Those Lovely Luchadoras

by Brian Moran

In 1962, Cinematografica Calderon starred twobeautiful women, Lorena Velazquez and Elizabeth Campbell, in LasLuchadoras vs el Medico Asesino, a new concept in Mexicanadventure films. The heroic sweaty masked males of standard "LuchaLibre" films (like Santo or Blue Demon) were replaced by heroicsweaty unmasked females. A big improvement, no? Las Luchadoras vs.el Medico Asesino was the first of perhaps the weirdesthybrid-series to ever hit the screen: thesexy/sci-fi/horror/female-wrestler/super-hero film. This sextet ofsexiness was really a stroke of genius. Not only did the adventuresof "Las Luchadoras" appeal to its main audience (children eager forweird monsters and lots of action), but horny teenage boys werecaptivated as well.

The Luchadoras series (better known in the UnitedStates as the "Wrestling Women") contained mind-boggling elementsincluding; mad doctors, apes, Frankenstein-like monsters, robots,panther women, death traps, male masked wrestlers, wrestlingtournaments, super-human-masked-female-villainesses and of course theshapely heroines. During the 1960s, Las Luchadoras, had a run of sixfilms (seven if you count, the semi-related, MujerMurcielago). While all titles are very entertaining, the firsttwo are the best known. As the series progressed, the female leadschanged, but all entries were directed by the same man, Rene CardonaSr.

Las Luchadoras vs el Medico Asesino

(U.S. title, Doctor ofDoom).

On a dark and lonely night, a girl walking aloneis grabbed by a beast-like man. Seconds later we're enjoying theaction at a female tag-team wrestling match. Now the scene shifts toa doctor transplanting a woman's brain. With an opening like that,it's clear that you're not watching anything filmed in the U.S. --even if they are speaking English!

For some unexplained reason, a scientist, Dr.Ruiz, is trying to transplant the brain of a gorilla into the body ofa woman. (If Ed Wood Jr. had written the script, there would havecertainly been an angora angle.) Although all his previousexperiments have been failures, the doctor insists that only womenare appropriate for the operation. His assistant suggests thatperhaps the class of women being used is the problem (they had allbeen uneducated women). Maybe if they use a professional woman, theywill succeed. Grasping at straws, Doom agrees that this might be theanswer. He sends Gomar (his half-man/half-gorilla henchman) to kidnapan intelligent woman. Gomar, wearing bullet-proof clothing, not onlygets his girl, but he beats up half the police force in the process.The woman, Alice, happens to be the sister of Gloria Venus (LorenaVelazquez), the champion woman wrestler. Alas, Alice isn't quiteintelligent or professional enough &emdash; and she dies aswell.

Two policemen, Mike and Tommy (Armando and Chuchoin the Spanish version), investigating the case come to questionGloria and her new tag-team partner, Golden Rubi (ElizabethCampbell). These four become friends and decide to join forces ingoing after "Dr. Doom" and his associates.

Boris, the ever-helpful assistant, now surmisesthat maybe what they need is a woman of unusual strength. Once againDr. Doom agrees, even though Boris' predictions have been none tooaccurate up to this point. They decide to go after Gloria. An attemptis made to capture the two wrestling women, but they rather easilyfight off their attackers. Mike suggests that the best way to catchthe killers is for the girls to allow themselves to be kidnapped sothat the police can follow them to Doom's hideout. The plan works toperfection and during the ensuing battle, the Doctor's assistant iscaptured. Unfortunately, while being questioned by the police, he'smurdered.

Professor Ruiz, who'd been Alice's boss (and who'sone of the most obvious master criminal in the history of moderncinema), calls Mike and Tommy and tells them to come to his home.They arrive, are captured by Doom's gang and placed in a death trap.Luckily, Gloria and Rubi are wearing their Dick Tracy-style wristradios and come to the rescue. There's another battle with thevillains and this time the doc gets acid thrown in his face. Hescreams in agony while his lab goes up in flames. Gomar breaks out ofhis cell and rescues him from the inferno. The now disfigured Dr.Doom swears vengeance on Gloria. Meanwhile, Gomar's reward for savingthe doc is to have his brain removed. It's to be placed in the bodyof another female wrestler. This new creation is called Vendetta, amute, chubby and masked wrestling woman. Dr. Doom, now posing as amasked wrestling manager, explains that the reason his client can'tspeak is that she's from France (just like the Coneheads). Vendettasigns to meet Gloria in a special wrestling event. She's ordered(presumably in French) to kill Gloria in the ring during their match.Rubi uncovers the plot and climbs into the ring to help her friendbattle the powerful Vendetta. Knowing that the jig is up, the maskeddoc and his creation, escape from the arena, climb to the top of awater tower (a la, King Kong) and are shot dead like theworthless scum that they are. In a (un)surprise ending, Doctor Doom'smask is removed and he's revealed to be.............the kindlyProfessor Ruiz.

