Friday, November 25, 2011

Week 35: Santo contra los asesinos de otros mundos (Santo vs. the Killers from Other Worlds, 1971)

          So its Black Friday here in the states. If you're home reading this, and not out shopping, than good for you for not being a lemming. In honor of your independence, here's a review of one of the better Santo movies I've seen in a while. 

  The Killer From Other Worlds is actually one of the funkier Santo movies in the wrestler's oeuvre.It's mostly a knock off of The Blob,  with the man in the silver mask clashing with a carnivorous mutant microbe from beyond the stars. Thrown in for good measure is a mad scientist, unleashing the monster on various political and scientific heads of Mexican state, in an attempt at blackmail. 

Santo's first encounter with his titular enemy.

      Before addressing anything else, I have to talk about the actual blob monster in the movie. The "special effects" utilized to bring the other worldly man eater to life are awesome, in the worst cheapy monster movie sorta way. It's simply a bunch of people crawling and stumbling around under some large sheets of rubber that are sewn and painted together. There's no real attempt to even conceal that sewing seams, until the third act of the movie, and at that point, the effect is totally ruined. It's cheap, and awesome, and yet this thing manages to still look unsettling when on camera. 

"self Portrait"

       Another thing that really stood out to me with this particular movie is its score. I usually don't talk much about the music in these films, mostly because if I even notice it, its because its the same repetitive, cheap sounding score over and over. It's usually not even worth mentioning. This entry has musical cues that are so...strange. In particular, there is a scene at the start of the third act, where Santo is infiltrating the Mad Scientist's hideout. The music for this scene is really out there. It sounds like a purposeful attempt to have an orchestra play all its instruments at once, as a sort of symphony of chaos. There are similar scenes throughout the movie, where its funky score gives it a disquieting vibe.

Santo fights a Gladiator.

        There's also no genuine, in the ring, wrestling match this time out. It's the first one I can recall that doesn't have some sort of sanctioned match in a ring of some sort. These are wrestling pictures after all. Hell, the one that was a western from a few weeks back had a wrestling match in it. In its place, Santo is forced to meet three different, and strange, opponents in mortal combat. He's captured by the bad guys, and pitted against what appear to be two gladiators from ancient Rome. How did they get there? I don't know. Has the mad scientist baddy time traveled them here? I don't know. It's never explained. When he defeats both, Santo is forced to fight a guy wielding a flame thrower, and wearing a fire retardant suit. What's sort of ironic about the lack of a real match in this film, is that Santo spends the entire run time in his wrestling attire. Gone are the tacky sweaters and turtlenecks, and back is the sparkly cape and wrestling tights. 

Santo fights a flame thrower.

       After defeating these opponents, Santo comes face to face with the titular other worldly killer. It's a breathless scene, as Santo, visibly panic stricken by the onslaught of this rubbery space amoeba, tries to flee. I've never seen him move faster in the previous 34 movies. This is a guy who jumps head long into combat with zombies, vampires, and werewolves. I guess the invincibility powers of his magic mask crap out against blob monsters. It's not long after this that the movie sort of falters, and my main gripe with it happens. Santo escapes the monsters, and advises the government to send the air force in to deal with it, and then its promptly forgotten about until the third act. No real mention of it is made again. It would've been interesting to see Santo help the military combat the monster. Instead the movie grinds to a halt while Santo searches for a missing scientist who might know how to deal with it. 

Look at those seams.

      Santo vs. the Killers from Other Worlds is a nice return to the monster movie form that made these movies famous in the 50s and 60s. It tries to be a marriage of the monster movie Santo films and the secret agent, political intrigue films that make up a lot of the lesser Santo flicks, and its not really successful. Still, it attempts something different, if not all that original, making it one of the better latter Santo movies thus far. 


Three Silver Masks out of a possible Five

Fun Fact: This is also known as Santo vs. The Living Atom.

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