La venganza de las mujeres vampiro

[The Vengeance of the Vampire Women]

(Películas Latinoamericanas-Cinematográfica Flama, 1970) Prod: Lic. Jorge García Besne; Dir: Federico Curiel; Adapt/Dialog: Lic. Jorge García Besne, Fernando Osés; Story: Fernando Osés; Photo: José Ortiz Ramos; Music: Gustavo César Carrión; Prod Mgr: Reynaldo Puente Portillo; Prod Chief: Enrique Morfin; Asst Dir: Manuel Ortega; Film Ed: Juan José Marino; Decor: Alberto López; Camera Op: Felipe Mariscal; Lighting: Gabriel Castro; Makeup: Felisa Ladrón de Guevara; Sound Supv: James L. Fields; Dialog Rec: Eduardo Arjona; Sound Ed: Reynaldo Puente Portillo; Music/Re-rec: Galdino Samperio; Union: STPC; Eastmancolor

CAST: Santo (himself), Norma Lazareno (Paty), Gina Romand (Countess Mayra), Aldo Monti (Lt. Robles), Víctor Junco (Dr. Igor Brancov), Patricia Ferrer (go-go dancer), Alfonso Munguía (vampire), Yolanda Ponce, Federico Falcón (Pablo), Lucy Linares, Beto el Boticario (Sgt. Beto), Fernando Osés, Carlos Suárez (Carlos), Frankestein (Boris), El Rebelde Rojo (wrestling opponent), René Barrera (El Gitano), Aurelio Salinas (Marco?), Domingo Bazan (monster?), Carlos Bravo "Carl-Hillos" (reporter), Federico Curiel (coroner)

Mexico City release: December 1970; 3 week run; Authorization: A

Spanish release data: Authorization date: 29 July 1975; Rating: under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult; Total spectators: 140,380

NOTES: This is one of the upper echelon of Santo films, fairly well produced, with a good cast and solid direction by Federico Curiel, Mexico's most prolific director of vampire films. It isn't perfect: the inclusion of a mad scientist is fine, but the film goes off on an odd, brief tangent at the end when the scientist suddenly produces a monster, distracting everyone's attention from the vampire plot, which has heretofore been the focus of the picture.

Despite the title, La venganza de las mujeres vampiro is not a sequel to the famous Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro. To confuse matters even further, the vampire countess here is named "Mayra," which was the name of the character played by Lorena Velázquez in Atacan las brujas, also co-written by Fernando Osés. This Mayra does mention that the current Santo is the descendant of the man who destroyed her followers after they emigrated to Mexico, but this apparently occurred in the 19th century (although there is no flashback footage), not in 1962 (in Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro).

Víctor Junco is good as the scientist who revives the vampire countess for his own ends, but then finds that she has taken over his gang and is ordering him around to boot! Gina Romand is very attractive and imperious as Mayra; Monti and Lazareno are adequate in their rather stereotyped roles (argumentative lovers, one a police lieutenant and the other a nosy reporter). Robert Ramírez "Beto el Boticario" isn't really comic relief, playing a more or less straight assistant to Monti (he's also sans moustache, which makes him look a little different than usual). Patricia Ferrer is cute but her role is very small.

In a pre-credits sequence, vampire Mayra is staked while in her coffin (the opening titles are superimposed over a shot of the blood welling up from her chest!). As the credits roll, Dr. Brancov and his two assistants wend their way through a grotto in search of Mayra's crypt. This is a very nice sequence: Brancov uses a torch to burn his way through some stubborn spider webs, stomps on a rat (for real--no SPCA in Mexico), and finally has his henchmen carry Mayra's coffin back to the car. In the lab, Brancov exposes her dried-up corpse to his associates: she was a member of the nobility in Transylvania who finally took her vampire chores too seriously as was staked as a result. Her followers brought the coffin to Mexico, but they were later wiped out themselves. Now Brancov will revive Mayra with "fresh human blood."

This blood will be obtained from a go-go dancer at a smoky discoteque. Gitano and Marco, two more of Brancov's henchmen, hide in her dressing room, but the dancer comes in with her boyfriend, Pablo. As they start to make out on the couch, Brancov's thugs slug Pablo and choloroform the dancer. They decide to take Pablo along too: "His hot blood might come in handy."

Meanwhile, reporter Paty is taken to meet Santo by Lt. Robles, her boyfriend. Santo is lounging poolside, surrounded by attractive women in bikinis (he also has a cute maid who catches Sgt. Beto's eye). Paty asks Santo if the increase in crime can be blamed on a criminal class; no, Santo replies, "sometimes the most horrible crimes are committed by people of the upper levels of society."

A good example is Brancov, who has the go-go dancer strapped to a table next to Mayra's dessicated corpse. He yanks out the stake and beings transfusing blood from the nubile young women into the green-faced husk. Gradually (a dissolve reasonably well camouflaged by a cloud of smoke) Mayra resumes her attractive appearance and comes back to life (or comes back to un-death). She knows everything that has happened in her "absence," and vows revenge on Santo, whose ancestor wiped out her followers.

