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Home | Film Reviews | Bad Movies | Film Review: Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters (1970)

Film Review: Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters (1970)

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SYNOPSIS:

To foil his plan for world domination, wrestling superheroes El Santo and Blue Demon battle the mad Dr. Halder and his army of reanimated monsters.

REVIEW:

Santo y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos, a.k.a. Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters, is the story of two luchador wrestlers who fight evil when they’re not performing in the ring. The mad scientist Dr. Halder has returned from the dead, thanks to the power of his twisted science, and is looking to get revenge on those who opposed him. He manages to capture one of the heroes, Blue Demon, and make an evil clone of him to lead a group of monsters to attack the mad jerk’s enemies. It’s up to Santo to protect the madman’s brother and niece, fight the monsters, and try to save his friend.

In the 1960s the Mexican movie industry started cranking out all kinds of films starring Lucha Libre wrestlers. The wrestlers were usually portrayed as almost superheroes who use they’re in ring skills to fight evil. A lot of these flicks got pumped out, with the ones centering on El Santo and his best friend/sidekick, Blue Demon, being particularly popular. El Santo himself was one of the most popular professional wrestlers in Mexican history. Comic books about him, as well as his movies, bolstered his fame even further. I know of at least 6 films he starred in, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at least one air on Commander USA’s Groovie Movies back in the 1980s. Just because there were so many doesn’t mean that any of them were any good. After all, if they were, I wouldn’t be reviewing one.

Santo y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos is filled with all kinds of mistakes that makes one wonder how much filmmaking experience the people behind the camera had before making this flick. The director showed very little flair for using camera angles effectively or how to properly use lighting. He was barely good at just keeping the camera trained on the right spot. Whoever edited this film either had severe vision problems or was just incompetent, because some of the shots had little continuity with each other. In a single car chase, for example, you could see it switch to being bright daylight to night to daylight again even though said chase supposedly only lasted a few minutes. That’s either some pretty crappy editing or someone in the movie started to mess with the space-time continuum. The overall sound was inconsistent as well. Sometimes the film sounded okay, other times there was something off or slightly muffled. There were also some issues with plot holes and moments where it was obvious that the director was padding for time.

Working with what I have to assume was a shoestring budget, the movie had pretty shoddy production values for the most part. They obviously had to cut corners, and it’s never more blatant than when the monsters are on screen. These are some of the cheapest and shoddiest makeup and costume jobs I’ve ever seen. Instead of looking frightening, some of these creatures looked quaint while some looked downright laughable. It was also hard to take them seriously when they all seemed to just kind of mill around during the action scenes while waiting for their turn to attack Santo. Apparently, the monsters were too dumb to realize that maybe attacking him more than one or two at a time would perhaps net better results.

On another note, I dare anyone not to laugh when the “vampire” cavorts around while holding his cape out like he’s mimicking a bat. I dare you! I don’t think it’s scientifically possible.

Speaking of science, why is it a creature like the so-called vampire, which was made by science instead of some kind of supernatural curse, still suffer the same weaknesses as a regular vampire? Am I missing something here? Honestly, I’m not sure I really want an answer at this point. I’d probably end up wanting to punch someone who tried to justify something that dumb.

I also love how trite the main villain was. It was like he had a guideline on how to be a classic mad scientist and followed it to the letter. He’s obsessed with his experiments, thinks the whole world needs to be punished for not seeing his “genius”, wants revenge on anyone that opposed him, and is played by someone who seems to believe that there’s no acting like overacting. He even has a hunchbacked lab assistant. Of course, he had to try to one-up his contemporaries in the file of mad science by having a hunchbacked assistant that suffered from dwarfism. He’s a real rebel, that one.

Santo, himself, didn’t exactly instill much confidence in me. He seemed to just roll around and get his ass kicked for most of the movie. Granted, he is outnumbered during most of the fights, so maybe I should be impressed that he survived at all. However, when most of his fighting technique outside the ring is kind of punching at his foes and rolling around, I find that I’m surprised he could win a fight at all much less face superhuman science experiments.

Side note: I understand it’s a tradition that the luchador never takes off his mask. Doesn’t make it less funny to see a man in a business suit wearing his wrestling mask, though.

You may get the impression that I hated the movie. I should have, but it manages to be enjoyable because it’s unintentionally funny. It’s just so silly, and its flaws so obvious, that it was hard not to laugh at this flick. I believe the movie was meant for a younger audience, so I can appreciate it on that level as well. Considering what I suspect the target demographic for the film was, I don’t think this was a film designed to be taken seriously anyways. It’s at least good for a chuckle, and I think we could all use that from time to time.

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