Director: Gilberto Martínez Solares
Alter Films/Hannover House

As a kid thumbing through issues of Famous Monsters and Monsters of the Movies, fantastic images that really sparked my curiosity were from a film called "Santo y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos" (Santo and Blue Demon VS. the Monsters), depicting masked wrestling super heroes fighting the traditional Hollywood monsters. Of course, a film of this ilk was nowhere to be found, unless you happened to catch it on a late-night UHV Spanish-language channel, and even then you'd have to contend with lousy reception and not knowing what the hell was going on. But through that miracle we call DVD, the film has now been unleashed for the Latino audience, but also includes English subtitles for all monster maniacs to enjoy.

Delirious and silly, yet never dull and always amusing, SANTO Y BLUE DEMON CONTRA LOS MONSTRUOS is the ultimate mix of masked wrestlers vs. monsters mayhem. The plot involves the death of an evil scientist, who is brought back to life by a bald dwarf and his small army of lime greasepainted zombies. The scientist is out to get his kind brother and niece (who happens to be Santo's current flame) and he does this by reviving a number of familiar monsters, as well as making a duplicate of wrestler Blue Demon. The real Blue Demon remains lying on a slab (until the fiery climax), while the carbon copy does dirty work and even gives a licking to Santo.

Never have more monsters been gathered for one Mexican monster romp, and although they are individually disappointing to look at, collectively they create excitement with mind-boggling camp. There's a traditional Frankenstein monster (a tall actor wearing a Don Post rubber mask with added goatee), a wolf man (an ugly guy with white beard wearing fangs and false putty nose), a vampire (fangs, cape, top hat and "Mr. Spock" ears), a mummy (a very skinny one at that), a sexy vampire woman (actually two of them, both sporting skimpy black attire), and a clumsy Cyclops creature (in a costume recycled from an earlier Mexi-monster flick called SHIP OF MONSTERS). There's also a disturbing little rubbery creature with a bulging, exposed brain (also resurrected from SHIP OF MONSTERS), but he doesn't do much but stand around in the background.

The monsters are seen disrupting a wrestling match (after Santo unknowingly competes with the vampire, in wrestling mask disguise) and later invade a restaurant where the patrons view stock footage from a Mexican musical spectacle. There's lots of fights, car chases, and much of this is filmed with a sped-up camera effect, making the whole affair even more surreal. Most of the action takes place on location, but naturally there's a castle full of electronic equipment that acts as the monsters' liar and home to the mad scientist. Unlike most Santo/Blue Demon fantasy efforts, this one has more gore than usual. The Frankenstein monster is seen crushing a teen's head with his foot, the wolf man devours the parents of a scared-shitless little boy, and the conclusion contains some bloody Hammer-inspired vampire stakings. SANTO Y BLUE DEMON CONTRA LOS MONSTRUOS is brainless, comic book thrills that will not disappoint anyone who likes the monsters piled high and don't always take themselves or their cinema too seriously.

Alter Films has marketed the disc mainly to the Spanish-speaking audiences (no English is found on the packaging or the menus), but thankfully, you can view the film with English subtitles. The full frame image presents what is easily the best-looking color Santo film on DVD. Although there is some minor print damage, colors are often bold (almost reminding one of the look of Image's release of NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES) and detail is excellent. The mono Spanish audio is perfectly carried out, and the English subtitles are big, white, and easy to read. The disc has some very colorful menus, which will take you to some photo galleries and bios (all in Spanish). The only bad thing is that there are forced trailers for other Spanish-language releases that play before you get to the actual menu--and you can't override them.

SANTO Y BLUE DEMON CONTRA LOS MONSTRUOS might not be sitting at your local Best Buy or Circuit City, and it's even hard to find online, but you can try CD Universe who have it for sale at a bargain price, and it's highly recommended. (George R. Reis)