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LAS MOMIAS DE GUANAJUATO



By the seventies the face of the Luchahero genre had changed.The masked wrestler films had gone from cheap,fast made films to even cheaper,faster made films.But this was not a problem reserved only for these films.The entire Mexican film industry was was going downhill due to competition from American films.Since the people who put up the money for Mexican films to be made also distributed American films in Mexico,they felt that their bread and butter was in the Gringo films and neglected the homemade product.The entire Mexican film industry was hurt but the luchahero genre was one of the hardest hit.The indifference of the moneypeople spread to the people who made the movies.Whereas in the sixties the people involved in making the films tried to make the best film possible with their limited resources,by the seventies they stopped giving a damn and just cranked them out to satisfy their money hungry,penny pinching bosses and what little fans the genre had left.MOMIAS clearly demonstrates the genre was having problems,and signals the beginning of the end of one of Mexico's most prolific genres of the silver age of Mexican filmdom.


As the film opens midget tour guide Pinguino takes a group of visitors through the actual famed Museum of Mummies,explaining that the mummifification is due to minerals in the soil in which the bodies were buried in.He then takes them to a hall where various mummies are propped up against the wall,icluding a six foot tall mummy clad in red tights.Pinguino claims that it is Satan,a wrestler who a hundred years prior had a pact with the devil.But Santo[the ancestor of the modern one]defeated him for the title and Satan vowed that in a hundred years he would return from the dead to reek his vengeane on Santo's descendants.Pinguino claims his "good friend" Santo told him the story.Curiously enough that very same day is the day Satan was supposed to revvive. The tale is treated with laughter from the tourists but a woman catches a glimpse of Satan twitching,causing her to faint.As the tourists take the woman out Pinguino stays behind and sees all the mummies come to life.He passes out.Upon being aroused by the night watchman goes in search of Lina,a nightclub singer.



Lina and her friend Alicia[a cigarrette girl]at first don't believe him but accompany him back to the museum.When they arrive the Satan mummy is gone, with only a giant footprint on the floor indicating where he had stepped.The girls rush out of there frantically.Lina goes to her boyfriend's workplace,the local lucha arena.It happens her squeeze is none other than Mil Mascaras,who teaming with Blue Demon, are dispatching the rudo team of Los Hippies.[Sounds more like a sixties teenybopper group!]After the match Mil and Blue listen to Lina and Pinguino tell the tale.Lina believes that Satan will seek his revenge against Santo as well as Blue and Mil.Blue blows it off as hogwash,saying that Santo himself dismisses the legend as nonsense.That night Satan shows up in the arena and coldcocks Blue.He approaches the ring and has a flashback to his match with greatgrandpappy Santo.[This sequence is filmed in the very same ring used for the earlier match,despite the fact that it was taking place in the 1870's.They didn't even bother to paint over the PEPSI logo on the mat!]The night watchman[director Federico Curiel]spots the mummy and opens fire to no avail.Satan breaks his neck and leaves.When Blue comes to Satan is gone. That night on his way back to the museum Satan kills a homeless drunk but is spotted by a couple.When they report what they saw to police detectives they laugh it off.As the couple walk away humiliated the two cops theorize about the murderer and one claims that as strong as he is he just might be a wrestler,especially considering that the arena watchman was murdered.