This wonderful film has many things to recommendit for lovers of the bizarre. As usual, the dubbed dialog is amusing.A narrator reads a newspaper headline, "Four policemen torn to piecesby strange being. Police are completely confused." Also, at onepoint, the doctor repeatedly yells at a silent Gomar, "Quiet downGomar, quiet down, I say." Gomar seems understandably confused. Ms.Campbell also has lots of playful banter with her policeman boyfriendTommy (Chucho Salinas). She calls him her "Five-foot LightningBolt."

The great cast is headed by Lorena Velazquez, thequeen of Mexican horror cinema. Lorena has appeared in numerousclassic efforts including; Nave de los Monstruos, Santocontra los Zombies (Invasion of the Zombies), Santo vslas Mujeres Vampiro (Samson vs the Vampire Women), plusmany more. Golden Rubi is played by the gorgeous Elizabeth Campbell,an America actress who appeared in numerous Mexican genre filmsduring the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. She starred in thefirst four wrestling women films, as well as, Planeta de lasMujeres Invasoras (with Velazquez), Operacion 67 (withSanto) and many others. Armando Silvestre, (Mike, the cop) starred inmany genre films including; Wrestling Women vs the AztecMummy, the three films of the original Neutron series,several early Santo films and a host of others. Silvestre alsorepeats his policeman role in the 1968 remake of this film, Nightof the Bloody Apes. Roberto Canedo plays professor Ruiz and hisalter-ego, the Doctor of Doom. He, too, is a regular in theseoutings, often in similar mad scientist roles.

The female leads play unusually strong charactersfor this time period -- easily the equal to their male counterpartsin both brains and brawn. It is often left up to them to rescue theirhelpless policeman-boyfriends. U.S. films of this era seldom providedtheir female characters with such heroic roles.

Doctor of Doom may have a few plot holes (or evenmore than a few), but it also has an endearing combination ofnon-stop action, absurd dialogue and strange imagery. I highlyrecommend it!


Las Luchadoras contra la Momia

(U.S. title, Wrestling Women vs. the AztecMummy)


The success of Las Luchadoras vs el MedicoAsesino insured a follow-up. This sequel came two years later in1964. It was called, Las Luchadoras contra la Momia. TheEnglish release title, Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, isperhaps the most (in)famous film titles of all time. The four starsfrom the first film (Lorena Velazquez, Elizabeth Campbell, ArmandoSilvestre and Chucho Salinas) all return to repeat their roles,although the Velazquez' character has mysteriously changed her nameto Loreta Venus.

