Craig J. Clark — Jul. 30th 2015
A blue moon only comes along once in a blue moon, so to complement this month’s, I am highlighting 1973’s Santo y Blue Demon vs Drácula y el Hombre Lobo. This was the famed Mexican wrestler’s 41st feature film (which is pretty impressive when you consider he started making them in 1961) and the second one where he and Blue Demon teamed up to fight a wolfman since they had previously tangled with one (along with a number of other creatures) in 1970’s Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters. That was just a generic werewolf, though. This one is Rufus Rex, Count Drácula’s right-hand wolfman, who’s revived alongside his master to take revenge on the descendants of the alchemist who vanquished them four centuries earlier.
Now, where do Santo and Blue Demon fit into all this? That’s a very good question. Well, at the start of the film Santo has his traditional wrestling match with an opponent who has nothing to do with the main story — in this case, the less-than-righteous Ángel Blanco, who not only outweighs Santo, but is a dirty fighter to boot. Also, his white mask is virtually indistinguishable from Santo’s silver one from a distance, so in order to tell them apart you have to go by his blinding white shorts, which are a lot less modest then Santo’s wrestling trunks. After Santo is victorious (because how could he not be?), he’s summoned by professor of the occult Jorge Mondragón, who’s concerned about the curse on his family and the effect it could have on his daughter Laura (María Eugenia San Martín), his niece Lina (Nubia Martí), and his granddaughter Rosita (Lissy Fields). And it turns out he was right to be concerned because that very night he’s abducted by a devil-bearded hunchback (Alfredo Wally Barrón) who suspends him over Drácula’s (Aldo Monti) coffin and slits his throat so the long-dead vampire can be reconstituted. And he’s soon joined by his fur-faced friend Rufus (Agustín Martínez Solares), who was apparently buried in some hip threads, man. (I had no idea they had polyester back in the 16th century.)
As per usual, the police (represented by chief Antonio Raxel, who calls the story “too fantastic to take it seriously”) are absolutely no help, so Santo enlists Blue Demon, who’s introduced wrestling Renato, the Hippie. (Incidentally, these matches take place in limbo, so we have to take the announcer’s word when he says there’s a sold-out crowd being wowed by the physical prowess and agility of the combatants.) Meanwhile, Rufus waits for daylight so he can take human form and seduce Laura, who is to be sacrificed at the next full moon. (Sadly, when this comes to pass, director Miguel M. Delgado declines to show his transformation, erroneously believing we’ll be satisfied by some growling and screaming over a stationary shot of the moon.) For his part, Drác plans to kidnap Rosita, but he’s thwarted by the mystical dagger her grandfather left on her bedside table and has to go back to the drawing board.
This is followed by one of the silliest sequences in a film brimming with them. In it, Santo and Blue Demon are lured by the hunchback to a warehouse where they’re ambushed by a bunch of mobsters in his employ. Before they can be unmasked and rubbed out, though, Lina comes to their rescue by driving a forklift through a wall of hay bales, which help cushion everyone’s falls when they get into an all-out melee. This is matched only by the one with Drácula’s army of sad-looking vampires and wolfmen at the end of the film, when it becomes painfully clear that the sound editor had a grand total of three foley effects to choose from, but that’s a few reels away. First we have to see Drácula hypnotize Lina a few times and fail to put the bite on her because he keeps getting interrupted. There’s also a wonderful shot where Blue Demon follows her through the woods and is captured by three wolfmen who throw a net over him and bundle him off. Eventually everybody winds up at the mansion that is Drácula’s base of operations and the monsters are defeated, after which, instead of ending the movie like a rational person, Delgado tacks on an eight-minute tag-team match between Santo and Blue Demon on one side and Ángel Blanco and Renato, the Hippie on the other. No points for guessing which team comes out on top.