Los Autómatas de la muerte (1962)

Nagyon "aranyos" mexikói lucha libre filmet sikerült megkaparintanom a napokban, amelyről a "The Land of Cerpts and Honey" blog-on olvastam még kicsit korábban. A blog ismertetője a filmről igen jól sikerült, úgyhogy én most kihagynám a saját vélemény leírását...

This is the dubbed US version of the original Mexican wrestler/monster "lucha libre" film entitled "Los Autómatas de la muerte" from 1962. Perhaps it's just me and my extreme brain damaged state but I'm a sucker for those Mexican wrestlers battling monsters; films epitomized by the iconic El Santo (The Man in the Silver Mask). The immense love the Mexican populace held for El Santo is something that cannot be adequately understood by the rest of us. Suffice it to say that El Santo was a national institution and his countless movies combining masked wrestling bouts with monsters, aliens and robots are something that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Santo was the undisputed king and no other masked wrestler could approach his success; not occasional partner Blue Demon, not Las Luchadoras (the Wrestling Women). . .and CERTAINLY not Neutron. However, this third Neutron film is just as much fun, I think, as any of the others in this strange genre. But Neutron is, in one respect, a standout and unlike every other Mexican wrestling film star -- INCLUDING El Santo.
All the other "lucha libre" films starring El Santo and his ilk had one thing in common; a fact pointed out to me by Pete Tombs in his indispensable book on weird world cinema "MONDO MACABRO". El Santo and the rest wore masks but were never like Batman, for instance, in that they had no "secret identities". El Santo never changed out of his mask; in fact he slept in it and had dinner wearing it. Batman swung home, doffed his cowl and became playboy Bruce Wayne. Santo was ALWAYS Santo. When he was on the trail of vampire women, pummeling someone in the wrestling ring or driving his Jaguar to the supermarket. . .Santo was Santo and that was it. He was a pro wrestler who also happened to battle monsters. Neutron, however, was different in that he apparently was the only "masked wrestler" in the lucha libre films who wasn't actually a wrestler; he was an actor named Wolf Ruvinskis who might be cut but had never been a wrestler in his life. This fact can be divined by watching his fight scenes. Therefore, it really isn't correct to lump this film in with all those Santo and other Mexican wrestler movies since Neutron is really just a superhero and not a wrestler. A running theme in NEUTRON VS. THE DEATH ROBOTS is that the police (and everyone else) is trying to guess the "secret identity" of Neutron; the candidates are three losers who are all trying to date the same nightclub singer (and, for lack of another candidate, the heroine of the film).
But enough about these three guys and the goil because nobody REALLY cares about them, right. All we care about is Neutron and his arch enema. . .er, enemy Dr. Carrot. . . um, I mean, Dr. Caronte. It seems that Neutron has battled Dr. Caronte in the previous movie (which I've not seen). Dr. Caronte and his diminutive demonic dwarf assistant Nick (whose voice is dubbed into English sounding EXACTLY like Saddam Hussein in the South Park movie!) are trying to build a neutron bomb to go boom. For an evil genius out to destroy the world, Caronte is awful motherly to Nick. When he's not threatening to kill Nick for bungling a mission, Dr. Caronte constantly holds the dwarf's hand as they cross a room and helpfully lifts Nick up onto tables as if he was Shirley Temple! Caronte (who is garbed in a white wrestler mask, white surgeon's smock, white Aquaman gloves and white leotards!) has moidered three scientists, removed their brains, combined them into one big blob of a brain (Donovan's???) and is now controlling their thoughts inside a big tank (hey, it IS Donovan's Brain territory, innit?) in order to get their "secret formulae" for building a neutron bomb. But there are some pieces missing and Caronte goes after another scientist to pull his plan together. Oh, just in case you were planning on building your OWN neutron bomb, here are the formulae the brains provided: "XR2 combined with MP5, NN8 with 2 parts ZQ, and KH2 in proportion with MWA & XA8." OK, go get started!
