BCI's recent release of CRYPT OF TERROR: HORROR FROM SOUTH OF THE BORDER, VOL 1 consisted of less familiar Mexi monsters films from the 1980s and 1990s. Here, with Volume 2, they go back to more desirable efforts from the 1950s and 1960s, but the package is a very mixed bag, as it rehashes titles previously released on the digital format, as well as a faux assurance on the back cover that the six films are “In Spanish with English Subtitles.” In actuality, all the films presented here are the English-dubbed versions, and a seventh title that was supposed to be included (according to early publicity materials), MASTERWORKS OF TERROR, was removed from this set before release. The reason could be rights issues or the fact that it’s Argentinean, not Mexican. Released in the U.S. by Jack H. Harris as MASTER OF HORROR, let’s hope this largely unseen yet interesting Poe anthology gets a DVD release someday!

The first disc consists of NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (1969) with CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (1961) on the flip side. BCI released these two together as a double-disc set in August of 2006, complete with both the English-dubbed and Spanish language versions. Here, we only get the dubbed versions, and as with their previous double set, the U.S. print of CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE used here is trimmed down to 69 minutes, even though it was originally shown here fully uncut. The bargain basement disc released by Beverly Wilshire contains the full-length version in English, even though the print is far inferior. For more on APES and CURSE, you can read our review of BCI’s 2006 double feature set HERE.

Moving on to Disc 2, Side A contains 1958’s THE NEW INVISIBLE MAN, directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna. Nice guy Charles Hill (Arturo de Córdova) is accused of a murder that he didn’t commit, and sentenced to a long prison term. In the meantime, his brother Lewis (Augusto Benedico) has been conducting invisibility experiments on various lab animals, and has succeeded in making a monkey transparent. When Charles is sent to a prison infirmary, Lewis injects him with his invisibility serum, thus giving him the opportunity to shed his clothes and escape without anyone noticing. Still wanted for murder, Charles is being pursued by the police, and his loyal fiancée Beatrice (Ana Luisa Peluffo) is always on hand to protect him. The invisibility naturally has its sinister side effects, while the Invisible Man finds himself in a number of perils, coming head to head with several questionable characters on the wrong side of the law.

THE NEW INVISIBLE man was dubbed into English and released directly to TV in the U.S., but not by K. Gordon Murray. The film takes from the literary source of H.G. Wells, but more precisely, Universal’s THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS, starring Vincent Price. As far as Mexican Fantasy and Horror movies go, it’s quite entertaining and well-paced, and even though the special effects tend to be awkward, they’re fun to look it. Our indiscernible hero stops a pick-pocket on a bus, prevents a drunken bully from robbing a boy’s dough, takes a few puffs on a floating cigarette, and applies special face make-up so that his lover can get some kind of visual. Some unintentional laughs come when Charles flees in a police uniform (it's obviously a short man sporting bulky clothes to give the illusion of an invisible head) and when a panic-stricken crowd tramples over a pathetic looking dummy doubling as a hapless citizen.

THE NEW INVISIBLE MAN is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio (which appears to be its intended format) in a messy but watchable transfer. The black and white print source is filled with lines and scratches, as well as pops and hiss in the English-dubbed mono track. Some of the imagery is on the soft side, but overall it looks ok, probably as good as it appeared on television way back before infomercials and corporate takeovers of local stations plagued the boob tube.

On the flip side of Disc 2 is SPIRITISM (1961), directed by Benito Alazraki. With a Ouija board on hand, a psychic holds a séance for a number of people and a woman named Mary (Nora Veryán) is warned that her future doings will inadvertently prevent her son Rudolph (exploitation director Rene Cardona Jr.) from getting married. Trouble then starts after the woman’s husband (José Luis Jimenez) gives her the deed to her house on their wedding anniversary. Young Rudolph requests money to start a crop-dusting business, which means mortgaging the house and further financial troubles. One night, a mysterious figure brings Mary a wooden box which will be able to grant wishes when opened. Unfortunately, this results in a “Pandora’s Box” of horrors for the ill-fated family.

Yet another Mexican fantasy programmer dubbed into English by K. Gordon Murray and released directly to TV by AIP, SPIRITISM is rather slow-moving but not totally uninteresting. It takes a while to reveal that this is another cinematic take on the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” but at least there is some good atmosphere and a decent human interest story to pad things out. Most eerie is a severed crawling hand (it inches across the floor with the help of a mechanical apparatus) which can’t be destroyed when tossed into a fire, and a family member who enters the house as a rotting corpse.

SPIRITISM was previously available on DVD from Beverly Wilshire with a transfer flooded with problems, mostly in the form of some kind of strange color distortion (and this is a black and white film!). BCI’s full frame transfer is a vast improvement, as the black and white picture is mostly sharp with decent detail and good black levels, and very little in the way of print damage, though there are still blemishes about. The mono English audio is acceptable, with occasional his and some pops.

Disc 3 consists of DOCTOR OF DOOM with WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY on the flip side. Two fun-filled classics of Mexican monster/Lucha Libre cinema, both were previously paired together in a disc released by Something Weird/Image Entertainment in 2003 which is still in print and includes some cool extras. BCI uses the same exact source prints, so if you want to read more about these films, check out our review of the 2003 disc HERE. (George R. Reis)