Something Weird Video // 1964 // 169 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // July 4th, 2003
Weirdos! We dare you to see it!
When there's something twisted in your temperate zone -- who ya gonna call?
That's right, when wicked evil do'ers spread their spores, south of the border, it takes spunky ladies in funky tights to thwart their insidious instincts. Like...
When a crazy mad scientist determines that the brains of common street trash females are not good enough for his hideous head experiments, he sends his henchmen out, along with laboratory blunder beast-man "Gomar," to round up some professional gal gray matter. They kidnap Alice, the sister of famous female fighter Gloria Venus, and open up her bouffant to see what goes on inside. But it turns out that even the most educated mademoiselle medulla oblongata cannot survive the sinister scoop and plop. So the crazed cranium crank decides that only strong, supple members of Mexico's G.L.O.W. will do. Gomar and the gang attack Venus and her new nemesis Golden Rubi. But after a few suplexes and one beaker full of acid to the face later, the deranged doc gets really P.O.ed. He decides to place his monkey man's brain in the body of the Fabulous Mulla, and before you know it, international stupid star "Vendetta" is born. This man made mauler takes on our twin titans of teased hair in an all-out third act padding, two falls and no time limit test of wills and skills and the attending audience just eats it up. Eventually, right and might defeats spite and the psycho surgeon and his glamazon are running away. While he may think he's the Doctor of Doom, thanks to Gloria and Golden, he's really just an Intern of Ineptness.
Meanwhile, the Black Dragon violence gang has been running around Hispania killing the less action hero oriented Indiana Jones types in hopes of finding the Codex of the ancient Aztecs, or maybe it's the Cold-eez of the ailing Archies. Anyway, they hope that with this piece of past life parchment, they can discover the exact location of the gold laden Treasure of the Sillia Movie. But unfortunately, and very much like a surprise 1999 blockbuster featuring a relatively unknown cast and some interesting CG work, the booty burial chamber is also the home of a mummy, who was given the old "living funeral" when he was discovered cheating on the head honcho's honey (apparently it doesn't only happen in Egypt). There's a curse, some ineffective policemen, and a lot of ersatz Asians running around doing inept chop sockey. But thanks to Golden Rubi and Gloria Venus (here assuming the identity of "Loretta" for obvious marketing reasons), these ornery Orient operatives will find more feisty flying drop kicks than fabulous wealth. That is, if they all can avoid the moaning, mouth breathing gauze ghoul and his relatively unclear motivations. But not to worry: When the match-up is The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, all odds are on the singlet sisters.
God bless the Mexicans and their love of all things wrestling. Not the over-glamorized Hollywood version of the grapple, mind you, with all its muscle-bound 'roid rage and soap opera storylines. No, we are talking about the real thing, the contusive and abusive Greco-Roman battles that create a down and dirty near-religious zealot style obsession within the country. The only entertainment many of these poor people can afford is the experience of watching paragons of questionable athleticism toss and kick each other across the square circle for untold minutes of merriment. For our southern neighbor, these physical fiestas are places where masked heroes and outrageous villains play their roles in an actual reflection of the tough existence within a third world nation. As a result, the resolute seriousness in which the characters take their headlocks and toe holds creates an aura of authenticity that is hard to beat, but thrash at it they try. It seems that when they transfer the wristlock onto motion picture screens, these seemingly noble contests of good vs. evil are required to be contained within all manner of monster, mummy, and maniac trappings. Seems like our supermen and women can't really prove themselves worthy unless they do it against creatures and creations from the realm of the superstitious and the supernatural. Only then can they truly be called champions. Thus we have Doctor of Doom and The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, two examples of human against hellspawn hilarious horror film that verifies and solidifies the notion of biological superiority conquering the unknown ethereal powers of evil. And just like anything else associated with takedowns and half nelsons, it walks the thin line between spectator sport and high camp. Thanks to these Mexicali confrontations, we get the added benefit of madcap monsters to magnify the amazement.
