Thursday, January 10, 2013
Santo and the Vengeance of the Mummy (1971)
We're back into the wonderful world of Mexican wrestling with this charming adventure, Santo and the Vengeance of the Mummy! Santo, who's real name was Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta started his professional wrestling career in the middle of the thirties and kept fighting until his retirement in 1983. About one year later he did a talk show appearance and showed his face, quickly, for the first and only time. He then went home about a week later he died. Did he break the magic? "Bullshit or Not?" as Henry Silva would say in Amazon Women on the Moon. We will never know, but deep inside I feel it was something weird going on. On the other hand, he was a great artist - an entertainer, and what a way to go!
This film beings, as usual, Santo fighting two dangerous opponents: Gori Casanova and Angelo, and is almost defeated - when he's suddenly gets his strength back and beats them both! Lucky for us, wouldn't be so much movie left without him! This time he follows his a professor and his crew out in the jungle to excavate an old Aztec (I suppose it is...) temple and their gold is to find the tomb of Nanoc, a legendary warrior! The find it - very easy - and goes back to the camp... but so does Nanoc - armed with bow and arrow, and he starts killing of the team members one by one... and now it's up to Santo to stop him!
Like the one I reviewed yesterday, Santo & Blue Demon vs. Doctor Frankenstein, this one has an amazing flow. It waste no time with character development, and instead we gets an awesome wrestling match - shot with a real audience and with the same typical flair as usual from director René Cardona. It feels real and the handheld camera and lack of a static studio background helps the action. Then there's a very typical, close to mega-generic, jungle adventure, but in that charming way - in a studio and with a few pick-ups here and there on location. It also sports some very neat stock footage from a bigger budgeted movie with Aztec Indians slacking around a very cool temple.
One annoying detail is the presence of Son of Santo, Santo's real son, who plays some farmer boy being adopted (!) by Santo! He's not as annoying and awful as the Japanese kids with short trousers and cap slumming in our beloved Kaiju films, but because of his stupidity the mummy actually kills more people than he what was probably planned from the beginning - and the boy even doesn't feel sad when his dear grandpa dies by the rotting hands of the monster!
There's not much wrestling in the jungle either, except the end fight between Santo and Nanoc - but it's never boring and there's two great fights in the ring to look forward to. Maybe not the best Santo movie to start with, at least if you want wrestling all the time - but its a good matinee adventure and well worth watching!