Las Luchadoras contra la Momia opens with amontage of clips showing the reign of terror being perpetrated by theBlack Dragon, an evil, oriental, crime syndicate. They kidnap,hypnotize and murder people, and generally make a nuisance ofthemselves. The bad guys are trying to find a "codex" which willdivulge the location of a breast plate, which in turn will tell thehiding place of a fabulous Aztec treasure. One of five men are inpossession of the codex and by process of elimination, the BlackDragon is trying to discover which one. After four failures, onlyProfessor Tracy is left. In order to insure the codex (not hismention his own) safety, the doctor divides it into three parts andsurreptitiously sends the sections to his friends, Loreta, Rubi, Mikeand Tommy. Fujiyata, the leader of the Black Dragon, orders his mento kidnap the professor, but arriving at his apartment, they onlyfind Dr. Tracy's niece, Charlotte, at home. She's abducted instead.The evil mastermind uses a combination of drugs and hypnosis to puther under his power. He then releases the girl in order to use her tospy on her friends. Fujiyata can see (via closed circuit television)into Tracy's home, where he learns the location of the first part ofthe codex. His men get to the hotel where it's hidden before Rubi andTommy, and they capture the statuesque wrestler and her diminutivefriend. But, Loreta and Mike come to the rescue and beat up thethugs. The second section is hidden in a post office box and theBlack Dragon again gets there first. While going after the thirdsection, hidden in Rubi's locker, Fujiyata and his henchmen arecaught. He suggests a wager, the winner getting all sections of thecodex. He will pit his two Judo-fighting, sisters against Loreta andRubi in a match in the ring. Loreta agrees over Mike's objections.He's worried that they may get hurt. Loreta shrugs this off. "We canpunch them if they get too rough on us." "A headlock or Double-Nelsonshould do the trick," Rubi adds. Loreta and Rubi win and Fujiyatakeeps his word. Charlotte is released from the crime lord's power aspart of the bargain. However, when the sneaky Mike tries to arrestthe criminal, his sisters beat up the policemen, allowing theirbrother to escape. Again on TV, Fujiyata watches as Tracysuccessfully deciphers the codex. Everyone heads for the tomb ofXochitl (an Aztec Princess) where the breast plate is hidden.Guarding it is the mummified remains of Tezomoc, a sorcerer/warriorburied alive to guard the priceless artifact. The heroes grab it andflee as the mummy awakens. Back at the apartment, Dr. Tracy tells ofthe magical powers of the mummy. (It can change form into that of ademon or animal.) The scientist works all night on the breast plate.In the early hours of the morning, just as Fujiyata's men arrive tosteal the plate, a bat flies to the apartment and changes into themummy. It kills all the Black Dragon gang and goes inside. As itreaches for the plate, the sun begins to come up and the mummy cowersaway, changes back into a bat and flies away. When Charlotte readsabout the destruction of the Black Dragon gang, she realizes that themummy will come for them next. She convinces Tommy to help her returnthe breast plate to the tomb of Xochitl. He doesn't want to go,"Maybe that stupid mummy has fits and undresses, who knows what hehas beneath his clothes," the trembling detective says. She finallydrags him along but they get separated in the tomb. Tommy leaves toget help but Tezomoc finds her before the search party arrives. Theyarrive at the tomb as the mummy prepares to sacrifice Charlotte.Loreta frightens it with torches and everyone watches in horror as itturns first into a bat ("Look he's a vampire now" Loreta says) andthen a spider. A cloth is thrown over the spider as it regains itsmummy form. The good guys manage to chain it to a pillar and, leavingthe breast plate behind, exit from the tomb. The mummy's struggles tofree itself bring the tomb down all around it. The narrator wonders,"Who can tell how many centuries more the Aztec treasure will remainhidden."

Several things are worthy of note. This film isincorrectly considered part of the original "Aztec Mummy" series.However, the mummy in the original trio of films (also produced byCinematografica Calderon) is Popoca, not Tezomoc. This is an Aztecmummy, not the Aztec mummy. And an odd mummy it is too. One mightconclude that the many years of solitude have confused the poor thingas it apparently thinks of itself as a vampire. Tezomoc is afraid ofsunlight and changes into a bat on several occasions.

There's a continuity problem during the climax.The breast plate, which Tezomoc had placed on the bound Charlotte,disappears and reappears several times as she watches the action.Also, Fujiyata just vanishes from the plot. After the mummy hasdestroyed his gang, nothing more is mentioned of he or his sisters.Of course, none of these things really matter. What makes WrestlingWomen vs. the Aztec Mummy such an enjoyable film is the crazy dialog(Tommy tells Rubi, "As an Amazon, you're the greatest") andmind-boggling plot. Just the fact that the film makers were able tocombine two rather unrelated elements (female wrestlers and anancient mummy) into one story line is worthy of accolades.

One final note. Beware Rhino Video's "rock 'nroll" version of this film. It has numerous omissions and cuts andhas a different (unsatisfying) ending. (It always is a bad idea toparody something that's a parody of itself.) Stick with the original.It's funnier, more coherent and much more entertaining.


Lobas del Ring

(Never released in an English-dubbedversion)


Lobas del Ring has the distinction of being theonly film in the Luchadoras series to have no fantasy elements. Whilethis would seem to make it the least interesting entry, it's at leasta little different.