The mad Dr. Caronte has also built a bunch of "death robots" to do his bidding and kidnap various and sundry victims. These guys really shouldn't be called "death robots", though, since that leads one to picture them as metallic robots which they are not. They are really more like Frankenstein's monster combined with zombies. Oddly, Dr. Caronte's method of "cooking up" his death robots is actually quite reminiscent of 1910's Thomas Edison production of "FRANKENSTEIN" in which the monster is "formed" inside an oven. Dr. Caronte has a series of easy bake ovens along his lab wall in which he essentially bakes a zombie. Not all the time, though, is the evil doctor successful. One of his death robots fails to form inside the "oven" and resembles a pile of cow flop. I hesitate to call them "ovens", though, since it appears to be very cold in there like a deep freeze; Caronte and Nick are seen to wipe the viewing windows on the "oven" door because they appear to be frosted over. The three brain combo in Caronte's tank is nicely nourished by fresh blood. This allows the death robots to have a little fun on the side by killing and draining victims to provide for the constant changes of fresh blood required by the tri-brain. Marks on the victims' necks lead the cops to suspect a vampire is on the loose. You or I would encourage this misconception to throw the police of our trail, wouldn't we? Especially since everyone believes Dr. Caronte to be dead from the previous film. He was supposed to have been blown up by a bomb, I believe. Sadly, this would-be strategy is blown when Caronte's "calling card" is left by each corpse! For an evil genius, Dr. Caronte ain't too bright! From the dialogue we hear in this film, it appears Caronte went to some trouble to make it appear he was dead; a badly damaged corpse is found that everyone believes is Dr. Caronte. Then, the first thing he does in THIS movie is to loudly proclaim he's alive after all by leaving his calling card by the victims! Neutron and the police COULD have spent the entire film running around looking for non-existent vampires while Caronte would have been left unmolested to complete his nefarious plan. Dr. Caronte: evil genius or twit? You decide.
Dr. Caronte also ups the mischief quotient by having one of his "death robots" masquerade as Neutron himself in order to get the police to chase after the real Neutron and try to arrest him. Who woulda thought one of these creatures was buff enough under his sackcloth to sling on a black mask with lightning bolts on it and be mistaken for the great Neutron?!? This is just one of the deliriously daffy doings that populate this marvelous mess of a movie. Another oddity about this movie is that, despite the fact that it's only an hour and 9 minutes long, it has about 5 musical numbers in it. The typical Santo film has a few actually wrestling matches interspersed throughout but, since Neutron ain't a real wrestler, I guess the filmmakers decided we'd better throw in 4 or 5 songs performed mostly by the nightclub singer heroine but also by a male group I like to call the Mexican Mills Brothers. So many songs intertwining in an already short film might test the patience of the lucha libre lover but the songs are actually all quite short and didn't make me want to throw a shoe at my telly. So that's something, right?!?
The special effects. . . .well. Dr. Caronte's lab set is a two story affair which actually looks pretty good as these movies go. It's got all (or most) of the typical Kenneth Strickfaden-inspired blinking paraphernalia and realistic-looking stone walls. The three brains Caronte's has liberated from the skulls of his three professorial victims looks appropriately yucky; in fact, I believe they might be real brains -- obtained from the local morgue maybe or perhaps they're calf's brains from the local deli?!? Anyway you slice 'em, they're effective as all getout and I liked 'em. The death robots really only have makeup on their heads and this consistes of a mostly featureless mass of muck where their faces should be and a shaggy Beatles moptop wig. The English dubbing, of course, is totally silly and makes the entire film even wackier, I suspect. All this goes toward providing us with a bizarrely silly movie which is quite entertaining. And God knows, it's much better than Forrest Gump! I must, in all fairness, call attention to the fact that the film is actually quite nicely shot by cinematographer Fernando Colín (who also lensed several Santo flicks as well as a few Nostradamus movies starring German Robles. NEUTRON AND THE DEATH ROBOTS has many interestingly composed shots quite nicely lit as well. All in all, the movie proved to be a pleasant surprise to me the first time I saw it and I think it's well worth your time if you're at all interested in Mexican genre cinema and lucha libre films in particular.