Some manner of ceremonial endorsement must also be awarded to K. Gordon Murray, the world cinema purveyor, for finding and financing the "Americanization" of titles like these for the horror and kiddie matinee market. A far more international version of the Asian oriented Sandy Frank, Murray scoured obscure overseas markets (the Eastern European and Russian Block, South and Central America) and came up with demented visions of popular fairytales and mythical monsters that seemed mined from a different planet, let alone nation. He understood that the unusual social and cultural components that went into these festive foreign films would, with a little help from horrible English translations and even worse dubbing, turn into fantastic flights of freaked out fancy. From demented visions of Santa Claus using child slave labor to Slavic stories of Norse numbskulls battling undead badgers, Murray purchased and repackaged many of the world's most bizarre pictures and sold them as Saturday afternoon fun fare for a '60s and '70s adolescent nation. And that is indeed the case here. Doctor of Doom and Aztec Mummy seem light years away from your typical man vs. manster Tinseltown ideal. A good analogy would be to imagine members of the Super Bowl Championship Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in full football regalia, battling oversized demonic Monkey Men in cheesy, flea ridden costumes, and you get a decent idea of what these films are like. Even better is the fact that, obviously, at some point during the matches and fistfights, far "bulkier" female forms magically appear and take over for the leading ladies as a kind of a star stunt double. Got to make sure the wrestling looks real. It's this "warts and all," anything to entertain approach to filmmaking that makes movies like Doctor of Doom and Aztec Mummy so enjoyable. You never know what's coming next, and even when it does, it hardly makes sense.
Something Weird Video does a decidedly strange thing with the release of this first in a proposed multi-disc K. Gordon Murray Collection. In a box, prominent on the back of the DVD case, is a warning about the films' print condition. Now it is true that these late night and Sunday afternoon UHF channel presentations have seen much better days, but they're not as bad as the admonishment makes them out to be. Are they pristine, clear, crisp black and white transfers with no grain or age defects? No. Are they monochrome atrocities? Absolutely not. They are good looking, better than broadcast TV prints that retain some of the old fashioned, dated charm of the films. SWV also preps us for possible future titles in the Murray menagerie with dozens of trailers and TV spots for other classics of foreign culture craziness, as well as an enclosed booklet that outlines the history and career of K. Gordon very nicely. But perhaps the best extra on the disc is the wonderful, inventive, and evocative offering of a NY/PA cable show called, of all things, Ghoul-a-Go-Go. This is a fantastic piece of nostalgia re-imagining for the modern day. Like such long lost kiddie monster shows as The Groovy Ghoulies and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Ghoul blends a standard '60s dance party format (complete with a wheel of fortune style step indicator) with archival stock footage and some weirdly compelling creature characters to create a thoroughly cool, hip, and oddly melancholy reminder of hazy lazy days in front of the TV watching BJ and Dirty Dragon, Ray Rayner, or Garfield Goose and Friends. Frankly, one can't say enough good things about this homemade haunted hoedown and this critic in particular is looking forward to more installments of Ghoul-a-Go-Go's monster mash on future SWV discs.
Similarly, there is a Family Classics / Shock Theater/Dr. Paul Bearer style wistfulness evident in films like Doctor of Doom / Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy. Even though they represent overseas/the border moviemaking at its most pedestrian and downright peculiar, they are both filled with enough goofy gaffes and accidental terror tickles to remind you of the times when Frankenstein was far out, the Werewolf was a wild man, and the summer seemed to last forever.
Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 169 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* TV Spots and Chill-O-Rama Trailers for other great K. Gordon Murray titles
* "The Wonder World of K. Gordon Murray" Booklet
* Episodes of the Monster Musical Kiddie TV Show
* "Ghoul A-Go-Go"
* Gallery of Exploitation Art for The K. Gordon Murray Collection with Music by the Chiller Theatre house band, The Dead Elvi!
* IMDb: Doctor of Doom
* IMDb: Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy
* Chiller Theater