OF THE AZTEC MUMMY
(1965), B/W, 64 minutes
Distributed by Trans-International Films
Presented by Young America Productions
produced at Soundlab, Coral Gables, Fla.
Produced by K. Gordon Murray
Directed by Paul Nagel (sic)
DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case wrapped in plastic!
Seeing this movie for the first time is like seeing it for the tenth time, so familiar is much of the stock footage within. This sequel to LA MOMIA AZTECA (which to our knowledge was never released in an English-dubbed version, and is now considered lost even in its original language), and cousin to wild super-sequels THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY and THE WRESTLING WOMEN VS THE AZTEC MUMMY, contains a significant amount of footage from the first film.
In addition, footage from the first film and this film also found its way into THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, as well as two films from the late cine-genius Jerry Warren, who chopped them helter-skelter into his schizophrenic, minimal masterpieces ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY and FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF!
We’ve seen Flora being regressed so many times, we get the sense that this film may be one of our own past lives! And this series is surely one of the most interesting pop culture takes on the “Bridey Murphy” hypno-regression craze of the late 50s.
So, watching this second in the Aztec Mummy series strikes a certain comfortable cord, although there’s stuff in here which makes it a classic all on its own.
One of the most exciting things about this film is its hero, “The Angel”, certainly one of the earliest incarnations of wrestler-as-superhero that would become such a staple of Mexican popular culture, with wildly popular superhero-musclemen such as Santo and Blue Demon.
The Angel is hilarious, driving around in his sports car (could it be a Stutz Bearcat?), cape a-flying, mask a-gleaming. And it’s a hoot when he is unmasked, and turns out to be the alter ego of Peacock, Dr. Almaden’s chicken-shit colleague! I can see he might be able to hide his courage, but where does he keep those muscles when he’s nerd-boy?
Dr. Krupp, aka “The Bat”, is a seriously amusing villain. With his wild eyes, cartoony beard, and absurd silent-film takes, he’s a walking caricature of the archetypal mad scientist, virtually parodic.
Krupp’s “helpers” are little better, petty thugs with wacky names (Lilac? Bear?) and moves lifted straight out of a 1937 poverty row murder mystery.
Krupp’s lab is weird too, an odd mix of a super-modern facility and an old warehouse.
The “good” scientist, Dr. Almaden, lives in an old castle, according to one brief establishing shot. Strange. Even stranger, there’s a teenage boy in the film, called Bobby, who is identified as Almaden’s younger brother! Doubtful, to say the least. Even in the Jerry Warren films, the kid is identified as Almaden’s nephew, much more believable. (In ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY, logic is so casual that the kid is called BOTH Timmy and Jimmy throughout the picture!)
Some excellent dubbing of the many prosaic speeches by the genies at Soundlab make this a bonafide Mexi-Murray treat.
* (updated 02-14-06) Thanks to a terrific new book we just received, “Ghouls, Gimmicks and Gold” by Kevin Heffernan, (2004, Duke University Press), we have been able to update the U.S. television release date for this Murray horror title to 1965. The appendices to this study of the horror film in America, circa 1955-1968, include complete listings of syndication feature film packages from many distributors, including American International Television, who subleased the K. Gordon Murray film catalog under the title THRILLERS FROM ANOTHER WORLD. It seems that 1965 was the watershed year for genre film sold to television, with a veritable flood of titles released by both domestic and foreign distribs.
* (effective 05-01-03) After a very brief window of availability, this long-sought K. Gordon Murray title is once again out of print, due to international copyright issues. Used video tapes of this title may be found on online video dealers and auction sites. Stay tuned for further developments!
* LA MALDICION DE LA MOMIA AZTECA is a sequel to LA MOMIA AZTECA (1957), and spawned two more sequels, LA MOMIA AZTECA CONTRA EL ROBOT HUMANO (1958), and LAS LUCHADORAS CONTRA LA MOMIA (1964). Some sources claim the first THREE films were shot simultaneously!
* For an in-depth, informative and highly amusing overview of the “Aztec Mummy” films, be sure to visit Frank Kurtz’s “The Weird World and Wanderings of the Aztec Mummy”. This great article goes places you can’t imagine!
* For some stunning publicity shots from LA MALDICION DE LA MOMIA AZTECA, visit “Save the Galaxy”, an amazing website which honors and showcases all of the beloved muscled superheroes of Mexican pop culture.
* Here’s an interesting comment from the message board at “Scarlet Street”, posted by “Professor TR” on 10/03/00: “I find THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY most amusing, but I prefer the second film, CURSE OF THE AZTEC MUMMY, especially the dubbed version, primarily (and most unusually) because it dumps the original, very sluggish score by Antonio Diaz Conde and replaces it with the more dynamic music of Gutsav Cesar Carrion which I believe was originally composed for CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN.” I missed this switch; can anyone verify this?
Here is an update on the above-mentioned musical switcheroo, again by “Professor TR”: regarding the replacement of the musical score for LA MALDICION DE LA MOMIA AZTECA, he assures us that this is the case, as he has compared the Murray version against the original Spanish-language version. The original score (like its sequel and presumably the first film as well) is by Antonio Diaz Conde. However, this score was completely junked, and Murray’s dubbed version uses themes by Gustav Cesar Carrion which appeared in LA MALDICION DE LA LLORONA; for example, the scene of Krupp’s henchmen trailing the prison bus uses the music that accompanies the coach ride through the forest in the opening of LA LLORONA, etc.
* This is one of two Murray releases (THE GOLDEN GOOSE is the other) which gets voice actor Paul Nagel’s name right, even though he is listed as “director”. (His name is spelled “Nagle” in many others.) Nagel created the voices for Dr. Almaden, Bobby, and Lilac.
* CURSE OF THE AZTEC MUMMY turns out to be one of the earliest Murray horror film releases, available to TV, along with the Nostradamus features, by 1963.