As soon as I finished watching the cult film "El Charro de las Calaveras" (made by Abel Salazar's brother Alfredo, who instantly became the "Mexican Ed Wood" with this, his first film as director), I wondered if they were trying to make a serial. Since the Charro alternately meets a werewolf, a vampire and a headless horseman, who are killing people in a few locations of the Mexican countryside, I wanted to know if each segment that conforms the motion picture had been exhibited separately, as I remember watching the so-called "episodios" during my childhood, every Saturday. "El Charro " was made with zero budget, in ugly locations and with paper maché masks that must have been rejected from the festivities of the Day of the Dead. It seems that its naïveté and clumsy execution have made its many admirers nostalgic of that "homemade", artisan cinema of the past. In truth this is understandable, in front of so much cinematic garbage filled with CGIs, and lacking soul and verve. But nothing excuses Alfredo Salazar's extreme carelessness: almost 80% of the action takes place during the night, but Salazar could not care less, everything is done in broad daylight, even when the moon is full One cannot help getting mad or laughing when the bat-faced vampire says something like, "¡Sunrise! The sun is bad for me," and runs away under a bright sun that projects his long shadow on the ground. But anyway, what stroke me is the lack of information in the internet, information from within the Mexican film industry or local film critics, about the genesis of this monstrosity and its avatars. Obviously there were changes, because after the Charro "fights" the werewolf he is fatter when he meets the vampire, the skulls in his costume change places in each segment, so does his mask, and the boy Perico that he adopted in the first segment, disappears in the second and is replaced by another one called Juanito, etc. Salazar was behind a few important horror movies made in México: the trilogy of the Aztec Mummy (which is the same film X 3, with a few additional scenes, but saved by its original idea of a mummy out of the Teotihuacán pyramids although I admit that thing scared the hell out of me when I saw it at 6); a few films with El Santo, an icon of Mexican people's culture; and especially "La bruja", a moving science-fiction melodrama with elements of terror that deserve attention. "El Charro de las Calaveras" was released on DVD, in a copy with good quality; it is a welcome addition to any collection of Mexican horror cinema, and a good choice to watch with friends in a night of spirits, smokes and other spices.
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