Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Original Title: Las luchadoras contra el médico asesino
Year: 1963
Director: René Cardona
Writer: Alfredo Salazar
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056201/
Genre: Lucha/Horror

A mad scientist terrorizes a city by kidnapping young women with his ape-man Gomar and then using them as subjects in sadistic brain transplant experiments. A female wrestler whose sister was one of the victims swears vengeance against the Mad Doctor.

I'm choosing to wrap up my lucha reviews with a more classic example of the genre. From director Rene Cardona once again, this earlier entry has a very similar feel to many of the other luchador films from the early-60s... that of an almost Gothic horror film. From the worn stock and filming style of this, you could mistake it for a film from the 40s. If it weren't for the hairstyles, outfits, and music at times, it really feels pulled from that era entirely.

The version I watched is an English dubbed version brought to the US thanks to K.Gordon Murray. Despite it being a dub, I thought it was still fine, and in a way adds to the film for me. I do not believe anything was cut... nor does it need to be.

Gloria Venus (Lorena Velázquez) and Golden Rubi (Elizabeth Campbell) are your luchadoras. We've seen Elizabeth Campbell here previously as the villain in the Santo spy film Operacion 67. My review is here. She's almost as sexy here as she was in the latter film, as is her counterpart. There are times when you swear the two of them are going to kiss by their positioning on screen and such. It's a weird vibe which I can't help but think is intentional in some way.

The acting from both is a bit cheesy, but it fits the feel of the film and works fine. Neither are offensively bad by any means. But they are great in the action scenes, and these two lovely ladies whip some ass! Gloria Venus especially...

I don't know if it was because it was taboo to strike a woman in the face, or intentionally written this way, but once the luchadoras get involved, it's your ass. Virtually NO offense from the men is thrown their way, unlike El Santo and others who usually take quite a beating. You might as well give up now because they're pissed and they are gonna punch the snot out of your ugly face. What a right Venus has!

The wrestling scenes in the film are not bad at all. Granted, it is 1960s style wrestling so current fans may be disappointed, but if you watch women's wrestling today you know what shit it can be. These ladies really take it to one another 60s style. I even saw the beginnings of a Mexican Surfboard in there, but unfortunately it was broken up before it began.

Sorry, I had to throw this pic in here. I'm shameless, I know.

The acting all around is hammy, but acceptable I think. You get a little melodrama from the mad scientist, which is to be expected I would say, and a little annoyance from the spunky sidekick, but overall not too shabby.

This movie is campy... just a warning. From the acting which I have described, to the ultra tight budget special  effects and makeup, to the silly story itself, you're gonna want to know what you are getting into. As with so many lucha films from this era, regardless of their budget, style, and quality, they revel in the cheese and really seem to know what they are. It's the campy 60s comics come to life. Some will love it and some may just want nothing to do with it.

The plot is paper thin. We get our handsome heroes and ugly villains... we get our questionable motives that we just need to roll with... there's a twist in there you'll probably see from a mile away... it's forever hilarious that professional wrestlers are pretty much the peak of society, but it's all fun.

The evil scientist obsessed with making some beast regardless of how many people have to die is always a winner. And I love that it's always something as simple (so to speak) as a brain transplant for the recipient to have all the strength and characteristics of the donor.

They really blew the budget on the Mad Doctor's lab too! Look out for that staple "puff of smoke" and fire when the machines get bumped into. Nothing like the "get outta here, the lab is gonna blow!" moment to add genuine tension! Plus the classic wall of spikes... always a good one.

Cardona was on a much better cheese game here than we saw in his later film Batwoman. There is much less wasted time I thought besides the standard time waster in these films of wrestling matches and wrestler training. And this time they even fit into the story for the most part!

The masked wrestler portion of the story introduced later in the film was pretty cool, and the Doc's fucking mask makes me want to squeal like a little girl. Those teeth are so fucking awesome I just want to bite something!!

You are not going to get an artistic, well told story with a film like Doctor of Doom. You're gonna get a cheesy, fun romp with wrasslin and monsters and fire and ridiculousness that is better if viewed from the right frame of mind than it's low score on IMDB may suggest.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit despite its flaws. It doesn't drag and keeps it short and sweet. Definitely a solid entry into the genre.

Recommended again for the lucha and camp enthusiast.

Score: 6.5 / 10

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