Las momias de Guanajuato [The Mummies of Guanajuato]

(Películas Latinoamericanas, 1970) Prod: Rogelio Agrasánchez; Dir: Federico Curiel; Adapt: Rafael García Travesí ;Story: Rogelio Agrasánchez; Photo: Enrique Wallace; Music: Gustavo César Carrión; Prod Mgr: Luis Quintanilla Rico; Asst Dir: Manuel Muñoz; Film Ed: José W. Bustos; Art Dir: Jorge Rodríguez Ruelas; Camera Op: Urbano Vázquez; Makeup: Carmen Palomino; Sound: José B. Carles, Enrique Rodríguez; Union: STPC

CAST: Blue Demon (himself), Mil Máscaras (himself), Santo (himself), Elsa Cárdenas (Lina), Juan Gallardo (police inspector), Jorge Pingüino (Pingüino), Julio César [Agrasánchez] (Julito), Carlos Suárez (Sr. González), Mabel Luna, Yolanda Ponce, Patricia Ferrer (Alicia), Martha Angélica (singer, Martha Angélica), David Lama, Carlos León (assistant to inspector), Victorio Blanco (old drunk), "Pícoro" (ring announcer), Federico Curiel (arena night watchman)

Mexico City release: February 1972; 9 week run (longest Mexico City run of any Santo movie); Authorization: A

Spanish release data (title: Santo vs. las momias): Authorization date: 28 August 1972; Total spectators: 193,571.

NOTES: Although this film was very popular and spawned a fair number of sequels and imitations, it shouldn't really be considered any sort of classic. Although it has some things I ask for--for example, the wrestlers are given personalities (after a fashion)--and the script tosses in a couple of surprises (the death of Patricia Ferrer's character, for instance) and what could possibly be construed as in-jokes (Blue Demon doesn't want to call Santo in on the case), the picture's overall impact is harmed by clumsy action scenes, and a simplistic plot that is also fairly illogical and has some real continuity problems. A couple of other general comments: much of the film was shot in Guanajuato, so there is some "local color" (including blatant plugs for a particular hotel) which in theory is nice (but in actuality there isn't much on the screen that distiguishes Guanajuato from Mexico City or Guatemala--where future "momias" pictures were made--for that matter). Gustavo César Carrión was in his "organ" mode when he scored this film: the theme in particular is a jaunty little tune that is hardly appropriate for a horror movie.

Tour guide Pingüino shows a group of tourists the "mummies" that Guanajuato is famous for. A special group of mummies is in a separate room: their faces are decayed but their bodies are still robust. Pingüino says the biggest mummy was a wrestler nicknamed "Satán," who lost a championship match to Santo one hundred years earlier. He made a deal with the devil to return to life and challenge the silver-masked wrestler (the descendant of the man who beat him)...and that 100 years is up now! After the tourists leave, Pingüino thinks he sees Satán's hand move, and he faints, dreaming that the mummies (in fisheye closeups and wild zooms) come to life. But when he is awakened by the night watchman of the cemetary, the mummies are still on their pedestals.

Pingüino goes to a local nightclub, where he tells his friends Lina (apparently a singer although we don't see her perform during the film) and Alicia (the cigarette girl) about his experience. They don't believe him, but when they visit the cemetary, the mummy Satán is gone! The trio goes to see Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras (who have a tag team match with "Los Jipis"): Lina is Mil's girlfriend. The wrestlers are dubious but Mil agrees to go with Pingüino to look. Meanwhile, Blue Demon is knocked out by Satán, who then enters the (now empty) arena and remembers (or fantasizes) a match with Santo (Satán doesn't have his mummy-face, but is instead wearing a red mask). He kills the arena watchman (director Curiel in a cameo) and leaves, killing an old man in the park. Two young people witness this, but the police don't believe them.

Later, Satán murders Pingüino in his bed. Mil Máscaras suggests that they call Santo, but Blue Demon demurs, saying that's what the killer wants (in light of Blue's real-life rivalry with Santo, this scene takes on an added humorous edge). Suddenly, Alicia (who was Pingüino's neighbor), Blue Demon, and Mil Máscaras are attacked by three mummies (where these other mummies come from is never explained: Satán is the one who made the pact with the devil). Unable to defeat their undead opponents, the wrestlers flee (Alicia also disappears, but they don't worry about her too much and with good reason, since she mysteriously appears at Mil's house in the next scene).

Alicia, Lina, and Julito--Blue Demon's adopted son--are all staying at Mil Máscara's house for safety. Blue Demon does into another room and is promptly knocked out by Satán, who then steals the wrestler's mask. And his boots. And his pants! Satán turns the costume over to another mummy, and says "You will take Blue Demon's place."

The police inspector in charge of the case suspects that the murders are being committed by a crazy wrestler: "Sometimes they get hit with blows that could be fatal. Many times they lose their minds." They get a note telling them where they can find the killer that night: when they arrive, they see (the fake) Blue Demon killing a man. He kills a policeman too, then escapes. An all-points bulletin goes out for Blue Demon, the murderer.

Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras decide to go the cemetary and have a showdown with the mummies (although since they haven't been able to even hurt them before, what they expect to accomplish isn't clear). Julito stows away in their trunk, but when they stop to investigate a suspicious shadow in an alley, the boy is kidnaped by one of the mummies. Back at Mil's house, Alicia is killed and Lina kidnaped by the crusty villains. The mummies are so fast, they manage to get Julito and Lina to the cemetary before Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras arrive by car. The two wrestlers are captured and thrown into a room with their friends.

Meanwhile, Santo and his manager González decide to stop for the night in Guanajuato. As they enter the city, they are attacked several times by the mummies, who apparently have left the cemetary and are wandering around terrorizing the populace. After a futile battle, Santo and González hop back in his car and drive off (leaving the police and citizens of Guanajuato to do the best they can). But once again, the mummies are pretty fast, because they are all back in the cemetary by the time Santo pulls up in his sports car (maybe they know a shortcut).

Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras fight the mummies with little success, until Mil retrieves three flamethrower-pistols from Santo's car. These work pretty well, burning up the mummies. Lina--Mil Máscara's girlfriend, remember--says "we would have avoided a lot of problems if you'd called Santo [in the first place]!" Santo tells her: "Consider it a horrible nightmare. The good thing is that we're all safe." (except for Alicia and Pingüino and all of the other people murdered by the mummies)

As the film ends, Lina and Mil Máscaras (in his green dune buggy), González and Santo (in his gold sports car), and Julito and Blue Demon (in his green MG) drive away.

The picture is at least fairly short and not dull (except for the two musical numbers, a song by Martha Angélica and a musical number performed by a student group wearing medieval costumes and strumming mandolins), but it could have been a lot better.

Review by on 15 Jan 98

Last update: 30 April 2000.

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