Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 27: Santo contra los jinetes del terror (Santo Vs The Terror Riders, 1970)

       So here we are, on the other side of the year of El Santo, so to speak. There are more movies seen now than there are to-be-seen. I guess you could say its the downhill stretch. We've still got a ways to go though.

The Velvet Santo.

      This week is a change of pace, as we're treated to Santo in a Western. This time, Santo is called in to help mediate a situation in a remote Mexican village, which is located near a leprosarium. Six Lepers have escaped, and are stealing things along the outskirts of the village. It's up to Santo to capture the Lepers and keep the townspeople from burning down the leprosarium in a fiery act of mob violence.

A Leper trying on some jewelry.

       I guess its suppose to be understood that this is one of Santo's Ancestors in the old west, dealing with this conflict. One might assume its just a very remote part of Mexico in the 1970s, and it easily could be, but Santo seems to be the only one enlightened enough to know there is a "new" cure for Leprosy known as dapsone. Since dapsone was introduced in the early 20th century, I think its safe to assume that the story takes place at least around the time that The Wild Bunch did. There's also no signs of electricity or cars. 

Santo beating another hapless badguy senseless.

     There's some interesting moral quandaries thrown at Santo and the Sheriff, Dario, that he is assisting in this movie. The escaped Lepers aren't dastardly, mustache twirling bad guys, but only sick people who don't want to die fenced off from the rest of the world. They're not out to make anyone sick, and only steal what necessities they need. The real villain of the piece is Camerino, the local alarmist, who turns out to be the secret gang leader for a group of Bandidos. He convinces the Lepers to be a diversion to the townsfolk, while he goes about his criminal activities, planning to double cross them the entire time. 

A leper

      One thing that has become obvious with these later movies, is Santo's age. At this point, in 1970, he had to be in his early 50s, and it shows. In the movie's sole wrestling match, (more a bare knuckle brawl, considering the time period) Santo goes shirtless for the first time in two or three movies, and you can see the beginnings of a Ric Flair sloppy tittied chest. It's no wonder they've had him sporting turtlenecks and jumpers lately. This time out, he wears a fancy purple jacket/shirt thing.

Santo showing his age.

     The Terror Riders turns out to be a sturdy period piece for Santo, and while not a spectacular matinee treat, manages to be leaps and bounds better than the previous two installments.


Three Silver Masks out of a possible Five

Fun Fact: A separate adult version exists, known as "The Lepers & Sex", featuring nude scenes, not performed by El Santo.  

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