Santo vs. the Zombies

SANTO VS. THE ZOMBIES - Something Weird Video - (1961)

This film may also be found with the American titled tacked onto it: SAMSON VS. THE ZOMBIES. In the never ending quest to de-foreignize everything, when the famous Santo series of LUCHA LIBRE films were released in the States, the title hero/wrestler/all-around good guy has his name changed the more American (?) sounding Samson. Never the less this is one of those films that did get released here, and so it is dubbed. SW's print is good, and you can certainly overlook the dubbing and just concentrate at the action at hand!

Our film starts with a certain Professor Rutherford who had disappeared in Haiti while studying zombies. His daughter (Gloria) is looking for him, along with her blind Uncle Herbert. In the meantime some zombies rob a jewelry store. A connection is made! The mindless, soulless zombies are the same that the Prof. was studying! In fact he turns up as (what else?!) a ZOMBIE! Distraught, Gloria goes to the only person she knows can handle the job...SANTO! For the uninitiated, Santo was a famous (that's an understatement!) Mexican wrestler who (besides kicking his opponents ass night after night) managed to star in a series of films that pitted him against all kinds of formidable foes. This picture just followed the routine job of our man. By communicating via electronic TV. (Or something to that effect) Santo can stay on top of what is going on (in between wrestling matches that is).

Once the zombies bosses are revealed (they all wear black hoods and robes) we see that they clearly see Santo as an obstacle that needs to be erased!! So they turn his next opponent in the ring, into a mindless zombie!!Then with there transmitter belts (which do the zombifying) they next plan to turn Gloria into a zombie!! Some choice lines heard during this portion of the film include: "You hyena!! You ruthless dog!!" Well once Santo gets his act straightened out, he figures out who the man behind the mission was.  Turns out old Uncle was not as blind as we thought (well you would have to be blind to not have suspected him from the start, that's for sure!!). Seems he wanted wealth, power, and all the good stuff that comes with the package of being a zombie master. But Santo puts a stop to him, and his army of transmitted zombie fools.

The unique thing about these films is the simple fact that by showing actual wrestling matches amidst all of the action, these films crossed the bounds of sport/movie like no film had before. Sure there were boxing, and baseball movies, but none with quite the same star. Santo never cared who he was fighting, where he was fighting, or how he was fighting.  Dammit, he just wanted to fight!!! The zombies in this film were no match for Santo. But you see that is the fun here. There are so many other Santo films out there, you just can't be satisfied with seeing just one!! However, like I stated at the outset, only a handful of his films were released here in America.The rest remain in Spanish language only.  Something Weird carries the dubbed films. Sinister Cinema carries several of the Spanish language films. All of them are highly recommended. If you however need to see only one, see SANTO VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN. That film is especially awesome. Jump into Lucha Libre, and cheer on everyone's favorite champion of choice, the mighty EL SANTO!!!

-DAVE KOSANKE

 

 

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