Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Santo in the Wax Museum [Santo en el Museo de Cera] (1963)

I've never been one to seek out a Mexican masked wrestler movie, but the local access channel was playing one the other night and I literally couldn't find anything better to watch.

I mean, a movie about a professional wrestler who wears his mask *all* the time? Who drives his sports car around solving mysteries, a la Scooby-Doo? Yeesh. But it was either this or The Ronco Inside-The-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler infomercial.

Here's the thing, though. I kind of liked it.

Probably not in the way it's creators had planned, but nonetheless, I did like it. I thought it was gentle and sweet. I thought el Santo had a big heart. In the words of Santo's scientist-friend, he is "a strange man and a good one".

So the gist of the story was this:
Seems a fellow in town makes wax figures of famous (and infamous) people, and displays them in his little wax museum. He keeps the famous ones upstairs and the infamous ones downstairs in what he, being a king of originality, calls "the chamber of horrors".

Well, there's been a few townsfolk who've disappeared after visiting the wax museum of late. This draws the attentions of a girl (senorita)-reporter, who comes to the museum (late at night, after it's closed) to meet the owner and take some pictures. Owner starts going on and on about the evil hearts of men and then leeringly invites girl-reporter in to see his "lab".

She wisely declines, but then gets nabbed by "persons unknown" on her way home. Her worried finance (also a reporter) does some checking around and pretty quick the police are involved. Museum owner cries "frame!" and begs Santo's scientist-friend to get Santo on the case.

This is easy to do because scientist has a TV screen that will instantly tune in to Santo--where ever he is, whatever he's doing. (Hello! No wonder he never takes off his mask. Or his tights.) Santo is busy in the ring (which we get to watch... and watch), but afterward, he's happy to take the case and starts looking for clues.

Along the way, we get to see Santo fight various villains, in and out of the ring. We get to see living-wax-statue-monsters, mad disfigured scientists, damsels dunked in boiling wax, and all sorts of other fun-tastic things. And even though Santo seems to get beat up a lot (by other wrestlers and regular guys, too), good does eventually prevail.

But before good prevails, we learn where Santo's priorities really lie. This, when his scientist buddy is kidnapped and Santo is asked if he's going to look for him. He checks his watch and says no, he's wanted at the stadium for a wrestling match. (Hell-ooo-ooo....)

Anyway, all said it was a pleasantly spent hour and a half. And, should I have a hankering for more of the Mexican Masked Marvel, el Santo has 51 more movies I can enjoy.


a few screenshots to whet your... well, whatever

and a trailer (in spanish)

final (the end)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kiss of the Tarantula (1976)

Okay. Here's what I have to say about this movie.

First off, it was not more than a two brain movie (and I'm feeling generous here). But here's the thing. After stubbornly sitting through the first 75 minutes (the two brain part), I was suddenly slapped in the face with a FOUR BRAIN climax!

(i know!)

So I had to bump the thing up to an overall THREE, 'cause it had one of the BEST evil-son-of-a-gun-gets-his-in-the-end endings I remember seeing. I mean--looking past the lame acting and poor production values etc, it was very satisfying. I think I may have even giggled with glee while watching said son-of-a-gun-get-his.

Now the lame thing is, I can't TELL you about the cool ending, 'cause what if you decide to give it a rent or something? Pssshh. Like that's gonna happen.

Anyway, the story goes like this: Little girl who is weird--most likely because her dad is a mortician and her mom is an evil cheating witch--looooves spiders. Tarantulas are her favorites. In fact, by the time she's in high school she has several dozen of the little crawlies in cages in her basement. She pets them and talks to them and lets them crawl across her naked belly while fantasizing about boys....

Now, the thing with a weird-spider-girl is, sooner or later, someone's gonna piss her off. And when that happens--look out. And it does happen. Mom pisses her off. And a bunch of high school kids piss her off. And her creepy pedophile uncle pisses her off.... So yeah.

weird spider girl

I'm guessing the reason this movie is called Kiss of the Tarantula, rather than Bite or Fangs of the Tarantula, is because all the tarantulas this girl keeps are those gentle, non-poisonous kind we see all over the Southwestern United States. (Not that I would touch even a gentle, non-poisonous one.) They don't actually bite or kill anyone in the movie. Rather, everyone the girl sics 'em on freaks out and more or less kills themselves out of fright/stupidity.

spider induced heart attack

Let's see... we have one spider-induced heart attack, one suffocation, one throat slit on broken glass, one crushed windpipe.... Now, these are what the people are doing to themselves, trying to get away from the reluctant, non-poisonous spiders. Hmm.

So. I was pleasantly surprised with the little film. I mean, the bulk of the movie is certainly watchable (if a little tiring) but definitely worth it for the payoff at the end. I watched. I enjoyed.