Friday, February 24, 2012

Week 48: Santo en la frontera del terror (Santo at the Border of Terror, 1979)

     So here we are at week 48. These movies continue to be pretty terrible at this point, showing Santo well past his prime. In yet another recycled plot line, Santo finds himself entangled in the machinations of another mad scientist, who is harvesting human organs for the black market, or for dubious experiments, or both, who cares. 

Old ass Santo! 

     The unique spin put on things this time is that its an American scientist, preying on illegal Mexican immigrants. The film starts out with two hombres, Fernando & Gerardo, trying in vain to cross the U.S. border. After being unsuccessful, they go to a bar where Gerardo belts out a musical number. Then they go to another bar, where Fernando's fiance belts out another musical number. Two musical numbers in less than ten minutes. Thanks movie! It turns out that Fernando's fiance needs to get her kid sister an operation to fix her deteriorating eye sight. This is why Fernando is so eager to jump the border. He just can't make that bread for his squeeze's surgical needs here in their dumpy barrio town.

"Is that a south American coup in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

    For no reason at all, Fernando and his friends are jumped by would be robbers. For equally vague and random reasons, Santo happens to be driving by, and stops to come to their aid. After chasing their attackers away, Santo decides to become their new best friend and benefactor, and agrees to pay for the little girl's surgery out of his own pocket. Fernando and Gerardo hop the border into the states anyway. Smart. 

"why don't we have shirts on again?"

Puma Man star Miguel Angel Fuentes

      It's here that Fernando and Gerardo quickly encounter the mad scientist who has designs on their livers and other vital organs. His enforcer is Monk, a hulking beast of a man played by Miguel Angel Fuentes, he of the Puma Man fame (if you an MST3K fan, you know what I'm talking about). Fernando and Gerardo are locked up inside a barn, where they wait in terror until Santo comes to free them. 

Looks like Santo's got himself in another pickle!

     Most of the movie makes it painfully obvious that Santo just wasn't up to snuff at this point in his career, and likely was mostly bored with this kinda crap. He has two wrestling matches early on in the film, and you can tell they've sped the footage up ever so slightly, so as not to show just how much Santo has slowed down with age, since he was in his 60s at this point. Even in some of the choreographed fight scenes, he doesn't really do much, and is mostly reduced to the sidekick character he played in his earlier films. Much hay is also made of the little girl's lack of sight, but no one seems to point out her irritatingly high, squeaky voice, which is just grating to listen to. This being the late 70s, there's also the introduction of a synth score that's so terrible, it made me long for the stock library music of the 60s films.


One Silver Mask out of a possible Five

Fun Fact: Gerardo is actually played by Mexican singing star Gerardo Reyes.

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