Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Santo Versus the Vampire Women, Wrestler Saves Senorita

No one embodies the ethos of Mexico like Santo. This masked and caped wrestler oozes goodwill and justice from south of the border like no other. While capturing the hearts of his people, Santo saves his republic from all sorts of criminals and the undead. Always in costume and racing around in a sporty convertible, Santos fights oppressors and fanged menaces like no other. All hail Santo! Today we look at 1962's "Santo Versus the Vampire Women."
Tundra (Ofelia Montesco), vampire priestess, resurrects a lot of vampire babes and Zorina (Lorena Velazquez) Queen of the Vampires. This is key because ancient prophecy dictates that Zorina will give up her throne to 21 year old Diana (Maria Duval). Now Diana is totally ignorant to all of this, but her dad, the professor (AugustoBenedico) is not. Meanwhile, the vampire babes attack nubile young senoritas and drink their blood. Now Zorina sets her sights on Diana's abduction. Fearing this, the professor summons Santo (Santo) to protect Diana. Oh yes, that same ancient prophecy dictates that a masked and caped wrestler will be hired to protect Diana...really, I'm not kidding.  Santo is busy though and we see an elongated wrestling match in which he grunts a lot. While Santo wrestles, the vampire babes look like the proverbial Keystone Cops in their efforts to abduct their future queen.
As the vampire babes move on Diana, Santo is able to ward them off. Not to be deterred, Tundra comes up with a genius plan. She will replace Santo's masked opponent with a vampire. This won't go well for the vampire as Santo is Santo...and no one beats Santo. Though not the smartest vampires on the planet, the babes are able to make a move on Diana which will necessitate Santo bringing his fight to their lair. The last five minutes of this film are classic and show the world the passion of Mexico and its peoples.
Just why does Santo wear a mask and cape? Were Haystack Calhoun or Chief Jay Stronbow any match for Santo? Are Santo's brawn combined with the incompetence of the vampire women a metaphor for Mexico's patriarchal history and disrespect for its senoritas? But wait! We must give Mexican filmmakers credit as they have made films in which female wrestlers fight evil and save our favorite south of the border  republic (see my review of  Batwoman ).  For some frivolous but cultural fun from Mexico, see "Santo Versus the Vampire Women" directed by Alfonso Corona Blake.

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