A publicist comes up with the idea of a wrestlingtournament, with a prize of one million pesos (about three dollars)going to the winning team. Real-life wrestler Murcielago Velazquez(no relation to Lorena) leads the "clean" team, which of courseincludes Loreta (Lorena Velazquez) and Rubi (Elizabeth Campbell).Loreta's fiance wants her to quit the ring and settle down and sheagrees, but only after she wins the tournament. She wants to win anddivide the money among her teammates. Sonia (Sonia Infante) is theleader of the bad team. (The good gals wear light colored leotardswhile the bad ones wear black. This makes things simple for theaudience.) The matches begin. During her bout, Chebela (another ofthe clean wrestlers) sees Bernardo (Eric del Castillo) in the arenaand recognizes him as the man who murdered her father. Understandablyflustered, she loses. Rubi also loses, but only after she'd beendrugged by the bad guys. This sets up a final between Loreta andSonia. Not taking any chances, the evil wrestlers have Loreta'smother and Rubi kidnapped They tell Loreta to lose her match if shecares about seeing them again. Rubi however, is able to get word toMurcielago where they're being held and he and his friends rescue thetwo women. Rubi goes to the arena so Loreta will know that it'salright to win. She does manage to win and after the bout, Chabelaagain sees Bernardo and gives chase. They struggle for a while andeventually Bernardo gets electrocuted.

It was unusual for Murcielago Velazquez to have asympathetic movie role. (He usually played the third thug from theleft.) But, as he wrote the script for Lobas, I guess he could pickany role he wanted.

This was the last Luchadoras film to star LorenaVelazquez. During an interview she gave to Santo Street, we askedLorena why she left the series after Lobas del Ring. "Rene Cardonahad encouraged me to be in the wrestling women films, but myboyfriend at the time didn't like the idea. It was his jealousy thatmade me stop being in the series." This film wasn't one of Velazquez'favorites. "I hated this movie because I had such a fat double. Ispent much of the picture trying to get her to stop eating but shewould eat, eat, eat all the time."


Mujeres Panteras

(Never released in an English-dubbedversion)


With Mujeres Panteras, the Wrestling Women seriesmoved back into familiar "fantastic" territory. It's plot includedmonsters, black magic and an ancient curse. Ariadna Welter replacesLorena Velazquez in the role of Loreta. She teams up with ElizabethCampbell's Rubi.

A group of panther women invoke the spirit of"Satanasa, the Goddess of Evil." They need her help in destroying thedescendants of the Pietra Santa family, who had been responsible forthe death of the Magician Eloim, whom the panther women worship.Three members of the family still survive, Professor Rafael PietraSanta, his son Ramon and Ramon's daughter Paquita. Ramon's girlfriendis Tonga, an exotic dancer. Ramon introduces Tonga to his wrestlingwoman friends, Loreta and Rubi. The professor owns a sword and crossthat belonged to the Druids. These items are useful in fighting theblack magic of Eloim and his followers. However, the prof isdispatched before he gets a chance to use them. Ramon's friends,Rubi, Loreta and a male masked wrestler known as "the Angel" arejoined by Captain Diaz of the police (Eric del Castillo, changingsides from Lobas del Ring) and his comical assistant (Loco Valdes).Tonga, actually one of the panther women, tries to kill hersweetheart Ramon, but She's interrupted by Paquita's arrival. Thepanther women don't want to harm the child because she's destined tobe sacrificed, in order to revive Eloim. Alas, this is only atemporary respite, as Tonga does indeed kill Ramon shortlythereafter. (The panther women have the quaint habit of sproutingclaws and howling at the moment that they kill.) Ramon's bloodrevives Eloim for a short time and he lumbers around as a zombie-likemonster. The panther women come for Paquita but she's wearing thatDruid cross, which repels them. Back at the wrestling arena, Rubi andLoreta prepare for a match. Unbeknownst to them, Tonga and anotherpanther woman replace their opponents, and plan to murder them in thering. Warned of this plan by the Angel, the police arrive and shootthe evil panther women just as they're spouting their claws. Thewounded Tonga, escapes, kidnaps Paquita and returns to Eloim's tomb.The Angel, armed with the Druid sword, arrives in the nick of time tosave the little girl and slaughters the remaining pantherwomen.

Alfredo Salazar, who wrote the script for MujeresPanteras, borrowed liberally from other luchador films, especiallySanto vs las Mujeres Vampiro (Samson vs the Vampire Women). The ideasof a resurrected evil entity, a family curse and replacing a maskedring opponent as a means of murder, were all used in the earlierfilm.

