Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Chabelo y Pepito contra los Monstruos (1973)

My notes on Chabelo y Pepito contra los Monstruos (1973)

The comedians vs monsters format of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was popular around the world – leading to unauthorised remakes, rip-offs and variations from various territories.  This is one of several Mexican efforts, in which comics whose acts are unlikely to find much favour outside their home territory tangle with the classic Universal/Aurora hobby kit pantheon.  Pepito (Martin Ramos) is the sort of brat who sets up a bucket of water to tip on his sister (Silvia Pasquel) when she opens a door and Chabello (Javier Lopez) is his cousin – a full-grown adult playing a kid in short trousers, with a squeaky voice guaranteed to get on audience nerves and a running joke about being hungry.

While on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts – the credits boast that the Boy Scouts of Mexico co-operated with the film – the duo sneak off from the pack and get mixed up with an escaped gorilla, who keeps snatching bananas off the greediguts Pepito.  They follow the ape into some caverns familiar from other Mexican monster movies and, in rapid succession, run into the Mummy, the Creature From the Black Lagoon and the Frankenstein Monster.  Dracula and the Wolf Man turn up later, in an old mansion and an underground superspy lair, complete with snakepit and spiked walls – but (spoiler) los monstruos are robots manufactured by a secret society called Spectrum (no relation to Captain Scarlet’s outfit) at the behest of a giant disembodied brain in order to cover up a uranium smuggling enterprise.  Spectrum goons are stocky middle-aged guys in body-stockings and welders’ masks.

The monsters mostly wear the sort of masks that were advertised in the back section of Famous Monsters of Filmland (a Mr Hyde lookalike is tossed in with the pack).  The non-speaking stuntmen in the Halloween costumes stagger enthusiastically, especially the Gill Man – who is given fangs and bloodily bites into the gorilla’s neck vampire style.  The peculiarly unlikeable leads do comedy scared and comedy hungry acting, and run about making a nuisance of themselves.  Written by Toni Sbert and directed by José Estrada, who reteamed for Chabelo y Pepito Detectives (1974).


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