Rafael Portillo (uncredited)
"I was in the business to make money. I never, ever tried in any way to compete, or to make something worthwhile. I only did enough to get by, so they would buy it, so it would play, and so I'd get a few dollars. It's not very fair to the public, I guess..." ~ Jerry Warren.
Now that you know you're in capable hands, here's a little lesson in how to quickly turn a profit at the audience's expense. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1957) was a mediocre Mexican film trying to capitalize on the Bridey Murphy past life regression via hypnosis craze of the late 50s by injecting that scenario into a horror film plot. In order to get more bang for their buck, they made three Aztec Mummy films back-to-back-to-back. The first sequel, THE CURSE OF THE AZTEC MUMMY (1957), used a fairly long chunk of the previous film as flashback footage to push the running time to over an hour. The second sequel, THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1958), went a step further by using ample footage from both the original and Curse to make it to an hour. In fact, around half of Robot's running time was reused footage! While K. Gordon Murray ended up with the U.S. distribution rights for the sequels, Jerry Warren got his hands on the first film and used ample footage from it in two of his own movies: this one and FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964), plus incorporated shorter snippets into his The Wild World of Batwoman (1966)! Unlike Murray, who mostly left the originals intact outside of having them English dubbed and re-scored, Warren re-edited them, added stock music in place of the original score, had them dubbed, added his own new footage and gave himself sole director credit.
In order to get these films both out at around the same time without being detected, Warren had Face released theatrically; by itself, on a double bill with another Warren cut-n-paster called Curse of the Stone Hand (1965) and even on triple bills with both Curse and the British horror comedy My Son, the Vampire (1952) starring Bela Lugosi. All were then distributed by Warren's own company Associated Distributors Pictures Inc.. Meanwhile, the Mayan Mummy cut was sold into TV syndication. Wholla! Money in the bank with minimal effort! Makes you wonder though if anyone back in the day actually caught the Attack version on TV and then went off to a drive-in to see Face only to have to sit through much of the same exact footage!
Aside from a new title card and new credits for four of the pseudonymous top-billed actors, this opens with the same exact credits on top of the same skull, woolly mammoth skeleton and window backdrop as Screaming Werewolf. We then visit the office of a nameless newspaper editor, played by portly Roger Corman movie regular Bruno VeSota. Scientist Frederick Munson (George Mitchell, who has the impossible task of trying to drag this entire film along) shows up to give the editor the scoop on a strange and unusual case that he was a part of while working with Cowan Research Incorporated. Now wanting to give up his latest gig as TV talking head ("A scientist is best suited to sit in front of a microscope, not a camera!"), he'd rather relay this particular story to the print press.
Munson's sister, who owned C.R.I., was married the one Dr. Edmund Redding (Ramón Gay) before her untimely death in a jet crash. As a stipulation of her will, she left the foundation to be split between her husband and brother. However, Redding won full control during a court battle. He then had Munson expelled from the staff while helping himself to his research papers and his primary guinea pig Ann Taylor (Rosita Arenas), who has the amazing ability to recall her past life as a Mayan princess under just the mildest of hypnosis. You could say Frederick's a little bitter about the whole experience. We then go into flashback mode as Munson narrates right over characters during a scene from the original Aztec Mummy explaining that Redding was not yet ready to reveal the nature of his research to colleagues at a "Scientist's Association" meeting, which angers everyone.
In more new footage (a positively grueling scene that lasts over eight minutes with very few camera changes), Munson goes to shoot the shit with friend Dr. John Janney, who was one of the attendees of the association meeting. John talks about his ulcer flare up, bad hotel food, flying in from Hong Kong, how he gave up being a practicing physician and researcher to become an administrator and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't have much to do with anything. With a cigarette in one of his hands and a glass of scotch in the other, Dr. Munson lectures him about his health before the two discuss the possibility of swaying Ann back to their side. After all, she was first discovered by Munson so it's only fair. Because John is having financial problems and Munson is out of work, they're mostly interested in getting their hands on a treasure "that could actually affect the gold standard," which is rumored to be hidden somewhere in the pyramids.
To help him keep tabs on what Redding and Ann Taylor are up to, Munson has enlisted the aid of a spy: his teen nephew, Timmy (Jaime González Quiñones). Timmy, who's now unhappily living with Redding, is much closer to Munson and more than willing to stab his stepdad in the back. Once Timmy finds out new information, he then passes it along to his girlfriend and her friend Lynn, who then come and relay that to Dr. Munson, which is exactly what we see during one hilarious scene where the teen girls yap on and on to the flustered doctor at a soda fountain while a bunch of dancers gyrate all around them.
We then return to more Aztec Mummy footage as Redding and his assistants (Crox Alvarado and Jorge Mondragón) hypnotize Ann and she flashes back to her former life as a maiden set to be sacrificed. That's interrupted by a TV broadcast from newsman Douglas Banks (Chuck Niles), who announces that Redding and his team have decided to solidify their research by visiting the pyramids. And that they do, eventually discovering their activities have aroused a 2000-year-old mummy, which manages to kill Dr. Redding. We then go back to new footage as Banks interviews Dr. Munson, Dr. Munson talks and talks some more with John, a couple of detectives (Fred Hoffman, William White) snoop around and a thief (Steve Conte) is hired to steal the mummy. We only cut back to one more scene from Aztec Mummy where it sneaks into Ann's home and carries her off, which is cut with a scene of the thief fleeing and (we're to assume) running the two over. Back at the newspaper editor's office, Bruno then delivers the heavy-handed "moral" of our little story. The last image is, fittingly enough, the shot of a trash basket.
After watching this and Screaming Werewolf back-to-back, I pretty much now want to die. But I did learn a valuable lesson here, and it's not that lead and pulp can be re-purposed into printing ink and paper as Mr. VeSota intones. It's that next time I'm in the mood for a little self-torture on a Sunday, I'll skip on a Jerry Warren double feature and just go to church instead. It's far less painful!
This was released on home video by most of the big cult movie distributors of the 80s and 90s, like Something Weird, Sinister and Rhino. In 2013, VCI Entertainment released six of Warren's 'B' bombs on DVD in two sets. The first collection contains Man Beast (1956), Stone Hand and Batwoman. The second volume has this one, Creature of the Walking Dead (1965) and HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH (1965). The best thing about these VCI releases is that now a few of the films have nice new poster art.