Ariadna Welter was no stranger to Mexican genrefilms. (She's also had some exposure in the U.S., since six of herfeatures have been dubbed into English.) She was the heroine in theclassic El Vampiro series, and starred in; El Baron del Terror (TheBrainiac), Cien Gritos del Terror (One Hundred Cries of Terror),Neutron vs los Asesinos del Karate (Neutron and the Karate Killers)and Espadachines de la Reina (The Queen's Swordsman). Ariadna alsoappeared with her sister (Linda Christian) in The Devil's Hand, aU.S. film released in 1961. In another Santo Street interview, weasked Ms. Welter what she thought about Mujeres. "I wish they wouldtake all the prints and shoot them off into space in a rocketship."(I guess she didn't like it.)

Perhaps Ariadna Welter has gotten her wish as bothMujeres Panteras and Lobas del Ring appear to be "lost" films. Thewere made too late to be included in the K. Gordon Murray packagesthat were dubbed into English in the early 1960s. And since both werefilmed in black and white, there's no demand for their release onvideo in Mexico. They therefore remain impossible to see. In fact, Ihaven't spoken to anyone who's seen either film in the last 20 years.Ms. Welters feelings not with standing, I would very much like to seeMujeres Panteras.


Luchadoras contra el RobotAsesino

(Never released in an English-dubbedversion)


Luchadoras contra el Robot Asesino introduces theviewers to two new wrestling women, Gaby (Regina Torne) and Gema(Malu Reyes). As this was the first of the wrestling women series tobe shot in color, it was also the first to be released onvideo.

Dr. Orlak, your typical loony scientist, makes arobot to help him with his dastardly schemes. Also assisting him arehis assistant Waldo and a Frankenstein-like monster named Carfax.Orlak is kidnapping scientists to help him perfect a device that willturn regular people into robot-slaves. One captured scientist balksat helping Orlak and he's unceremoniously killed for his refusal.This scientist's niece is Gaby, a popular female wrestler. She andher partner Gema, are joined by two policemen Arturo (JoaquinCordero) and Chava (Hector Lechugo) in their quest to bring thekiller to justice. They all go to Orlak's hideout where they'recaptured and fitted with special bracelets made of "Acridium." Thesebracelets subject them to Orlak's will, in effect making themhuman-robots. Gaby manages to remove her bracelet and she places iton the real robot. This causes the mechanical man to go berserk,wreck Orlak's lab and kill Waldo (as well as some of the captivescientists). The robot is finally destroyed and Orlak is mad (inaddition to being insane). He swears revenge on Gaby. This revengetakes the form of his latest creation, amasked-super-human-female-wrestling-robot named Electra. He sets up amatch with Gaby. During the bout, Orlak is discovered and he tries toescape. He and his creation climb to the top of the arena, where theyboth fall to their death.

As was a common practice during the late 1960s (infilms like, Santo en el Tesoro de Dracula) Luchadoras contra el RobotAsesino was also released in a pornographic version (with added nudefootage). The "sex" version was called El Asesino Loco y el Sexo, andwas exported for foreign markets only. The monstrous Carfax has anexpanded role in this version, as it is he who get's the tough job oftearing women's clothing off.

The top-billed Joaquin Cordero and Regina Tornewere new to the Luchadora series, but not to Mexican genre films ingeneral. Cordero starred in; La Loba, Orlak, el Infierno deFrankenstein, Monstruo de los Volcanes, a pair of Dr. Satan films andthe first two Santo outings. Torne showed up in; Los Canallas (withMil Mascaras), Blue Demon y las Invasoras, Rocambole vs las MujeresArpias, Pacto Diabolica and Senora Muerte (the last two with JohnCarradine). While not available in an English version, Luchadorascontra el Robot Asesino is well worth seeking out. There are farworse ways to spend 80 minutes.


El Horripilante Bestia Humana

(U.S. title, Night of the BloobyApes)


Las Luchadoras vs el Medico Asesino was remade(sort of) in 1968 as El Horripilante Bestia Humana (this must be oneof the weirdest films to be remade since the 1953 epic, Catwomen ofthe Moon was re-shot as Missile to the Moon). The new versionfeatures one wrestling woman instead of a pair and its villain ismuch more sympathetic, but it still has many of the usualelements.

