Saturday, November 8, 2008

Luchadoras contra la momia, Las (1964)

...aka: Rock N' Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy
...aka: Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy

Directed by:
René Cardona

The first sequel to DOCTOR OF DOOM (1962) is slightly more elaborate, but also slightly less enjoyable. The Black Dragons gang (led by Prince Fujiyata; a Fu Manchu rip-off with hypnotic powers, surveillance equipment, a serum that makes victims do his bidding and two fighting sisters who use martial arts) is busy at work kidnapping, torturing and killing archaeologists who know the whereabouts of a priceless scripture called the "Aztec Kodex." There's a valuable hidden treasure at stake for whoever has it, but it's guarded by a moaning, centuries old vampire-mummy who is scared of fire and can turn into a bat (and is played by Gerardo Zepeda, who was the Aztec Ape in the previous entry). Lorena Velázquez (for some reason playing Loreta Venus here instead of Gloria Venus) and Elizabeth Campbell (The Golden Rubi) return as the courageous lady wrestlers who fight battles in and out of the ring. A hysterical doctor hiding in their dressing room lets on to what is happening before being killed with a dart gun by assassin Mao (Jesús Murcielago Velázquez), so the two ladies, plus their detective boyfriends Mike (Armando Silvestre) and Tommy (Chucho Salinas) decide to help protect Dr. Louis Tracy (Víctor Velázquez); the last living person who knows where the inscription is. But Dr. Tracy takes off in fear of his life. Before fleeing, he split the artifact into three pieces and drops hints via a delivery man from time to time so our heroes can get to the pieces before Fujiyata (Ramón Bugarini) and cronies can. The bad guys use many tools to help them sabotage the good guys and beat them to the locations. Firstly, they've planted some incredible cameras in key locations (one stationary camera hidden on a bookshelf manages to pan... through two rooms!) and watch on TV sets back at their lair. They've also gotten their paws on a blonde named Charlotte Van Dyne (María Eugenia San Martín), whose father was one of the archaeologists killed at the beginning. She's been hypnotized to work as a spy and at one point attacks with a syringe.

After a lot of lighter formula spy movie stuff (plus one wrestling match, and a pair of fights inside a hotel and a locker room), Fujiyata is captured by the authorities and everyone agrees that the only way to determine who gets to keep the artifact and have a chance at riches is in the wrestling ring. So Loreta and Rubi must slap on their leotards again and do tag team battle with Fuji's sisters Lien and Tzu (Mishima Ota and Uroki Sito), who are the "oriental Judo champions." After a long match with flips, kicks, slaps, hair pulling and punches directly into face (though it looks absolutely nothing like actual Judo), the headlocks and double nelsons win out for our heroines, who take a beating but pull out a victory. They also save up enough energy to check out the mummy's tomb with their boyfriends and Charlotte. There's no treasure, but lots of mummy (the make-up design really isn't that bad). After an encounter with the ghoul, Loreta says "Looking back it seems like a nightmare...all horrid!" Dr. Tracy warns "Don't scoff at the supernatural!" The location work around some old tombs, temples and step pyramids is OK, but the photography is extremely murky.

K. Gordon Murray handled the US release, as he did with many other Mexican films. A different version of the film called ROCK 'N ROLL WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY has an added rock music score.


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