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)

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