Friday, September 16, 2011

Week 25: Santo contra los cazadores de cabezas (Santo vs. The Headhunters, 1969)

        So we're almost at the half way point with these movies. For whomever is reading this, it may or may not feel like I've been at this for almost half a year already, but for me, it does. Not always actually. It helps when the movies are entertaining, as they have been the past few weeks. 

Santo in yet another terrible sweater.

        Santo's run with Blue Demon is over for the time being and we're back to his solo efforts. This time out, Santo finds himself coming to the aid of a family terrorized by angry South American Natives. It apparently overlaps with his current investigation, as he has been trying to foil a gang leader who's origins lie with the Harbaros tribes that torment his new friends. It turns out that this nefarious gang leader has convinced the Harbaros tribes to unite and declare war on the "white man", white man referring to the Mexicans and Latins who surround them and are surely descended from, even partially, from mutual ancestry. The tribe uses a sleeper agent embedded in the family, as a butler, to kidnap Mariana, the hot piece of ass whom is obviously meant to be sacrificed, or as the Harbaros call her, "the Bride of the Sun". 

Santo wrasslin' a jaguar.

Santo wrasslin' a croc.

      Santo then leads her father, godfather, boyfriend, some red shirts, and some secret bad guys on a quest through...I guess the Amazon? It's never mad clear, to retrieve her before she can be sacrificed. What follows is a tedious march through the jungle that lasts for days, which is great because it actually feels like days to watch it... 

     Mariana must be sacrificed at some moldy Incan ruin at the next full moon, so they slowly march through the jungle, then Santo's posse slowly marches through the same patch of jungle. 

Santo can't even be bothered brushing away poison ivy...

        It's a shame that this is where the movie decides to go with its storyline, as it starts off strongly, even if it does seem a bit racist. Action pieces are set up, only for Santo to blandly foil them, almost with the wave of a hand. This happens repeatedly. His team encounters a massive Cayman, which Santo wrestles to submission. His team encounters a ferocious Leopard, which Santo wrestles into submission. There's unseen piranha, and electric eels, but Santo finds a reasonable work around. The electric eel scene is especially entertaining as Santo uses them to dispose of a traitor, hurling the man into the river, which instantly blazes intensely, and we're told the river is full of electric eels.

"We're Indians...get it?"

     There's also a reference by the villains to some obscure Incan god who is part man, part jaguar, who watches over them. This "god" reference pays off at the climax when some clown in a half assed jaguar costume attacks Santo. I bring this scene up because I laughed out loud at the beating Santo doles out to this poor bastard. This guy is seriously just in the movie to get his ass utterly stomped to pulp by Santo, and even then Santo just right hooks him, picks him up, and right hooks him again. I'm pretty certain this clown never lays a hit on Santo throughout their brief fight scene. I haven't seen Santo beat an opponent so utterly senseless since some of the early movies. 

Santo beating the Jaguar God senseless.

      The 25th El Santo movie is sadly a lackluster one, especially considering how strong the past few movies have been. What could've been an interesting jungle survival story to drop Santo in turns into an exercise in tedium as Santo and friends spend most of the movie walking. The villains could've been interesting antagonists, but end up coming off as witless savages with unrealistic life goals.


Two and a Half silver masks out of a possible Five. 

Fun Fact: electric eels are not actually true eels, but a member of the Neotropical knifefishes (Gymnotiformes), more closely related to catfish. 

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