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Guanajuato is a Mexican town famous for the natural mummification that
happens to those buried in its cemetery, and the macabre exhibition of
the mummified corpses of the "Guanajuato Mummy Museum". Sources of
legends since its discovery, the Guanajuato Mummies were of course a
natural source for a horror film, and by the early 70s, movies starring
wrestlers became a very popular sub genre in the troubled Mexican film
industry, as the mystique and charm of the well-known athletes suited
perfectly a wide range of stories on almost every film genre possible,
including of course, horror. Among the many wrestlers that became
actors, Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras are probably the best and
most famous of them, and "Las Momias De Guanajuato" was the first movie
that gathered the three for a horror adventure.
In "Las Momias De Guanajuato", the Mummy of the legendary wrestler Satan awakes 100 years after his death, as Satan was also a powerful sorcerer who vowed to take revenge over the City of Guanajuato before dying. The only witness of Satan's awakening is a tourists guide named Pinguino (Jorge Pinguino), but sadly, nobody believes him, thinking he is drunk again. Decided to warn the City, Pinguino calls his friends, wrestlers Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras, but not even them (who are aware of the legend of Satan) trust him, as they think that the legend of Satan is just part of the wrestler's folklore. Only after a series of murders begins take place, the two warriors realize that Satan may be back after all, but it may be too late for the City of Guanajuato, as Satan's builds up an army of mummies decided to kill everyone in town.
Written by two experts of the sub genre (story by Rogelio Agrasánchez and script by Rafael García Travesi), the film was initially an adventure for Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras as a duo, but the idea of adding Santo to the team became attractive and literally at the last minute the legendary wrestler joined them for the last scenes. The concept of the film is really interesting, as it really uses the Guanajuato mummies in a very original and effective way. Almost like a comic book, the film is action packed and full of good entertainment; sadly, and also like the comic books that originated the wrestlers sub genre, the dialogs tend to be corny and a bit silly at times, creating some unintentionally funny moments.
Apropriately, director Federico Curiel was also a comic book artist, and so his fascination with the fantastic genres becomes very obvious in the film. Unlike other directors of films with wrestlers, Curiel approaches his plot knowing it's not material to be taken seriously, and so he seems to have fun directing his wrestlers in this supernatural adventure. Despite his lack of budget, Curiel makes inventive set-pieces taking advantage of the Gothic look of the City of Guanajuato, although sadly, his work with the actors is often disappointing (it could be said that he was more a visual director). In the end, his work in the film may not be perfect, but his style fits the plot nicely and overall makes an effective direction.
Personally, I always thought that while Blue Demon was an excellent wrestlers, was kind of lacking in the acting department; however, in "Las Momias De Guanajuato" he gives a nice job, considering that his character is arguably the main one, and the most complex of the three. Actor turned wrestler Mil Máscaras fares better, and while his role is more of a sidekick, he fills the screen with his natural charm and easygoing personality. Their female counterparts, Elsa Cárdenas and Patricia Ferrer are good, with Ferrer being the strongest of the two. Santo, the legendary wrestler only has a supporting role in this one, but again he proves that his charm and mystique were enough to make him the most popular wrestler in history. The acting of child actor Jilio Cesar is pretty forgettable.
As with most of the Mexican wrestler films, it would be easy to pick the flaws of the movie, starting with the special effects, that while looking really good in the dark, become incredibly fake under good lighting (which sadly Curiel uses a lot). I could go on naming flaws, but one has to consider that this film was intended to be like an adaptation of a comic book, more and adventure action movie than a serious horror film; and with the intention of being entertaining instead of scary. While never on the level of the Santo films by Alfonso Corona Blake, "Las Momias De Guanajuato" makes good, albeit kitsch, entertainment, and in the end, that's what it counts.
Probably there are better Mexican films to watch, but it's always good to watch "Las Momias De Guanajuato" as it doesn't disappoint when one wants a fun film. Sure, it has every flaw found in the low-budget Mexican films of the 70s, but unlike those movies, this film has heart. 6/10
Initially intended as a vehicle for Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras, both
whom had joined El Santo in making lucha libre films, MOMIAS ran into a
somewhere along the way.
