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Experimenting in hypnotic regression to past lives, Dr. Almada discovers that his fiancée, Flor, is the reincarnation of an Aztec maiden who was put to death for loving an Aztec warrior, her body placed at the entrance to a hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid of Yucatan where the treasures of the Aztecs were hidden, and her lover mummified but cursed to remain alive and guard the treasure. With her recovered memories, Flor is able to lead Almada, his wimpish assistant Pincate, and her father to the now-skeletal remains of the maiden. Attached to them is a golden breastplate with a map detailing the route to the treasure. But to their horror, the party is intercepted by the mummified warrior, Popoca, and flee with the breastplate back to Mexico city. Popoca follows. In the meantime, Prof. Krup, an unscrupulous colleague of Almada's, recruits a gang of thugs, whom he leads from behind a mask and known only as "The Bat". Both Krup and his gang, and the mummy, converge on Flor's house to ... Written by
Rich Wannen <RichWannen@worldnet.att.net>
I didn't quite know what to expect from the "Aztec Mummy" trilogy, a typically wacky Mexican variant on a classic horror theme. This first entry proved quite a surprise: a highly entertaining confection which, apart from delving into ancient Aztec lore, also incorporates elements of science-fiction and gangster dramas into the fray!
The distinctive Aztec temples and (overstretced) rituals seen here provide an exotic alternative to the Egyptian examples we'd seen in previous Mummy movies. The background to the curse is still the same, however a girl intended for sacrifice (played by Rosita Arenas, whose other Mexi-horror titles include starring roles in classics such as THE WITCH'S MIRROR  and THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN ) is caught in the arms of a warrior, for which he's condemned to be buried alive; centuries later, when his lover's tomb is desecrated, he awakens to eliminate those responsible.
The sci-fi trappings are put across with a good deal of persuasion (since they involve reincarnation, this section bears a striking resemblance to Roger Corman's contemporaneous THE UNDEAD ), while the crime-lord involved is a masked figure referred to as "The Bat" (most probably inspired by the 1926 Roland West film of that name or its sound remake, THE BAT WHISPERS ) his presence is initially intriguing, but the ultimate revelation of his identity beggars belief. Among the secondary characters, then, are a cowardly medical student who acts as comedy relief and is quite amusing (even so, the very need for it betrays the fact that the Mexican horror film was still in its infancy at this point in time), and a kid ostensibly the hero's (much) younger brother who brings absolutely nothing to the table except that he's always being scolded by his elders for following them around!
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the film was considerably dissipated by the dire quality of the print included on BCI/Eclipse's 3-Disc Set. I didn't mind so much the softness of the image, the rather low audio or the occasional missing frame but, then, I was intensely annoyed by scenes that were set in complete darkness where it was virtually impossible to tell what was going on. Considering that these include the exploration of the tomb, all the footage of the rampaging mummy and the climax, it felt like I only watched half a film without even the benefit of getting a good look at the titular creature!!
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