La momia azteca (1957) Review
Synopsis: A doctor discovers his fiancee is the reincarnation of an Aztec maiden put to death for loving an Aztec warrior.
Also known as: The Aztec Mummy
La momia azteca is the first in a set of three movies revolving around Popoca the Aztec mummy, all filmed concurrently. (The other two being La maldición de la momia azteca and La momia azteca contra el roboto humano.) All three have been recut and re-released at various times under various names – if you can find the original Spanish with subtitles, that’s the way to go.
Like the other two movies in the series, La momia azteca is a decent if campy monster flick. It’s a relatively strong start to an often shaky trilogy and does a good job of introducing the oddball cast of characters. It feels a little like a lucha libre movie, a little like an Abbott and Costello monster movie.
Dr. Almada (Ramón Gay) is determined to prove his theory that hypnosis can be used to retrieve the details of past lives. After being poopooed by his science club, he tests the theory out on his girlfriend Flor (Rosita Arenas), who in a past life was an Aztec named Xochitl, sacrificed to the gods for loving a man named Popoca. Eager to support Flor’s story, he goes looking for Xochitl’s tomb despite Flor’s dire warnings of a curse. Unbeknownst to him, he is pursued by El Murcielago, a notorious crime lord with designs of his own.
Almada has a full house; he lives with his kid brother, his young daughter, and his… Pinacate (Crox Alvarado). They are attended by servant Jose and frequently visited by Flor and her father Dr. Sepúlveda. Almada treats Pinacate terribly, forcing him to go on dangerous missions with him and the professor; his kid brother frequently ignores admonitions to stay home and comes too. When they explore the tomb, they discover that not only might they have found a clue to the location of the Aztec treature, but also awakened the cursed Popoca, now a vengeful mummy. Oh, and the crime lord plans to use this quest to steal some sexy mummy loot.
The problem with La momia azteca is its length; even with only a 90-minute run time, it’s too long. A good fifteen minutes could easily have been cut and the movie would have only been better for it. Outdoor shots are repetitive and overdone, especially those of Tenochtitlan. One scene featuring a hypnosis involves Dr. Almada actually counting down from 20.
But the lively characters and sense of adventure that pervades the movie are in good fun. It’s campy tone combined with bad mummy makeup and obviously fake rocks makes for entertaining viewing. It’s a solid start to the series, and likely comprehensible even to non-Spanish speakers.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B-