Santo vs. la hija de Frankenstein (1972) Review
|Synopsis: A mad female scientist needs Santo’s blood for a youth serum – and she has Frankenstein’s reliable old monster to help her get it.|
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Note: Only a handful of the Santo movies were ever dubbed into English. You’re unlikely to even find English subtitles on any of the lucha libre movies. It won’t be easy to find versions to watch unless you speak Spanish.
Santo vs. la hija de Frankenstein is the first lucha libre movie I’ve seen in its entirety. It stars masked Mexican wrestler El Santo doing his usual civic duty fighting against B-movie villains – in this case, Frankenstein’s daughter Freda and a host of her minions and creations.
As fun as the concept is, the execution is very lacking. While Dr. Freda’s lair and various monsters are delightfully cheesy (more reminiscent of an MST3K episode than a proper movie), the Santo parts of the storyline tend to be slow, serious, and far less action-filled than they ought to be. I had been expecting something more along the lines of an old Adam West Batman episode, so maybe my hopes were too high, but I found Santo to be very lacking in charisma for such a star.
Another issue is that the movie is also very cyclical – Santo’s girlfriend and her sister are in peril; Santo saves them; Santo is in peril; Santo gets free; the girls are in peril again. Having a proper arc of rising action and falling action would have done wonders for the movie.
By far the best thing about this lucha libre flick (other than the sets for Freda’s lair) is Santo’s frequent role as a “damsel” in distress. Like classic horror females, he is shirtless at every opportunity – usually while glistening – and is frequently chained up in compromising positions while women threaten him. It’s a fun reversal of roles, especially since Santo is also the badass avenging protagonist of the movie.
I’ll continue to try lucha libre movies, but this one didn’t give me much hope for the subgenre. Still, if you’re in the mood for something thoroughly ridiculous, you might find this a fun option.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C-
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