Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rare Import Flix: Santo and The Treasure of Dracula

Stop me if you've heard this one.  In today's Film, a Masked Wrestler builds a Time Machine to help find some ancient treasure.  As it turns out, the Treasure belongs to Count Dracula.  I know- this Plot again!  The Film in question is Santo En El Tesoro De Dracula- at least in Spanish.  This is one that I have tried to find for a long time.  When I joined Netflix nearly 10 years ago, I added a whole bunch of Films to my Saved Queue- which was for Films with no set release times.  As of today, it is still not available from this service.  I had to think outside the box, so my Version was apparently aired on TV in Mexico.  I was going to make this work- dammit!  So let me backtrack a bit and touch upon El Santo.  I've discussed him in the past, so I'll be brief.  Much like how The Rock had crossover success from Pro-Wrestling, so did Santo.  The difference: Santo always played some idealized version of himself.  The man famously never unmasked and is allegedly buried in his mask.  Mind you, Bela Lugosi is often mentioned as being buried in his Dracula cape, while Criswell is also often mentioned as wearing it in Night of the Ghouls- a Film made after Lugosi's death!  Urban Legends are fun.  So, as mentioned before, Santo invents a time-machine and this makes him run afoul of Dracula.  Need I say more?  Since I think so, let me prove it...
El Santo here made a Time Machine.  It is just something that happened, apparently.
He needs a young person- preferably a woman- to use the machine.  It appears to work like in Quantum Leap- although this has a head-start on the Show by over a decade.

To be fair, I'm pretty sure Rene Cardona (Sr) was actually just ripping of The Time Tunnel.
The time they send her to has a big problem: Dracula.

Is he doing a Robichet?
Did I mention that this is a bit of an Exploitation Film at times?  Well, if not, it is.

On the plus side, I can scratch 'See Dracula interact with Mexican Strippers' from my Bucket List.
They do some odd things with the lore here, but that is kind of expected.  If you do Dracula without messing with the lore, you aren't trying!

He's repulsed by Mistletoe and appears to entrance this lady with his smoke (or worse).
Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by a mysterious man in a hood.  Why is he hiding his identity from his own lackey?  Why is he hiding his identity from his son...who knows who he is?
Around the halfway point, they bring the lady back to the present- to save her life.

They retrieve Dracula's necklace to help find his treasure, but are cornered by the villain.  They strike...an obvious bargain.  This is an El Santo Film after all...
After almost zero interaction between Santo and Drac, they get caught by him...or do they?
They defeat the monster and save the day, but seem pretty pessimistic about it  The End.
After all this time, it is...alright.  To be fair, I didn't expect this to be Citizen Kane.  I have seen El Santo before, so I knew what to expect.  The best thing: the goofy Plot.  El Santo makes a Time Machine, but sends a lady right into Dracula's arms.  What are the odds?  Why is Dracula in Mexico?  Why does he have a stash of Treasure from Transylvania with him?  So weird.  So fun.  The worst part: the lack of pay-off.  You have Dracula.  You have El Santo.  Why don't they fight?  All I can figure is that they hired a real Actor to play 'Dracula' and not a Wrestler.  On top of that, we have a different Villain in the form of an evil Scientist.  Did we need this?  It feels like Doctor Dracula, although he is in the Film too long to be a later addition like he was in that.  Having a second Villain is weird.  This should have been El Santo wrestling Dracula in his cave- but with a ring- for the fate of his friend's daughter.  As it is, it is fun, but not up to what it should be.  On the plus side, Santo's friend is a pimp...
Next up, a 2014 Film from a Director I really like.  With a strange Plot, does it suck or poke?  Stay tuned...

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