Santo en la Venganza de la Momia
Santo en la Venganza de la Momia 1971
This is the third Santo movie that I’ve watched and the second one that I’m reviewing for Hispanic Heritage Month. They have been an interesting series of movies to showcase a popular Mexican luchador who transitioned to comics before starring in movies all while being popular for several decades. They all follow the same basic premise: Santo has a wrestling match and then he gets involved in some sort of mystery involving something supernatural. This one has a unique distinction of being more like Scooby Doo because of the ending, but it still follows the same overall structure. There’s more comic relief and a little bit of heart added to the narrative, but overall it was just more of the same.
The momia or mummy in question isn’t the typical Egyptian mummy, but instead a mummy from an ancient South American tribe and a prince with a tragic backstory told all in flashback. Santo was invited to go along with a scientific expedition because of course he was. The actual look of the mummy was one of the best things about this film as the face is quite desiccated and horrific looking although the rest of the costume amounts to basically a burlap sack. There’s also an odd moment early on after they get to the jungle where Santo is randomly attacked by a jungle cat and it literally looks like they just threw a small panther or other similar medium sized wild cat at him. The antics surrounding the mummy were more on the slow side as the mummy would stalk and kill random members of the scientific expedition, usually with a bow and arrow, sometimes while they are sleeping.
The members of the expedition were a mixed bunch, the stand out was Professor Jiminez. He was the perennial comic relief as an absentminded/nearsighted idiot. There were a couple good punny gags as he checked out a fruit stand, grabbed a couple and started walking away. The vendor said that they were 80 cents, he put them back but said he thought they were fruit. The rest of his jokes were just him mistaking something for something else in a supposedly funny way. There was also the photographer Susana who eventually became the love interest of Santo which was ultimately just a couple scenes towards the end. Besides the scientific group, they also hire a local guide and his grandson. He’s reluctant because of the curse, but they offer his grandson free education and he accepts. The grandfather is the typical doomsayer and also the first to die while the grandson is Santo’s actual son who later goes on to become a wrestler/actor in his own right. There’s a nice fatherly moment between the kid and Santo but otherwise he’s just the general rambunctious little kid.
The mystery surrounding the whole mummy incident escalated in a fairly standard horror movie way. People get killed off one by one which ends up trapping the encampment as they destroy the radio, release the horses, destroy the supplies, etc. The ending was actually surprising considering how most of the other Santo movies involve actual supernatural beings while this one ends with a Scooby Doo-esque pull off the mask to reveal that the mummy was actually the head of the local help the entire time. Apparently vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein monsters are real but mummies are just a work of fiction.
As with the other Santo movies, there is time spent with completely extraneous wrestling matches to kick off and end the movie. Unlike the previously reviewed movie with Dracula and Wolfman, these matches were actually filmed with a live audience rather just crowd noises and a colored backdrop. They even made a very loose connection to the main story as Susana and the kid show up in the audience of the final wrestling match. Comparing the actual matches, they were actually quite entertaining compared to the previous two films reviewed on this site. They were dynamic and fast paced although the audience cutaways felt disconnected from the actual match despite being able to see people in the background of the wide shots. Overall, it had some fun moments, but the mystery was slow paced, the comic relief wasn’t connecting, and the non-wrestling fights were underwhelming. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.