Santo vs la Hija de Frankestein
Santo vs la Hija de Frankestein 1972
I’m still going through the four different Santo movies that I’ve found at my local library to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I’ve actually been quite surprised by the variations of the three titles I’ve watched so far despite the fact that I’m jumping around in chronology. Not that it matters as each movie is completely disconnected from the next as far as I can tell. There may be a connection to this one and the last Santo movie I have with him and Blue Demon vs Doctor Frankenstein, but I suppose I’ll have to wait to find out. This one was actually the most enjoyable of these movies so far with an interesting cast of villains and a nice little twist on the wrestling matches.
One of the most fascinating things about this movie is how female forward it is. The main villain of the movie is Frankenstein’s daughter. Although the movie is titled Frankestein, the subtitles all say Frankenstein and it’s clearly supposed to be the Mary Shelley version of Frankenstein as there’s a corpse monster later on in the movie. Anyway, she is a beautiful woman, but she never uses her feminine wiles on anyone. Instead she’s a scientist and a ruthless villain, keeping her minions in line by controlling their supply of youth serum. Santo also has a couple female companions: his girlfriend Norma and her sister Elsa. Both of them are captured by the villains multiple times, but they never rely on Santo to free them. Instead they both are able to escape through their own means and assist Santo whenever possible.
The actual story is also a nice twist on the Frankenstein tale, while there is a corpse monster at one point, there’s also another experiment where Dr. Frankenstein transfuses the blood of a gorilla into a man to turn him into a beastlike creature. She also practices hypnotism which she initially uses to control her mindless creations, but she also uses it on Norma at one point. On top of everything else, she and several of her minions are well over 100 years old, kept alive by her youth serum which is losing effectiveness through her growing tolerance of it. The age effects aren’t anything special, the actors look as if they were just covered by wet toilet tissue to create a wrinkled skin effect. But the way she uses the control of the serum, and not only withholds it from one of her minions, but basically calls a meeting so that everyone can witness what happens if you cross her.
The rest of the plot was fairly paint by numbers, but it worked well enough. There was a Chekov’s self destruct switch which was mentioned two or three times before actually being used. This was the first instance as seen on this site where Santo was actually unmasked by the villain at one point. It was interesting that while Dr. Frankenstein was able to see his apparently handsome face, the camera stayed behind Santo so that his face wasn’t actually revealed on screen before he was able to put his mask back on shortly afterwards. The film also had a brief mention that his girlfriend obviously has seen his face, but he only takes his mask off when they are alone together. It was an interesting wrinkle to the Santo mythology that’s been spread across all of these movies.
As with all of the other Santo movies, this begins and ends with a wrestling match, but this movie actually had a couple differences to help mix things up and keep it all interesting. This film didn’t have a dry start with the match, instead it had a brief cold open with Frankenstein. And while this match was filmed with a live audience in the background, instead of cutaways to the audience, there were cutaways to Santo’s girlfriend watching the match at home on television. Not only that, but there was just a brief touch of story to the matches themselves as the first match was the semifinals to the middleweight championship that took place at the end of the movie where Santo obviously won the belt. All in all, it was one of the most fun out of the four Santo movies reviewed here and there’s enough differences that they haven’t gotten overwhelmingly repetitive just yet. Though I do think I’ll be glad to take a break after the next one. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.