The next day Blue and friend discuss the murders.Blue refuses to go to the police,or call Santo,since he still believes there is a logical explanation other than a murderous mummy walking around Guanajuato.That night he and Mil visit the museum and find Satan in his proper place.Blue goes around telling "I told you so" but more murders occur.That same week Blue's adopted son Julio gets into town to spend his vacation with Demon daddy.The six of them take in a local cultural musical group at the town square,with Blue and Mil remaining a good distance away from the crowd. Perhaps they were also looking for the murderer?Pinguino and Alicia decide to call it a night and head back to their rented apartments.Pinguino gets a bad vibe and asks Alicia if he could spend the night with her,which shocks her.Pinguino tries to explain that it isn't what she thinks but sulks back to his room instead.Sure enough as Pinguino tries to sleep Satan enters the room. This is the juicy part:rather than run like hell he picks up the phone and calls Blue,so Blue can listen to his deathcries!Alicia,Blue and Mil examine the body of their dead friend.Mil says it's time to call in Santo,but Blue refuses,saying that it's exactly what the mummy wants. Yep,'em 'ere mummies are diabollically clever that way.As they leave[without calling the police,you know,eventually that corpse will start to stink,so it won't go unnoticed,people!] they are attacked by three mummies.Alicia manages to make a run for it but Blue and Mil can barely hold their own.Blue tosses one out a third floor window and the two masked men run out into the street,just in time to see the mummy shake off the effects of the fall.They decide a tactical retreat is in order.Regrouping back at Blue's rented pad doesn't do any good.Satan is there waiting and coldcocks Blue for the second time!Rather than killing Blue he strips him of his clothe,mask included.From what I hear Blue isn't into this kinky stuff. Satan takes the wrestling gear back to the museum and instructs one of his mummies to impersonate Blue.[This mummy had previously played Don Quixote in a nationwide play to rave reviews,so he knew a thing or two about acting.]The next day the two detectives are discussing the latest murder of Pinguino[see,I told you the body would start to stink!] and the theory of the murderer being a wrestler gains more validity.At that moment a rock with a note tied to it crashes through the window.[originally they tried to film the scene with a carrier pigeon, but on every take every time they through the bird his brains just splattered against the window pane!]The note proclaims that to find the murderer the cops should stake out the town square that night.Believing this reliable piece of evidence the cops do just that and spot "Blue" killing a man on the street.A cop tackles him only leading to his demise.The detectives and remaining cops open fire to no avail.The "Blue" imposter SLOWLY lumbers off,yet the cops,who have CARS,prefer not to follow.Why bother,they know who the murderer is.



The cops search Blue's pad but of course find no one.Blue and the gang hide at Lina's place.Blue and Mil decide that they have to go to the museum to confront Satan.Julio begs to come along but Blue makes him stay with Lina and Alicia.As Blue and Mil drive off Julio stows away in the trunk.The girls are attacked and Alicia is killed and Lina is taken to the museum.Blue and Mil drive the streets of Guanajauato searching for mummies and chase a suspicious shadow on foot.Julio takes a shortcut but gets kidnapped by the mummy.Blue and Mil are unable to catch up to the fiend but are confronted by cops,who they smack around and make a run for it.Arriving at the museum the maskedmen are confronted by the mummies.The heroes activate special rockets in their wrestling boots[it's amazing these things don't go off during their wrestling matches]but the mummies aren't fazed.They clobber the heroes and lock them up with Julio and Lina.Guess who happens to be driving through Guanajuato at this moment?I'll give you a hint.It isn't the Lone Ranger.Blue and Mil break out of the museum cellar and resume their search for the mummies.Meanwhile some of the mummies are blocking the road as Santo and Mr. Gonzalez[Carlos Suarez] drive into town.Not wasting time with the whats and whys Santo plows into them before driving off.Reaching the town square he spots the mummies attacking the populace.The cops arrive but Santo warns them not to open firesince they might hit the civilians and the mummies are indestructable.He proceeds to tackle Satan,[O.k.,the mummies are indestructable,what's the friggin' point in engaging them in hand to hand combat?!?!?!]while the people,rather than run off like scared rabbits,crowd around to see a free fight.Santo is unable to defeat the mummies so he leaves,letting the mummies beat the crap out of the cops and people.Arriving at the cemetary Santo finds the mummies are already there!I guess they took the Concord.[Why the hell did Santo even go to the cemetary?!?!?!]Santo proceeds to trade punches with the mummies again and Blue and Mil show up,since they remembered they were also in this movie.After a few minutes Santo sends Mil to fetch some flamethrower pistols Santo just happened to have under the passenger seat of his car.[Why would he drive around with these things?Is he afraid he's going to get carjacked?!?!?!] The masked heroes torch the mummies,who forget they are indestructable and burn up.Blue,Santo and Mil shake hands and compare notes.On the way back to town the detectives apologize to Blue for believing him capable of the murders.The heroes,Lina and Julio reunite at the hotel and the next morning they all leave smiling, having forgotten that their two friends were murdered.The End.

