One of the problems with doing Lucha Libre Theater as a regular feature has always been my ability to find the movies that I needed to watch, but dubbed into English so I could understand, as much as possible, the plot of these gems.
Well, thanks to the fine folks over at El Rey Network, that is no longer a problem.
You see, in the tradition of television creature features of days gone by, El Rey is now showing a lucha libre movie every Saturday night. I’ve been accumulating them so I could revive Lucha Libre Theater and here we are.
So, let’s get to it shall we? The first movie El Rey presented was a banger – Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man.
The plot of the movie is pretty simple. Santo, aided by Blue Demon, must protect the last remaining members of the Cristaldi family from the resurrected menace of Dracula and the Wolf Man.
You see, a Cristaldi ancestor had ended the monsters’ reign of terror using a magical dagger, but, as always, some cult of morons thought it would be a good idea to keep the remains of Drac and Rex (the Wolf Man) around until the time was right to bring them back.
That time was apparently 1973.
Don’t believe me? Check out Rex’s disco loup garou look.
That dude on the left is Eric. He’s a hunchback and/or has a limp depending on the scene. He’s the Renfield of the piece. Tremble in fear before Eric.
As it turns out, Santo and Blue Demon aren’t very good at their job. Professor Cristaldi gets killed to resurrect Drac. Laura Cristaldi falls in love with Rex (non-moonlit) and is killed during a walk through the garden. That leaves only niece Lina and granddaughter Cristaldi.
And Lina gets hypnotized and kidnapped.
And granddaughter gets brought to the lair under the house.
Look, these movies are cheesy to max, but they live within their own universe and abide by it’s rules.
Nobody blinks when a pair of dudes wearing shiny masks drive through town in a convertible.
It’s perfectly normal when Blue Demon shimmies up a tree wearing Chelsea boots to spy on Eric and Rex.
Why? Because that’s what is expected of our heroic luchadors.
I realized near the end of the movie that the production value reminder me of the Adam West Batman series. That is not a bad thing. In fact, I think its the perfect aesthetic for these movies.
So what did I like?
- The opening bout between Santo and Angel Blanco. Honorable mention to the introductory match between Blue Demon and Renato El Hippie
- The efficiency with which the resurrected monsters were able to lure people into their cave to be used for dinner. I didn’t think that pan across folks chained to a wall would ever end
- The rubber bats that flew into rooms before transforming into Dracula
- 50-something El Santo repeatedly throwing himself into a locked door before deciding jumping through a window was a more on brand entrance
- Santo chucking convenient spears into wolf-minions, who conveniently turned to dust and smoke
- The jazzy score to the whole affair was pretty epic
- Watching a pair of famous luchadors look like they had never EVER been in a choreographed fight before during the two big fight sequences
- And finally, and most importantly, El Santo’s wardrobe. Dude was a mack
So there you have it. Lucha Libre Theater is back and I couldn’t be happier. Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I’ve got recorded.
If you have El Rey Network, the movies run every Saturday night. Check your local listings.