During a match, Lucy (Norma Lazareno) throws heropponent Elena out of the ring. Elena sustains head injuries in theincident and is sent to the hospital. Meanwhile, in a seeminglyunrelated incident, Dr. Krauman (Jose Alias Moreno) and his deformedservant Goyo (Carlos Lopez Moctezuma) sneak into the zoo and steal agorilla. Dr. Krauman is called to the hospital to operate on theinjured wrestler, but before departing, he goes in to see hisbedridden son Julio. Krauman removes a bone fragment from Elena butthe prognosis for her recovery is not good. After the operation,Krauman has a meeting with some of his colleagues where he's told hisson's condition is hopeless and the young man has only has a shorttime to live. Krauman returns home and tells Goyo that it's time totry the emergency operation. They transplant the gorilla's heart intoJulio, in the hopes that the stronger animal's organ will be able todefeat his son's leukemia. (The operation is quite gory, it lookslike actual operation footage may have been used.) Julio's conditionimproves immediately. Back at the arena, Lucy has another match butshe's afraid of hurting her adversary, so she's beaten. Arturo(Armando Silvestre, returning to the series after a four-yearhiatis), her policeman boyfriend says, either stop dwelling on theaccident or quit the ring. She says she will quit, but after Monday'sfree-for-all event. This makes Arturo very happy. At the lab, Dr. K.has been waiting to see the final results of the operation. As Goyobrings his dinner in, Julio begins to transform into a hideous beast.He/it gets up from the bed, pushes the two men aside and escapes intothe night. Dr. Krauman and Goyo get their tranquilizer rifle and givechase. Wandering the streets, the monster see's a woman thru herwindow. He climbs in and surprises her in the shower. He tries torape her but can't seem to figure out how to do it. The encountergets more and more violent and eventually the woman is killed.Escaping back to the street, the monster hides as a small boyapproaches. He doesn't harm the child however. (The child seemed tosense that he's in no danger, as he has trouble keeping a straightface as he walks past the beast.) Dr. Krauman finally recaptures hisson. He says that since the operation affected Julio's brain, he'llhave to do another heart transplant (huh?). He wants to use a humanheart to counteract the gorilla heart's influence. He decides thatElena would be the perfect donor. Goyo points out that this would bewrong. The doctor agrees, but he has to save his son and Elena isdestined to be a vegetable anyway. The loyal Goyo agrees to help hismaster. They succeed in kidnapping the comatose girl, but Julio againescapes before they can do the second operation. He goes on anotherrampage, killing several men (including one by gouging out his eye)and tearing the clothes off more women. Dr. Krauman again finds Julioand brings him home. The second operation seems to go well as Julioregains human form. However, this transformation doesn't last verylong. He soon awakens as the snarling beast. The creature creeps downthe stairs, grabs Goyo's head and slowly rips it from it's deformedbody. When Dr. Krauman returns home, he's justifiably upset about themess on his new carpet. Julio confronts him and as the father backsaway, he trips and hits his head. The Julio-monster, gently picks uphis dad and lays him on a bed. Then he then goes out for a littlemore rape and murder. After several more gory killings, and a fewmore exposed breasts, the monster faints and again becomes human. Dr.Krauman (who has admitted that his son is the monster) and Julio aretaken to the hospital. Shortly after arriving, Julio transforms yetagain and kills some of the staff. Perhaps frustrated that he canfind no women to tear the clothes from, he grabs a little girl andheads for the roof. Arturo and Dr. Krauman follow him and the doctormanages to rescue the child from his monstrous son. The police openfire and Julio is finally put out of his misery. The distraughtfather begs his son's forgiveness and says, "I acted against thedictates of God." Later in Arturo's car, Lucy ends the proceedings bysaying, "It's unfortunate, really sad."

El Horripilante Bestia Humana was released in itsoriginal Mexican form and as, Night of the Bloody Apes (aka Horror ySexo). This dubbed rendition, for foreign markets, had added scenesof nudity and gore not present on the Mexican prints. Night of theBloody Apes seems to be the only sex-version of a wrestling filmavailable for viewing by today's fans.

