Santo vs Las Lobas (Santo vs the She-Wolves) (1972)

600full-santo-vs.-las-lobas-poster

Directed by Rubén Galindo and Jaime Jiménez Pons
Starring … well … Santo.

(Note: some sources give the date of this film as 1976 and I can’t be arsed to figure it out.)

When the fearsome Luba, Queen of the Werewolves, menaces a Mexican town, local bigwig Cesar Harker realises that the only hope is to turn to the heroic Santo. His reasoning: werewolves are vulnerable to silver, Santo’s mask is silver … erm …

But all is not as it seems, and Santo has to team up with a band of local allies to stop some kind of werewolf world-domination plot before he himself begins to become a beast.

What’s wrong with it?

  • It is cheap.
  • Every character is either an idiot or suspiciously knowledgeable.
  • If you’ve wrestled one werewolf, you’ve wrestled them all.
  • It is seriously about an hour too long. Honestly, if you’re going to make trash, you need to make lively, fast-paced trash. And yet I can’t bring myself to hate the length completely, for reasons I explain below.

What’s right with it?

  • It is surprisingly effective. There’s something about the whole grungy, slow, incoherent thing that produces a kind of weird off-kilter tension. One reviewer has described it as “a fever dream,” which is a charitable man’s way of saying “makes no fucking sense,” but the imagery is so … bizarre … that nonetheless it works on some level.
  • It has some reasonably good jokes, as when Santo’s not-well-explained sidekick Gitano (Carlos Suarez) finds himself under social pressure to down an endless series of shots at a party.
  • Santo has some amazing outfits. Behold:
Think style ... think Santo.
Think style … think Santo.

How bad is it really?

It’s not good, but it’s really enjoyable. I recommend putting this on in the background while you’re having a party or something. Unless you speak Spanish, you won’t gain anything by having the sound on anyway.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Harker sends a private investigator to persuade Santo to come and help. He tells Santo about the werewolf problem, and Santo reacts as if he’d just told him about a groundhog infestation, just completely unfazed. After all the crazy stuff Santo’s seen, I guess that’s not surprising. 

What’s up with…? 

Oh, where to begin…

  • Cesar Harker dying and being replaced by his identical twin (who doesn’t wear glasses)? It seems like it could have been left out altogether.
  • The whole character of Gitano? He just kind of appears out of nowhere and becomes Santo’s trusted ally. Maybe Mexican audiences would know who he was already.
  • OK, I know I’ve said this before, but really:

santostyle4

Ratings

Production values: 14. It’s got lots of extras and some fights, but it’s a low-budget Mexican wrestling movie, and not from the golden age either.
Dialogue and performances: 10. I’m giving this one a pass because I don’t speak Spanish and Santo wears a mask.
Plot and execution: 14. Pretty slapdash.
Randomness: 19. Dreamlike.
Waste of potential: 8. Does pretty much what it says on the tin.

Overall 65%

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