THE WRESTLiNG WOMEN
VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY
(aka ROCK ‘N ROLL WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY)
(1965), B/W, 89 minutes
Presented by Young America Productions
Produced at Soundlab, Coral Gables, Fla.
Produced by K. Gordon Murray
Directed by Manuel San Fernando
DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case wrapped in plastic!
The terms “Wrestling Women” and “Aztec Mummy” should cause chronic drooling on the part of any self-respecting cult film buff. Put the two phrases together, however, and same film nuts would likely swoon, then contemplate on bended knee their good fortune.
Indeed, THE WRESTLiNG WOMEN VS THE AZTEC MUMMY is one of the great titles in psychotronic film history, and what do you know, but the film itself is a friggin’ classic to boot!
We open with great, creepy opening music over atmospheric travelogue footage of Mayan pyramids, over which of course hover those beloved drippy Murray credits.
Suddenly, we’re in a crime picture, with gangland murders and a Chinese bad guy! Then, we drive a big old boat of an auto right into a ring full of wrassling chix! We know nirvana can’t be far behind!
Surely, this beloved flick is one of the oddest, most wonderful mixtures of genre ever concocted: gangsters, wrestling, sci-fi/horror, and a poor man’s Fu Manchu story! This flick is a (perhaps unwitting) tribute to American cliffhanger serials, as well as the 40s Hollywood staple, the mystery picture series (Charlie Chan. etc).
The wrestling women, Loreta Venus and Golden Rubi (as well as their odd-couple detective-boy friends), reprise their roles from the equally wonderful DOCTOR OF DOOM.
The villain, the “Black Dragon”, is an hilarious skid-row riff on “Fu Mancho”; he dressed like a Mandarian opium dealer, and talks like a cardboard ogre (the same voice actor is used here as with the drooling ogre in PUSS ‘N BOOTS). He likes to send secret messagea in sombreros, and employs two Asian karate chix to battle our lovely wrestling amazons.
The big Dragon also possesses some ludicrous spy technology, including a ridiculous zoom-lens “Telesnooper” that is as absurd as anything the Professor ever used to capture Felix’s bag of tricks!
After an hour of original shenanigans, we thought we got away from recycled LA MOMIA AZTECA stock footage, but no, there it is!
One of the most astounding folkloric liberties taken here is the title mummy’s unexplained ability (presumably for the convenience of the filmmakers) to convey himself from one location to another by turning into a rubber bat! Shades of Nostradamus!
There’s assuredly a lesson here: take a certifiably insane source film with a classic title, saddle it with a bounty of overwrought dialogue, and you create one of the undying greats of cultfilm infamy.
* (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!
* In 1986, Rhino Home Video, with the help of cultfilm wunderkind Johnny Legend, released a customized version of this august classic, entitled ROCK N’ ROLL WRESTLING WOMEN VS THE AZTEC MUMMY. It’s actually not bad, trimming the film down to an hour and adding some silly but harmless faux-rockabilly tunes over some of the wrassling matches. The only real gripe we’ve got with this revisionist curio is the somewhat elitist feeling that cutting out all the “bad parts” will somehow make an old, creaky film palatable to twenty-something vid- iots, a notion which is not only ill-advised, but which goes against the whole credo of the cult film enthusiast: “They’re ALL bad parts, and we LIKE it that way!!!” Or, as Jean-Luc Godard might say, “Don’t f**l with the classics!” Still, this edition is one of the best ways to easily view this hard-to-find cross-cultural masterwork.
* For an excellent and informative online review of THE WRESTLING WOMEN VS THE AZTEC MUMMY, visit David Wilt’s Mexican Film Pages.