobatics, but never goes into The Three Supermen-territory. The stunts are painful and spectacular and  it looks quite dangerous most of the time.

The gorgeous black & white photo makes the movie even more great to look at and it keeps the old school horror atmosphere but still mixes in a lot of "modern" Mexican wrestling. You won't get bored watching Santo in the Wax Museum and the R2UK DVD is well worth getting if you can find it. It might be OOP by now. I hope to watch and review a lot more Santo-movies in the future, because I think I struck gold here regarding movies I love and care about!


Anonymous said...

Awesome review! I can't wait for you to review some more of El Santo's films. They're immensely fun to watch and dissect.

And by the way, March is going to be El Santo month at my site, so you may want to check it out!

--Mitch, The Video Vacuum

Hans A. said...

Cool! I'm glad that you have found the wonderful and exciting cinema of El Enmascarado de Plata, Santo. I think he is the world's greatest superhero. I've written about a bunch of his cinema on my blog. It's very addictive stuff, and I hope to read more of your thoughts in the future.

John Baxter said...

I love Santos! Great write up.

dfordoom said...

The only Santo movie I've seen is Santo versus the Martian Invasion, which was enormous fun.