The dubbing for Night of the Bloody Apes is betterthan usual, although there are a few classic lines. As the medicalexaminer inspects one of the monster's victims he says (in highlytechnical terms), "Boy oh boy, this ones been murdered, ripped topieces!" When Arturo give his theory of a half man/half beast killer,his chief says, "It's more probable that of late, more and more,you're watching on your television more of those pictures of terror".Then there's the strange case of Dr. Krauman who sometimes calls hisson Julio and at other times adresses him as (the correct)Hulio.

The most interesting member of the cast was CarlosLopez Moctezuma (Goyo). For many years he was one of the best knowncharacter actors in Mexican cinema, appearing in everything fromclassic films, (he's won the Mexican equivalent an Oscar for RioEscondido in 1947), to horror outings like Hombre y la Bestia andMaldicion de la LLorona (Curse of the Crying Woman). Moctezumausually played vile villains or psychotic killers, roles at which heexcelled. He was originally slated to play the vampire in AbleSalazar's El Vampiro, but the producer felt that his face was toorecognizable, so he was replaced by German Robles.

As you might notice from the synopsis, other thaninjuring Elena (and taking a couple of gratuitous showers) Lucy hasalmost nothing to do. She could work in McDonalds for all wrestlinghas to do with the plot. On the other hand, Dr. Krauman is a muchmore developed (and sympathetic) character than the average maddoctor. He's presented as a good father, who's downfall is caused bythe love for his son. There's genuine affection between Julio and hisdad and scenes of their interaction are often touching. Even theusually cliched part of the deformed servant, Goyo, is unusual. He'sportrayed as a moral and caring person, motivated by loyalty, not bymadness. These things make El Horripilante Bestia Humana less atypical wrestling film and more one of serious horror. Unfortunately,the original Mexican version seems to be unavailable. Without theadded gore killings and rapes, this would be a very solid effort. Andalthough it doesn't have the goofy charm of its predecessors, ElHorripilante Bestia Humana, too, is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, itwas the last film in the "Wrestling Women" series.


Mujer Murcielago (aka,Batwoman)

(Never released in an English-dubbedversion)


Though it's not part of the original "Luchadoras"series, one other title bears mentioning. Mujer Murcielagofeatures the beautiful Maura Monti as a bat-bikini-clad, femalewrestler. Ms. Maura appeared in numerous Mexican genre films in themid to late 1960s and then promptly disappeared from the screen. Shealso appeared in; Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras (withLorena Velazquez and Elizabeth Campbell), Las Vampiras (withJohn Carradine and Mil Mascaras) Invasion Increible (withBoris Karloff) as well as four "Lucha Libre" films starring Santo andBlue Demon (two with each) .

Mujer Murcielago, with its combination ofspies, a Creature from the Black Lagoon-like monster, super heroinesand mad doctors, is a typical Mexican production, in that itcontained a little of everything. It came out during the Batman crazeof the 1960s and will appeal to Batman fans and Mexicanhorror/wrestler fans alike.

Wrestlers begin to turn up dead on the beach. Dr.Williams (Roberto Canedo, in a similar role to his Dr. Ruiz from, LasLuchadoras vs el Medico Asesino) and his assistant Igor have beenkidnapping the wrestlers to secure glandular secretions. They'veexperimenting with these secretions on marine life to create a newlife form. We eventually see the result of these experiments, a tinyfish-man swimming around in a tank. Working from his yacht, theReptilicus (perhaps previously owned by Sid Pink), Dr. Williams makeshis creation grow to adult human size. He names the creature Piscis.Mario (a policeman), Tony (a secret agent) and Batwoman enter thecase. Batwoman finds Williams' yacht and she's almost captured onboard. In escaping, she throws acid on the scientist's face. Forrevenge, Dr. Williams decides to make her the "bride of thefish-man." Piscis is sent to kidnap her, but she's rescued on thebeach. However, Mario and a policeman are taken by the doc. Later,while trying to rescue them, Batwoman is also seized. She manages toput a special transmitter on Dr. Williams' coat (sort of a electronic"kick me" sign). This causes Piscis to attack his creator and wreckthe lab. In the confusion, the good guys escape, just moments beforethe yacht explodes.

Mujer Murcielago was also directed by ReneCardona, who clearly had a thing for sweaty women. If your taste runssimilar to Mr. Cardonas, by all means visit the bizarre world of LasLuchadoras.


I want to thank David Wilt, of the Mexican FilmBulletin, for his help on this article (and for the Sid Pinkjoke).

Where possible, I've reviewed the English-dubbedprints of the films.


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