Santo & Blue Demon vs. Doctor Frankenstein (Santo y Blue Demon contra el doctor Frankenstein) delivers exactly what it promises - it pits the Man in the Silver Mask against Dr Frankenstein himself.
This movie, released in 1974, is another installment in the long-running series of Mexican movies (in fact there were more than fifty of them) starring professional wrestler and part-time crimefighter and superhero Santo.
Young women are disappearing in disturbingly large numbers. That would be terrifying enough, but the young women are then reappearing as zombies! Even worse, killer zombies. It soon becomes clear that someone out there is performing brain transplants. Unsuccessful brain transplants. The dead victims are then re-animated by means of a remote-control device implanted in their bodies. Who could be doing such horrific things? Surely it could not be Dr Frankenstein - he must be long dead.
But Dr Frankenstein is not dead at all - he is very much alive and active, even if he is 113 years old! And he is the diabolical figure behind these horrendous brain experiments.
Dr Frankenstein has also devised a way of reversing the ageing process and he uses this promise to recruit two prominent brain surgeons to serve as his assistants. And now Dr Frankenstein has a new victim in mind - Santo! His one successful brain transplant patient is Golem, a huge black man. Golem has enormous strength, but he lacks skill and agility. If he had Santo’s gifts in those areas he would be truly formidable, and nothing could prevent Dr Frankenstein from achieving his aim of unlimited power.
Dr Frankenstein needs is a way of capturing Santo alive and undamaged, and the only way to do that is to make Santo come to him. And that can be achieved quite easily - all he needs to do is to kidnap Santo’s girlfriend Alicia Robles.
What Dr Frankenstein hadn’t counted on was that Santo would figure out what he was up to, and that Santo would not be fighting this battle alone - his friend and wrestling partner Blue Demon will prove to be a valuable ally.
There are the usual wrestling sequences but this time wrestling forms an integral part of the plot - Santo will be matched against Golem, with both Alicia’s life and the safety of humanity being the stakes.
Jorge Russek as Dr Frankenstein makes a fairly effective villain while Golem is certainly a very effective heavy. There’s nothing to say about Santo’s acting - if you’ve seen one Santo movie you know what to expect, and Santo fans don’t expect their hero to be a great actor. He is Santo, he is a legend, and that’s more than enough.
The Santo movies were all fairly low-budget affairs. Dr Frankenstein’s secret laboratory would have cost very little but it looks quite effective. There’s plenty of action, and plenty of thrills. This is a superhero movie Mexican style and it’s a great deal more fun than most such movies.
This is one of the most highly regarded of the Santo movies. The combination of Santo with one of the most famous of all fictional villains has an obvious appeal. It’s all highly entertaining and is a must for fans of the Man in the Silver Mask.
Rise Above’s DVD release offers the original Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles and it’s a decent if not spectacular transfer.