Hoo boy!This one is a doozie!As I mentioned this is more or less where the genre started to go downhill.The film had a low budget,was fairly short,the plot is at times nonsensical,and the mummies are just stuntmen wearing latex masks.[At least they are decent looking masks.]The actors involved were capable enough to deliver good performances but here it seems they are on the verge of breaking up with laughter.There are several things that don't make sense,why is it that the mummies are impervious to the rockets in Blue and Mil's boots but are susceptible to Santo's flamethrowers?Santo was planning to stay the night in Guanajuato on his way to San Luis Potosi[my home state]but at the film's end he's on his way to Guadalajara!Hunh?I'm still curious as to why Satan would want revenge against Blue and Mil.And the three times he has Blue coldcocked he lets him live! I guess he was waiting to feed him to an aquarium full of sharks with laser beams on their heads with only one inept guard to watch him.[AUSTIN POWERS/DR. EVIL reference in case you hadn't figured it out.] The strangest thing about this is why the heroes converge on the cemetary at the film's finale.It's possible that in the original script the cemetary was meant to have some significance but it's possible it was cut out of the film.



I can sit here and rip this film apart at just how inept the film is but this film has ONE thing that NO OTHER film in the genre has: Santo,Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras kicking mummy ass!!!Apparantly the filmmakers were hoping that audiences would forgive all the film's shortcomings since the film had the three biggest genre stars together in one film.It would seem that they were right since this was the most succesful genre film at the box office. Of course Santo's late arrival has always been a topic of speculation.According to one legend writer Rafael Garcia Travesi was forced to add Santo in the end because he had made the mummies to strong for Blue and Mil.Apparantly this rubbed Blue the wrong way and he openly expressed his displeasure of having Santo come in to "save the day".But this makes little sense as Santo's name is mentioned throughout the entire film.It's hard to believe Blue didn't expect Santo to show up at some point during the film.Another source of info claims that Santo was originally written to be in the entire movie,but due to a conflict in Santo's schedule,the filmmakers had to use Blue amd Mil to fill up screentime[they apparantly couldn't wait for Santo to finish his other commitments and had to begin filming] until Santo could come down to finish the film.As it is Santo's scenes appear to have been shot all in the same night.It's also possible that Santo originally may have not wanted to do the film,since he had become vey film savy and demanded high production values on all his films.[This from a man that in 1952 turned down the starring role in the first ever lucha hero serial because he didn't think it would fly at the box office.] Possibly Santo changed his mind at the last minute and showed up to "steal the glory" out of Blue and Mil's hands.As most things having to do with the uneasy Santo/Blue relationship,the truth will perhaps never be kown.It has to be said that in Spain the film was released as SANTO CONTRA LAS MOMIAS,since over there Santo's name in the title would've been more marketable than that of Blue Demon's or Mil's names.The images of the other two heroes isn't even used in the publicity poster.In the Mexican lobby cards[and in the opening credits of the film] Blue and Mil do get their names over that of Santo,the only film in which this ever happened.Carlos Suarez,Santo's manager,appears playing comic relief to Santo for the first time in a film.At the time he played serious characters in other Santo films such as gangsters, but by the end of the seventies he started to play comic relief to Santo and Hijo del Santo in their films, and he is best remembered for playing that role.



The enormous success of MOMIAS at the Mexican box office may have led the moneymen to believe they found a winning formula.Sequels and other types of films followed where the amount of time and money decreased but offered more masked wrestlers for your money's worth.Santo himself never did more of these films. He only had a few more teamups with Blue Demon[some which he himself co-produced]and his last film with Blue and Mil was the confusing and unsatisfying film MYSTERY IN THE BERMUDAS,which has the destinction of being Blue's last film,and the last multi hero film.Despite the higher production values in this film it isn't as liked as LAS MOMIAS DE GUANAJUATO,which many now consider a cult classic.Two and a half stars.**1/2.By the way,the Satan mummy was played by another favorite masked cinematic wrestler,Tinieblas.


CAST:Blue Demon,Mil Mascaras,Elsa Cardenas[Lina]Santo,Juan Gallardo[police detective]Jorge Pinguino[Pinguino]Julio Cesar Agrasanchez[Julio] Carlos Suarez[Mr. Gonzalez]Patricia Ferrer[Alicia]Carlos Leon[second detective] Producer:Rogelio Agrasanchez.Director:Federico Curiel.Writer:Rafael Garcia Travesi.