Director: Miguel M. Delgado
Rise Above Entertainment

While the buddy acting team of wrestlers Santo and Blue Demon were on a role in the early 70s, this effort proved that the Mexican audiences had not grown tired of famous monsters and mad scientist themes. This film has a 100+ year-old Dr. Irving Frankenstein finding a formula for youth and living in 1970s Mexico as a James Bondesque villain performing obscene brain transplants.

Dr. Frankenstein (Jorge Russek) is seen performing a brain transplant on two young women, with further hopes to restore his dead wife (kept preserved in a glass case). The experiment is deemed a failure, but the good doc unleashes the two ladies as mindless zombies (their heads wrapped in bloody gauzes and dark circles around their eyes) to terrorize their worried relatives and show the media the kind of bastard their dealing with. Later, a pretty lab assistant named Alicia (Sasha Montenegro) is kidnapped. She has ties with Santo and Blue Demon since her father was also a professional wrestler.

The police decide to put two attractive female detectives on the case, and in a hilarious moment, their faces are planted on the front page of a newspaper with a full scoop on the investigation for Frankenstein to see. Santo and the Blue Demon fight Frankenstein's thugs, then after Santo (whose brain is wanted for a transplant!) escapes a triumphant bait and switch for Alicia, another plan for the villains comes to play. In one of the most absurd moments in the Frankenstein legend, the mad doc poses as a masked wrestling manager, and has his mute black zombie brute Golem (who looks incredibly like American wrestler/actor Tiny "Zeus" Lister) to destroy the comparatively diminutive Santo in the ring.

SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. DR. FRANKENSTEIN is not the best of its kind, but it still has a lot of elements that make it fun--from the mod secret laboratory to the crazy experiments within it and the usual Mexi monster/wrestling hokum. There are two separate tag teams matches with Santo and Blue against maskless wrestlers--this was a common pattern in these films and a suspiciously clever padding device. Mexican monster fans will easily recognize plot elements from earlier films like Rene Cardona's DOCTOR OF DOOM which shared the same writer, Alfredo Salazar.

SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. DR. FRANKENSTEIN is presented on DVD for the first time with English subtitles (over its original Spanish dialog), and if you've sat through countless Mexican monster films without them (like I have), this is long overdo and I'm glad Rise Above Entertainment is releasing an entire series on DVD. Colors are strong, but the full frame presentation suffers from some print damage in an otherwise adequate transfer. Extras include "The Best of Santo" which is about two minutes of clips from various Santo adventures (some which we hope Rise Above will release on DVD), trailers for the new Santo film (SANTO: INFRATERRESTRE) and a newly-created one for SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. DRACULA AND THE WOLFMAN, and a still gallery. David Wilt writes the excellent liner notes which discusses the actors in the film and Frankenstein in Mexican cinema. (George R. Reis)