Masked Mexican wrestling superstar Santo had faced a mummy before in SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. THE MONSTERS, and the mummy (or "La Momia") has always been a popular fixture in Mexican horror. SANTO IN THE VENGEANCE OF THE MUMMY ("Santo en la Venganza de la Momia") is a horror adventure with a cheat ending which I remember tuning into several times on Spanish UHF channels back in the 70s and 80s. Of course all these years later, I now at least get an English translation on DVD.
After Santo and his red-hooded partner defeat two huge Italian wrestlers, he is called to join an expedition led by Professor Romero to explore some ancient ruins. Many are brought along for the trip, including a zany older professor, an excitable chef, two attractive ladies, a manly hunter, an old Indian guide and his cute little grandson, Jorgito. The tour is lead to a tomb to find the mummy of Nonoc, an ancient Indian warrior who was buried alive in his tomb for trying to carry of a would-be sacrificial virgin (this is explained in a flashback, also common in English-speaking mummy movies).
Nonoc is now apparently pissed off for having his tomb defiled, and members of the expedition are being knocked off, one by one. Santo doesn't believe that the mummy is up and about despite everyone stating otherwise (it was easier for Lou Costello to convince Bud Abbott of a monster on the loose), and it later shows up stiff and laying in a tent. Even though the thing is stabbed multiple times in front of Santo, the mummy--with rubbery skeleton face and fancy native Indian threads--manages to sling arrows at much of the cast.
SANTO IN THE VENGEANCE OF THE MUMMY is one of the few films that Santo got a producing credit on, and although paced with a lot of action, the proceedings become pedestrian in the unpredictable hands of Cardona. Santo really shows his heroic side here, showing off while wrestling a panther, using such bold language as "bastard" to describe the murder culprit, and sentimentally promising to adopt young Jorgito (who is played by Santo's real life son, and a future wrestler himself) after his grandfather is offed. Making for OK Saturday afternoon entertainment, the film is afflicted with phony studio-bound sets, silly dialog ("fear is a bitch, Santo") and some annoying characters you can't wait to see arrowed to death. Look carefully during a fast-pan transition edit, and you can witness a crew member dead center on screen!
Rise Above Entertainment presents SANTO IN THE VENGEANCE OF THE MUMMY on DVD for the first time to a U.S. audience, and it contains optional English subtitles over the original Spanish language dialog. The fifth Santo title the company has released, the full frame image looks good with little print damage apparent and the color palette is satisfactory. The Spanish mono audio is rendered fine with no noticeable defects.
Extras include (again) "The Best of Santo" which is about two minutes of clips from various Santo adventures, a trailer for the new Santo film (SANTO: INFRATERRESTRE) a newly-created one for SANTO AND THE BLUE DEMON VS. DR. FRANKENSTEIN, and a black & white still gallery with more photos than usual. Excellent liner notes by David Wilt are included in an insert booklet, and he gives some interesting information about the various cast members. (George R. Reis)
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