Halloween goes by too fast. What’s more, it just gets shoved out of the way by the unstoppable consumer-consuming machine known as Christmas. But thanks to latin culture, we have an excuse to hold on to skull-themed decor for a couple of days longer. It’s Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead!
This, in The Cinémasochist’s dungeon, means an extra two days of spooky movie viewing. The one condition is that it’s Mexi-horror or, even better, Lucha-Libre/Horror crossovers. The cheese is set for Nacho!
Oh. And it’s also a requirement to switch to Tequila and Cerveza as requisite liquid painkillers.
Have you got your viewing aids ready? Let’s break out our Pinata de la Pellicula: a double feature of films- just perfect for the occasion- starring Mexico’s greatest Licha Libre (“Freestyle wrestling”) movie star ever: El Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata (Santo the Silver Maskman).
The star of “en medio centenaro” (“half a hundred”= fifty) movies, El Santo (real name: Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta) actually turned down appearing in the first film serial based on the comic book of his (ficticious) exploits: El Enmascarado de Plata (1952). His role was played by El Medico Asesino (“The Killer Doctor”). It became a huge success so Santo decided to don his own mask onscreen. The rest, as they say, is hysterical.
In the course of his film career which spans over 3 decades, El Santo would fight all manner of menaces in accordance to the cinematic fashions of the time: If Bond films were the rage, santo would be a secret agent. If Hammer films were big, Santo would be applying strangle holds to vampires and werewolves. He also fought everything from mad stranglers to mummies to Nazis.
In the late 50s, distributor K. Gordon Murray acquired a multitude of Mexican films from Churubuscu-Azteca for stateside release. Murray’s specialty was kiddie-matinees. For the older kids, he packaged mexican horror films in double features under the banner “Young America Horror Club” to cash in on the boomer-brats’ ever growing appetite for monster fare.
Aware that El Santo was not a household name in America- and no doubt cashing in on the popularity of Italy’s muscle-men exports- Murray re-baptized Santo in Samson. (Sharp eared viewers will still notice the crowd chanting “Santo! Santo! Santo!” as “Samson” is introduced to the ring).
Our first feature is Samson vs The Vampire Women. Never mind the synopsis, the title should be enough.
For our intermission, we have a special coming attraction: Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters. Just remember to pick up your jaw after viewing this clip.
And we continue with today’s second feature: Samson in the Wax Museum (No doubt cashing in on the success of The House of Wax).
Pain Level: 5/10
Quality of Pain: Not so bad at first but the cumulative effect of two movies packs a potent punch. Do not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery after watching this.
Painjoyment™ Index: Very high.
Bonus: This clip from YouTube shows Rudy Guzman in a 1958 film without the mask!
Extra Bonus: This picture!