Whether (as has been suggested) it was due to the writer being simply unable to resolve the plotline after many pages of keeping the two heroes from vanquishing their supernatural adversaries, or whether the producers decided to hedge their bets by bringing Santo into the production, the Man In The Silver Mask arrives at the literal last minute to solve their problem.
The ad art for the film seems to suggest this last-minute addition. While several mummy faces and Mil Mascaras' and Blue Demon's faces are obviously related in the artwork, Santo's face is painted against a different background, and off to one side.
The concept of the film is intriguing, in that Guanajuato, the city where the action takes place, is famous as the "home" of literally hundreds of mummified former residents. Already a macabre tourist attraction, and as monsters, aliens and other weird menaces had featured in a number of genre films to the time, these natural mummies seemed made to order for a wrestling horror film.
Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras are wrestling in the city of Guanajuato, which just happens to be where Mil's current girlfriend lives. When one of the larger mummies -- a magician -- vanishes, and several people are killed, the wrestlers investigate. At this point the idea of calling in Santo is proposed and is rejected by Blue Demon.
The magician, mow revived, awakens a number of the mummies into a lethal army. They begin a series of attacks in the city, complicating things when one of the mummies impersonates a kidnapped Blue Demon.
Things come to a head until the arrival of Santo. Fighting with the released Demon and Mil Mascaras, he can't overcome the living dead. However, he has three flame guns in his car. When Mil retrieves these, the trio make short work of the supernatural menace.
MOMIAS is possibly the most notorious of the lucha films, in that it stars the three most notable wrestler/actors of the lucha film boom. It's not bad as an action film, with some nice mood points, but the theme, played on a slightly jazzed-up organ, is anything but ideal for what is to come. Good, but not as great as it's rumored to be.
When a strange curse brings the mummified remains of a group of
warriors back to life in a small Mexican town, a group of masked
wrestlers are called upon to save them from the ever-growing menace.
This here is an immensely enjoyable and entertaining Mexican luchador film, this time graced by a triplicate of popular heroes as the three biggest stars in the genre band together to save the town, and that in turn leads to a lot of greatness in the film. From the opening scenes in the museum where the mummies are on display to their eerie rampages through town and a series of rather fun and impressive stalking scenes with their victims, this one manages to compile a nice atmosphere at times from the situation, since the central storyline and what goes on are a lot of fun from time to time. There's also a never-ending series of action in here, with the wrestlers called upon to brawl and fight with the creatures pretty constantly, and by utilizing their wrestling moves against the lumbering creatures, there's a lot of good cheesy fun to be had from the situation and that is well-served in the finale, where it's highly enjoyable and packed with action as the three unite together to fight off the invading horde with more than just fists, which is cheesy-heaven. The look of the mummies might be the only flaw here, since they obviously look pretty bad and easily-discernible as fakes, but the designs are cool enough to be overlooked. All in all, this turned out to be a fairly enjoyable entry.
Rated Unrated/PG-13: Violence and Language.
I was part of a family audience in Guanajuato when I saw this. Great
scenes of the city, great mummies with decomposing faces. Almost a
spoof, none of the children around me seemed scared. Includes scenes of
the seamy side of Guanajuato. Techniques borrowed from all over the
place, technically good for a low budget film. After reading the other
review, I know why lucha libre played such a prominent part in the
The one child actor wasn't up to snuff but his presence probably adds to the appeal of the plot for children.
Two beautiful Mexican actresses of very different physical types and a midget guide to the museum stood out in the cast.
THE MUMMIES OF GUANAJUATO may not be the BEST of the "Masked Wrestlers vs. The Supernatural" genre, but it's by no means the WORST, either. For one thing, it boasts not one but THREE Masked Men: Mil Mascaras, Blue Demon, and El Santo himself. If you count Blue Demon's doppelganger, you've got FOUR Heroes for the price of one. Throw in some VERY photogenic locations and some Real World mummies and you just can't go wrong. (Well, you CAN, but the filmmakers don't...) Like most of these movies, THE MUMMIES OF GUANAJUATO is a (clearly) Low Budget affair, with all that that entails- but it's nonetheless Entertaining; and that's what it's all about.
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