Sunday, February 19, 2012

Santo vs. the She-Wolves (1976)

Now, ladies and gentlemen, you will read a review that's far from objective. It's actually shamelessly subjective, more than usual - believe it or not. Some days you find a movie that's so gritty and dirty, non-polished and dark, but still possesses that fantastic feeling of "having fun". Santo vs. The She-Wolves is one of those. I haven't seen many Santo movies yet, but this one differs in several ways from the flicks I've seen so far - and I just love what the director(s) did with this 47th movie in the saga about Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata!

Shit is about to hit the fan when a village of werewolves chooses their new werewolf queen. They have more or less one thing to do before they can take over the world and that's to kill the last remaining man who's immune against the werewolf-illness. And that man hires Santo to stop the werewolves once and for all! Which... is easier to say than actually do, and Santo probably meets his toughest opponent EVER!

This Santo adventure is very far from the comic book adventures I've seen before. Gone is the colourful sets and the feeling of a kiddie matinee. This is more closer to Spanish horrors of the seventies, but even grittier and down-to-earth. The movie itself looks cheap and everything seem to be shot on real locations. There's a lot of hand-held camera and more than ever shadows is important to the visual approach of the story. The fights are a bit bloodier and more rough around the edges and the traditional sequences of arena wrestling is more or less documentary footage from real fights!

So Santo vs. The She-Wolves isn't for kids, but this is a Santo flick for us older who wants something more. It's more horror than ever and in at least two sequences it feels like a awesome werewolf-zombie movie. The first one is when the werewolves attacks a dance - first turning of the lights and then butchering the guests (until Santo saves the rest) and the other is a fantastic scene when a bunch of kids and two grown-ups is trapped inside a car being attacked by werewolves from all sides while driving through the wilderness. This is insanity, illness, made to look like a werewolf-movie.

The only time I laughed was when Santo was attacked by a pack of dogs and - believe it or not - needs to call for help to be able to survive! I never thought I would see that, but it also makes him more human - which I always felt is the strength of Santo. He's not a traditional superhero, he's just an awesome wrestler who wants to do some good for society, blonde women and kidnapped relatives.

Santo vs. The She-Wolves might not be for everyone, but for me it's a minor masterpiece!


Anonymous said...

Soooo...this film contains, gore and nudity..?

Hans A. said...

I'm glad that you like this one. While it's not as good as other Santo cinema of the period, it does boast perhaps one of the better finales that Santo ever filmed.

I love the ending fight sequence, under the blood moon. It's a beautiful visual sequence. The entire final act is tops.

Great review, as usual.

Todd said...

Cool! One of my all time favorite Santos.