Friday, October 7, 2011

Week 28: Santo en la venganza de las mujeres vampiro (Santo in the Revenge of the Vampire Women, 1970)

        Santo fights vampires...Aaaaaagain. Actually its not that bad a deal this time out. Angry vampire women once again menace the good citizens of Mexico and it's up to Santo and friends to stop them. It's unclear if this is suppose to be a direct sequel to the original Vampire Women film from the 60s. It loosely could be, although it seems unlikely. I think its suppose to be taken more as a remake/rehash. 


        An evil scientist resurrects Mayra, the high priestess of vampires, who was staked in the heart once upon a time. Through a long exposition, we're informed that Mayra's vampire soul watched on helplessly, as her followers brought her to Mexico, only to be slaughtered by a previous Santo mantle holder. Mayra swears vengeance on the descendants of that Santo, meaning she wants to kill our current Santo. This isn't a problem for El Santo, as he and his Interpol cronies are bored to tears with their current run of the mill cases and are itching for a fight with something more outlandish and supernatural. 

Santo's name written in gory blood credits...

         There's not a lot to the plot beyond Santo fighting vampires and evading assassination attempts by Mayra and her growing vampire horde. In a way, I'm glad that's all there is to this particular movie. Sometimes, that all one really needs. There's a vague subplot involving the evil scientist's pet creation, a Frankenstein rip-off, needing vampire blood to make it immortal. It turns out that evil scientist's whole motivation for resurrecting Mayra is to obtain genuine vampire blood for his monster. It's only really referenced twice, and even then, mostly to foreshadow the fight between Santo and said monster during the climax. 

Mayra, the evil Vampire Priestess.

"Bet you didn't know I had a barbed penis, did ya Santo?"

        One of the things that made the movie more interesting for me, was its funky early 70s vibe. The music and camera angles, even the film stock, give it a strange sorta Tobe Hooper vibe. It has the essence of a 70s exploitation film, more so than a luchador film. The two wrestling matches are actually executed quite well and are as compelling as any of the fight sequences in the rest of the film. 

Traditional Mexican Vampire living room decor.

     Venganza de las Mujere Vampiro manages to be one of the better of the Santo series, and certainly his best outing involving vampires. There's some slow moments in the second act of the film where Santo spends some time spinning his wheels, but things pick back up when all parties involved come together for a three way brawl. 


Four Silver Masks out of a possible Five

Fun Fact: This Santo film was directed by Federico Curiel, known as Mexico's most prolific director of vampire films.

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