Who was that masked man?
SANTO VS. THE EVIL BRAIN, Mexican luchador thriller, not rated, Center for Contemporary Arts, 3 chiles
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