Santo is wrestling a black-masked opponent. Robles, Beto, and Paty are in the audience, rooting for Santo. Mayra, Brancov, and Carlos are also there, but they aren't Santo fans. Mayra gives Santo's opponent a mental command to kill, and Carlos does his bit by slipping the wrestler some brass knuckles. Mayra also tries to will Santo into losing, but after a very long and brutal match, Santo wins out. Later that night, he's asleep in bed (wearing his mask, of course). Mayra comes in and stabs him, but discovers that it's just a dummy. The real Santo is behind her, laughing. He grabs her and they struggle, but Mayra turns into a bat and flies away.

Mayra picks up a young man in the disco; they go back to his apartment and he's drained of blood. As the police (and Santo and Paty) examine the body, Paty says it would be romantic to "die in the arms of Count Dracula." Robles [played by Aldo Monti, a two-time Dracula himself] says don't even joke about it. [director Federico Curiel has a cameo role as the medical examiner in this scene] Later, the young man's corpse is reanimated in the morgue; he attacks the attendant, but Santo has been expecting something like this, and he's on hand to chase the new vampire out into the street. Brancov's gang is there, and a fight ensues. Robles and Beto arrive and join in; Beto is shot and wounded, and the crooks (and vampire) escape.

A very confusing and pointless sequence follows: Santo goes looking for Mayra in the grotto, and Paty follows. But she's being followed by Gitano, who kidnaps her and drives away. But then she knocks him out with her shoe and drives back to the grotto to get Santo. However, while she's looking for Santo, Gitano wakes up and drives away. Which leaves us right back where we started!

Mayra is starting to rebuild her vampire forces, including the go-go dancer, her boyfriend, the pickup from the disco, and some others. She sends them out to "recruit" new followers. Since the disco has turned out to be a fertile hunting ground, Mayra and the young male vampire go back. Robles and Beto are waiting; Paty, "disguised" in a long wig, head-band, and big sunglasses, is also there. The young vampire picks her up, Robles and Beto try to stop them, and they all wind up prisoners of Mayra. However, Paty calls Santo on a pocket radio he'd given her; she also stuffs it in the mouth of the vampire man when he tries to bite her, and flees, but is recaptured.

Santo arrives at the mansion where Paty was being held (it's Brancov's lab), and is caught and thrown into the cellar where Brancov keeps his monster. The "monster" is a muscular guy whose face isn't clearly seen while he's fighting Santo (but who, when he shows up later, looks normal except for a bandage on one cheek). Santo bursts into the lab where Robles and Beto are tied up. A fight ensues, Brancov's monster (who was briefly overcome by Santo) runs in and kills his creator but is fatally stabbed as he does so. A fire breaks out.

One of the henchmen tells Santo where Mayra's grotto is located. Paty is ready to be sacrified when Santo, Robles and Beto show up. Another fight! (Mayra's male vampires join in, but her female followers--wearing white negligees--merely wave their arms like they're flying and utter "bat" noises, contributing very little to the defense of their leader) Robles sets the vampires' coffins on fire, but Mayra turns into a bat and flies out. "Don't worry," Santo says, "she'll be back. It's almost dawn, and vampires have to be back in their coffins by then." Sure enough, Mayra has to return to the grotto, where Santo and the others are waiting. Santo stakes her, she screams, turns back into the green mummy, then crumbles into dust. Santo, Robles, Paty and Beto pick their way through the smoldering remains of the coffins and leave.

La venganza de las mujeres vampiro contains some atmospheric photography and makes good use of its limited sets (the disco looks a little small, but it's filled with smoke and flashing lights so it's not too noticeable; and the "hip" costumes of the customers are amusing). Although the script goes off on a few tangents and false leads, it isn't too bad and aside from Brancov's unclear motivation (he apparently wants some of Mayra's blood to inoculate his monster and make it immortal?), everything revolves around Mayra's attempts to kill Santo and reestablish her vampire empire.

A few additional notes-- First, the credits listed in Historia documental del cine mexicano, a usually highly accurate book, contain some major errors (Aldo Monti is credited as "the Prince of Darkness," a character who doesn't even appear in the film, and Federico Falcón is listed as a police lieutenant). In the same entry, García Riera cites a newspaper article which indicates that nude scenes were shot for foreign-release versions of this film (one might speculate that these included scenes of Patricia Ferrer and possibly Gina Romand, who in the Mexican version appears in a brief scene in bed with Alfonso Munguía). Also, Fernando Osés is credited but I cannot identify him in the copy of the film I have, unless he possibly plays the black-hooded wrestler (since I have a rather fuzzy dupe of the picture, perhaps I just can't see him!). Parts of Santo's wrestling match with the black-masked opponent from this movie also show up in Las bestias del terror and Santo en el misterio de la perla negra.

Not one of the very best Santo vehicles, but better than many.

Revised 19 January 2000.

Back to the Santo Filmography.