Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – David Alvizu as ‘el Vampiro’, Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos (1970)

Your Daily Dracula – David Alvizu as ‘el Vampiro’, Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos (1970)

Even by the standards of Mexican films in which masked wrestlers fight classic monsters, Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos is singularly bizarre.  Like the film we’ve all agreed to call Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, it’s a movie whose star billing is worked into an unwieldy onscreen title in three separate cards: so, strictly, it should be called “Santo” El Enmascarado de Plata “Blue Demon” contra Los Monstruos.  It also acts as if it were a sequel to a film that, so far as I can determine, doesn’t exist.  Ranting mad scientist Bruno Halder (Carlos Ancira) holds a powerful grudge against heroic wrestlers Santo and Blue Demon, who thwarted some earlier scheme of his.  Halder is revived from the dead at the beginning of the film by his bowler-hatted hunchbacked dwarf sidekick Waldo (Rafael Aldrete ‘Santanon’) and four green-faced reanimated criminals who seem to be zombies on the model of Creature With the Atom Brain.  Besides his issues with the masked buddies, he’s also out for revenge against his brother Otto (Jorge Rado), father of Santo’s girlfriend Gloria (Hedy Blue).

Dr Halder already has several monsters on staff – a midget who looks like a living tiki doll with an exposed cauliflower brain stands about with nothing (it’s a leftover from La Nave de los Monstruos.  However, he sends Waldo and the goons out to collect some more muscle from graveyards, caves and a lagoon, so the gang includes a mummy (Fernando Rosales), el hombre lobo (greybeard Vicente Lara), goatee-sporting flatheaded Franquestain/Frankenstein (Manuel Leal) and a goonish cyclops (Gerardo Zepeda) who might be a last minute substitute since dialogue suggests he’s supposed to be a Black Lagoon type creature (the shaggy, gloweye monster outfit is another recycling from La nave de los monstruos).

El Vampiro (David Alvizu) wears a cloak-and-top-hat outfit rather like John Carradine’s Dracula but also has fangs, Spock ears and an unusually batlike demeanour – always leaping from high places and gliding at victims and making strange little bat squawks instead of having dialogue.  The vampire is the most independent of the monsters, in that he puts the bite on a couple of women (Elsa Maria Tako, Yolanda Ponce) who become filmy-gowned ‘mujeres vampiros’ – though only one of them gets to have an introductory top-of-the-hill pose in the opening credits.

As if this weren’t enough, the mad scientist also uses a pair of tanning bed devices as a human photocopier/clone-maker to create an evil duplicate of Blue Demon to lead the attack on Santo – unthinkably beating the hero and throwing him off a cliff (he survives).  The monsters have minor individual rampages – in an oddly gruesome scene, the Wolf Man slaughters the parents of a moppet (Raul Martinez Solares Jr) who doesn’t then become a major character even though he gets prominent billing (perhaps thanks to the fact that the film was directed by Raul Martinez Solares Sr).  The vampire becomes a masked wrestler and challenges Santo to a bout in the ring, though the match degenerates into a free-for-all thanks to lack of monster discipline.

It’s a choppy, makeshift monster rally – much less polished than the likes of Santo y Blue Demon contra la hija de Frankenstein or Santo y Blue Demon contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo – with the usual deadweight padding wrestling matches between demented creature hijinx.  At one point, to cheer themselves up, Santo and his gal and her father go to a cabaret where we get a couple of spliced-in musical numbers which look to come from a film made ten or fifteen years earlier.


One thought on “Your Daily Dracula – David Alvizu as ‘el Vampiro’, Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos (1970)

  1. This looks absolutely glorious and your eview is a joy. I hope someone will release some of these films on DVD, I have wanted to see them for decades. Perhaps they are on youtube, but I enjoy attaching a sense of occasion to extraordinary delights as this. Does Santo ever appear in his ‘street clothes’? Does he have an everyday alter-ego identity? How wonderful if not. Everyone just knows him as Santo, he’s out watering plants or cleaning the car in his mask. At present, I’ve gone cool on the affectionate pastiche/cultural plunder vibe – not rulign it out entirely, just giving the originals breathing space as it were – but it seems a gift to draw inspo from the Mexwrestler genus, cross fertilise with Algis Budrys’ ‘Who?’, and come up with a detective serial about Ironmask Jack, or similar, a man sealed inside a silver mask, but conducts business as a sleuth, either in a consulting capacity or in the employ of the police. He has amnesia, so his true identity is in question – concurrent with his weekly escapades, he is trying to piece together the mystery of himslef. ‘Who Is TV’s Mystery Man?’ – the show’s aesthetic is Noir meets a sparingly bright palette culled from the colour episodes of Saint, Avengers. Would you pass this on to Lew Grade, please?

    Posted by wmsagittarius | December 3, 2021, 7:40 pm

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