Friday, June 10, 2011

Week 11: Blue Demon contra el poder satánico (Blue Demon vs. Satanic Power, 1964)

         Week 11 has arrived, and so has our first Blue Demon movie. Santo mostly cameos in this, as it is a solely Blue Demon vehicle. Before I delve into the plot of Poder Satanico, I feel I need to explain Blue Demon a little bit, for the uninitiated. El Santo had tried to ask for more money for his starring roles in his wrestling pictures. The producers worried he was going to be a problem, and decided to cultivate another masked wrestler, in case Santo's demands became too difficult to accommodate. The decision was made to groom Santo's popular rival Blue Demon into a wrestling picture leading man. Blue Demon would prove a popular draw, and himself would amass a whopping 25 films, until his retirement from acting in the late 70s. As far as quality and content, while his films are considered to be extremely similar in plot devices as the Santo pictures, there are many that prefer Blue Demons films to Santo's, as he was considered the "edgier", "meaner" luchador hero. One might say that Blue Demon is to Santo what War Machine is to Iron Man, only less black.  

Santo congratulates Blue Demon on his coming matinee success.

       The particulars of Blue Demon's adventure, this apparently only his second, involve him coming to blows with an Occultist. The film opens in 1912, with Geravo Fernandez, a land owner, man of influence, and accused warlock, standing trial for perversion, trouble making, and being an all around bad egg. He's sentenced to death, something he casually laughs off, telling us via internal monologue that he's going to put himself in a form of suspended animation (he actually names it something like "Catalytic", but the subtitles never use an exact enough spelling to use the word here). Fernandez is found in his cell, dead by all appearances, and is entombed in his grave for 50 years. Upon being released in the modern day by grave robbers, Fernandez promptly finds his hidden lair and begins his trouble making anew. 

Blue Demon and his favorite Mayan ancient astronaut sculpture

     This is where Fernandez runs afoul of Blue Demon. Being entombed for 50 years for a loooooooong nap, Fernandez awakens with quite the morning wood. The trouble he decides to get up to is kidnapping ladies to bed down. Fernandez just so happens to encounter Blue Demon's best friend and manager, who's out on a date with his best girl. Fernandez kills the manager, and hypnotizes his date, having his way with her, before burning her to death in his secret furnace. Yup, he's a real charmer.

Blue Demon is sad...

         Distraught over the death of his friend, Blue Demon spends most of the movie being mopey and reading up on hypnotism. Somehow he suspects hypnotism is involved, even though he and the police have absolutely no evidence at all. Unlike Santo, Blue Demon doesn't really seem to be a full time do-gooder, at least not in this film. His casual acquaintance with the police not withstanding, Blue Demon seems mostly to be revenge minded. When not moping about his dead friend, Blue Demon spends the rest of the run time wrestling. In fact, its not until Fernandez astral projects himself throughout the city to find anyone who might be onto his plots that the two main characters become aware of each other. Blue Demon definitely lacks the batman-esque detecting skills that Santo uses to pursue his quarry. 

Beware the bloody eyes of Satanic Power!

    It's one of these wrestling matches that makes up one of the two most compelling action scenes I've seen in these movies yet. 3/4s of the way through the movie, Blue Demon has to wrestle a man almost twice his size. The contrast in size is like seeing Andre The Giant wrestle Ray Mysterio Jr. Actually, that's probably a gross exaggeration, but you get the idea. Blue Demon gets thrown about the ring like a rag doll for the better part of the match, before using his smaller size to out-maneuver his opponent.

Blue demon was a big fan of the dutch angle.

    The other most compelling action scene is Santo's, and only Santo's. He participates in a match that gets bloody very quickly. I haven't really addressed Santos presence in this film, because its an extended cameo, although the two wrestlers mention having each other's back if there's ever trouble, obviously setting things up for future adventures. He first appears in this bloody wrestling match, his tights covered in his opponent's Red. After this clown gets rowdy and out of hand, Santo quickly pummels him to red pulp. He doesn't appear again until late in the second act, mostly as a glad handing scene, probably to placate Santo fans who paid good money to see his Rival's movie with the promise of his appearance.

Santo gets brutal...

   Our first encounter with Blue Demon is a less than stellar one, as it doesn't really play like a good introduction to the man and his abilities. Santos presence doesn't really help, as it just serves to remind us of better wrestling pictures. The Villain isn't really a huge threat, as the extent of his "Satanic Power" seems to only be hypnotism and astral projection. They're more psychic powers than Satanic powers, as Satan and Hell and evil things never really seem to come into play. 


Silver Masks not applicable due to lack of El Santo. 

Fun Fact: Blue Demon and El Santo were actually very long time rivals, due to Santo losing to Blue Demon several times in the 1950s. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all of these great reviews!
    I've read that the DVD that is shown on amazon link doesn't actually have subs. But from your screencap it looks like you found an .srt possibly? Can you help a brother out and give a hint as to where to find it? I have the movie, just could use a sub!