Friday, October 30, 2009

Santo in The Treasure of Dracula (1969)



Santo in the Treasure of Dracula (24 July 1969) is a
Mexican Film directed by René Cardona (Santa Claus,
La Horripilante bestia humana, Las Luchadoras contra
la momia) and written by Alfredo Salazar (The Robot
vs. the Aztec Mummy, Las Luchadoras contra la momia,
Las Luchadoras contra el médico asesino).



Music By Sergio Guerrero (Chabelo y Pepito contra los
monstruos, El Beso de ultratumba, El Miedo no anda en
burro).



Produced by Guillermo Calderón (Santa Claus, La Horripilante
bestia humana, Las Luchadoras contra el médico asesino).



Any fans who have collected generously illustrated vampire
cinema books surely recognize pictures from a particular
movie. The photos in question depict a suave Dracula
positioned against a line-up of abundantly-bosomed
topless beauties. It looked as though Russ Meyer had
directed a vampire pic, but the title in question was the
Mexican-made "El Vampiro y el Sexo," which literally
translates to "The Vampire and the Sex"(!).



"El Vampiro y el Sexo" actually turns out to be the more
adult version of SANTO IN THE TREASURE OF DRACULA,
a spicier variant (reportedly created for export purposes)
with alternative nude scenes. This version is yet to surface
(damn!), but the standard Mexican cut has arrived on
DVD, for the first time with English subtitles!.



Aside from being a great wrestler, El Santo is also an
Einstein-type genius who has just invented a time
machine. He tells of his invention before a gathering
of scientists, but I imagine it's hard to take a beefy
guy wearing a mask and sports jacket seriously, so
they doubt Santo. The friendly Dr. Sepulveda (Carlos
Agosti) believes in Santo, and is willing to be his
time-traveling guinea pig. Santo suggests that a
woman would be more ideal (for some scientific
reason), so Sepulveda's daughter Luisa (Noelia Noel)
volunteers. Garbed in a Ziggy Stardust silver jumpsuit,
Luisa is transformed back into time.



We then see a nightgown-garbed Luisa falling into a
bed, a century earlier. She is now the daughter of
Professor Soler who is worried about her health and
inquiring about two bite marks on her neck. Professor
Van Roth arrives, and clearly being a "Van Helsing"
type, mentions vampirism as the culprit, wanting to
fight off the undead with mistletoe. There is also a
neighbor who goes by "Count Alucard," and even in
Spanish-language films, Alucard spelt backwards
means trouble. He of course is Dracula (Aldo Monti)
and wants to make Luisa one of his vampire brides.



Resting in his lair, Dracula gets staked, but before
the same is done to Luisa, she is plunged back to
the present safe and sound, as Santo was able to
view the whole experience on television, different
camera angles and all. Not only has Santo invented
a time machine, but he has also mastered
multi-angled closed circuit TV (through time and
space) without the necessity of cameras.



Meanwhile, a hooded stranger (alas, "The Black Hood")
had sneaked into the house and was also watching the
events, and he wants to abuse the information to find
Dracula's gold treasure for himself. Santo also needs
to find the jewels (hidden in a coffin) to prove that his
time machine works. This all leads to a brawl in
Dracula's crypt with Santo and friends against the Black
Hood and his gang, as well as a wrestling match to
decide who will obtain the vampire's valuable ring-
-which offers information on the missing treasure (this
plot device was also employed in WRESTLING WOMEN
VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, penned by the same screenwriter).



The Black Hood later releases Dracula, unleashing him in
the modern world. Luckily, Santo's wrestling buddies are
quick for a favor and handy with dynamite.

SANTO IN THE TREASURE OF DRACULA is a fairly
entertaining, if somewhat confusing take on the legend.
Santo seems to take a back seat in this one, and has to
play off silly comic sidekick Perico (Alberto Rojas), an
irritating Jerry Lewis wannabe with huge eyeglasses and
a bulky dollar sign necklace. Santo's straightman act is
actually funnier then anything Rojas does, and the film
also has some unintentional humor. This can be
witnessed when Professor Roth's observance of Dracula
not having a reflection in the mirror. Dracula then
smashes the full-size glass and comely recovers by
declaring his hatred of mirrors to the unaffected professor.



Monti (who again essayed the role in SANTO AND THE
BLUE DEMON VS. DRACULA AND THE WOLF MAN) seems a
good choice for Dracula, somewhat resembling onetime
007 George Lazenby. Loaded with the expected fog
machines and clumsy rubber bats, the film has a nice
amount of atmosphere, emerging as a homage to Universal,
Hammer and even the then-current "Dark Shadows"
daytime soap opera.



Rise Above Entertainment has released SANTO IN THE
TREASURE OF DRACULA full frame on DVD in its original
Spanish language with English subtitles. Even though the
film was shot Eastmancolor and originally released that
way in Mexico, this is the now more common black and
white version. The quality here is acceptable, though the
conversion of the color photography to B&W causes
some darkness, grain and loss of detail in spots. Black
and white actually suits the film well, resembling the
early 60s Mexican horror films, but a title sequence
intended to show oozing red blood (similar to that of
Hammer's DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE) is
left murky and looses its intended effect. The Spanish
mono audio is adequate on the whole.



Extras include "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. DRACULA AND THE WOLF MAN, and a modest still
gallery (no pics from the nudie version). David Wilt
again writes the informative liner notes include in an
insert booklet.

>>Cast:

-Santo - Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata
-Aldo Monti - Count Drácula
-Noelia Noel - Luisa
-Roberto G. Rivera - Dr. Kur
-Carlos Agostí - Dr. César Supulveda
-Alberto Rojas - Perico
-Pili González - Paquita
-Jorge Mondragón - Professor Soler
-Gina Morett - Lupe, the maid
-Fernando Mendoza - Professor Van Roth

>>Shooting Locations:

1. Coyoacan, México D.F., Mexico.
2. Desierto de los Leones, Estado de México, Mexico.
3. Xochimilco, México D.F., Mexico.

Fonts:
Dvddrive-in
Imdb.

2 comments:

Shawn Robare said...

Just wanted to take a second and thank you for all the effort you put into your countdown this year. Happy Halloween!

MANDRA said...

Oh, Thank you so much Shawn! Greetings from Draculand. Happy Halloween (Feliz Día de los Difuntos)!! XD