Who was that masked man?

SANTO VS. THE EVIL BRAIN, Mex­i­can luchador thriller, not rated, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 3 chiles

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS - — J.B.

Santo vs. the Evil Brain might not be the most ad­ven­ture­some of the 50-plus Santo movies, but this film has one ma­jor dis­tinc­tion: It’s the 1961 pic­ture where the sil­ver-masked Mex­i­can wrestling avenger made his de­but. Ac­tu­ally, it has a sec­ond at­trac­tion as well. It’s the last fea­ture film shot in Cuba be­fore Fidel Cas­tro’s regime, so here you can see Ha­vana as it ex­isted, in its cap­i­tal­is­tic splen­dor, be­fore com­mu­nism hit the is­land.

El Santo, also known as the col­or­ful Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, plays El En­mas­carado, or Masked One. He is joined by a sec­ond masked wrestler, El Incog­nito (co-writer Fernando Osés). They both work for a po­lice lieu­tenant played by En­rique Zam­brano (an­other co-writer), and are aligned against a gang that works for a sin­is­ter sci­en­tist who har­bors dreams of rul­ing the world. El Santo is held cap­tive by the evil gang, but even­tu­ally breaks free of hypnosis in or­der to ful­fill his man­date — wal­lop­ing the thugs.

No, it’s not rocket science, nor does it boast as many sci-fi flour­ishes and out­landish mon­sters as the Santo films that fol­lowed through his fi­nal hur­rah in 1982. If you want all the frills, check out Santo vs. the Vam­pire Women (1970) or Santo vs. the Killers From Other Worlds (1971), both avail­able with English sub­ti­tles on YouTube.

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta

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