Santo Contra la Invasion de los Marcianos (Review)
Santo Contra la Invasion de los Marcianos
Mexican Masked Wrestler El Santo, the Silver Mask. A Legend. Starred or was featured in 52 movies in his career. We can honestly say, this is one of them. Actually, this is pretty good for a Mexican Martian invasion movie. It fits in nicely with many low budget American science fiction films that were coming out at the time, and since it involves Martians invading Mexico, and a masked wrestler as Earth’s only hope, you know it’s more of a superhero film than anything else. In fact, El Santo had his own comic series in Mexico, and many of his films and other Luchadores Enmascarados (Masked Wrestlers) films are science fiction/horror/comic book movies at their cores. These movies can be a load of fun, or just a big load. Despite the ridiculousness of much of this movie, I enjoyed it, as it did a few things American movies rarely did back then.
Begins with the standard generic Narrator saying things about space and infinite worlds that seem directly transcribed from many Hollywood $3 sci-fi productions. The Narrator concludes with “Will Mankind conquer worlds, or will their inhabitants conquer us?” (except he says it is Espanol, of course!) The Martians fly by, and they speak Spanish to each other, as that is the language of the country they are invading first, Mexico. The Martians themselves look like refugees from Norse mythology, the whole crew is a bunch of reject Thor stunt doubles, complete with blonde wigs. They all have gold helmets, some adorned with an eye in the center that figures into the plot later on. The Martians interrupt a TV broadcast and declare their intentions to invade Earth, Earth sucks, yada yada yada. They claim that nuclear weapons threaten the whole solar system, and demand that Earth form a One World Government and end war, or Earth will be blown to smithereens. I guess the Martians are part of the New World Order and in league with the UN’s black helicopters. The Mexican couch potatoes (los potatos couchos) watching the broadcast think it’s just a lame comedy show, and ignore it. The few who take it seriously are some scientist-looking guy, another scientist named Professor Ordorica, and El Santo. The Martians claim they will invade Mexico first, as Mexico has no nuclear weapons and are a bunch of pacifists (says the Martians,) logically they must go down first. Not that America would just nuke a Martian-lead Mexico or anything. These Martians have the military strategic skills of the Union Army in 1861.
The Martians decide to land somewhere remote and blast someone alone at random, to show how powerful they are. Because demonstrations of power no one ever see are the best kinds. How did these Martians ever invent the wheel? As Martians cannot breath Earth’s atmosphere, they take Martian Breathing Pills. There is a soccer match/track meet/child wrestling practice event going on at a stadium where Santo is teaching children wrestling moves. Those Mexicans sure are efficient with their sports. The Martians seem to have ditched their plans of shooting loners in the Mexican desert and one pops up at the stadium, and uses the blinking eye on his helmet to disintegrate hundreds of spectators. Mass murder will teach the Earth people to live in peace! Santo rushes to fight the Martian, who struggles a bit, then blasts four young boys into nothingness. Yep, this movie has mass child murder! Hollywood cannot compare. Santo proceeds to kick Martian butt, and the Martian beams away before he is defeated. He doesn’t shoot Santo with his magic eye. The reason why is revealed back on the Martian craft: The Martians want to kidnap El Santo!
So now the Martians have taken men, women, Santa, and Gary Sinise, and finally are after El Santo. El Santo and Santa should team up. Those wacky Martians, always kidnapping people! The Martians interrupt TV again and cause Los Potatos Couchos to miss more episodes of Zorro. Professor Ordorica is friends with Santo, and Santo is at his lab/home. Professor Ordorica explains that the inhabitants of Atlantis also had an “Astral Eye” like the Martians do. The Martians are still blathering on TV, they claim “Resistance is futile” (in Spanish, of course!) A Martian beams into the lab, and after some Martian threats, demands that Santo and Professor Ordorica return with him to the Martian ship. Santo rejects this with a punch, and a wrestling match is on! It’s man vs. Martian, the masked one vs. the Green Skinned One (or more accurately, the Thor-reject one) Santo is getting the upper hand, but is blasted by the Astral Eye and paralyzed. The Martian heads for Professor Ordorica, who was useless in the previous fight, but soon begins to suffocate. He struggles for the Martian Breathing Pills in his belt, dropping a few. Santo recovers and grabs him, trying to keep him from getting the pills. The Martian retreats. Professor Ordorica takes the dropped pills and prepares to analyze them.
The Martians begin their next dastardly plan: kidnapping random Mexican families. Then the Martians decide they look too frightening to the Earthlings (I assure you, that is NOT the problem!) and decide to transform from Norse-god looking Martians into Greek-god looking Martians! The Martians must think rapidly switching ethnic identities is the key to defeating Earth. Sigh. The Martians also rename themselves:
- Argos — The Captain
- Kronos — Master of time knowledge
- Morpheo — Hypnotist, also an Asian Martian
- Hercules — The strongest Martian
- Aphrodite — The Martian Woman who will trade sex for information
- Selena — Another Martian Woman
- Artemisa — Another Martian Woman
- Diana — Another Director’s Girlfriend– I mean Another Martian Woman
Also the Astral Eye no longer works since they are Greek, but they have belts! Belts? That’s reassuring, Argos. The Martian plan must be to dress up as Greek Gods and spank people with belts. I bet there’s a website for that fetish.
Professor Ordorica figures out what the pills are for, and is also developing a device that will read the brainwave patterns of Martians and can be used to locate the hidden Martian craft. He also tells Santo that the Martian belts would allow him to get onboard their craft, as Ordorica also knows the secrets of the Belts! The secret being that the transporting device is located there. Santo leaves to train for battling the Martians, and Ordorica gets to work on the device. Martians return to try to kidnap Ordorica again, but he starts a chemical fire that drives them off.
Santo is practicing and being observed by the Martians, who seemed to have switched back to their Norse God costumes again (due to the reuse of older footage!) Two of the Martian babes beam down, dressed like Buck Rogers Villainesses. They hypnotize the two men Santo was practicing with, and have them attack Santo. A long, long fight follows, including barbell holder fu and gymnastics’ horse fu. Santo is winning, and the Martian women beam away, which instantaneously brings the hypnotized men back to normal. Enough of Santo, let’s go to a ritzy party across town for some unimportant plot developments. A Mexican John McCain and a Mexican John Saxon (Juan McCaino y Juan Sacho?) discuss with who I guess is Father Fuentes about the Martian invasion, and they are shocked that it is happening. I guess now the invasion is being covered up. How the Mexican government made the public forget the numerous TV broadcasts, the thousands killed, and the many newspaper headlines we shall never know, but I don’t want to mess with the Mexican government anymore. Their shock is short lived, as two Martian babes walk in, Aphrodite and Selena. They hypnotize John Saxon and John McCain and take them back to the Martian ship, as their wives scowl. Other Martian babes snag one or two other rich men, including a sci-fi writer (why does Mars need a sci-fi writer?) The writer almost pulls a lever on the Martian ship’s bridge that will destroy the craft. Why does this ship have such a lever, just sitting out in the open in the middle of the bridge unguarded and with no safety catch? That’s One of The Mysterious Mysteries of Martian Mystery! El Mysterioso! These Martians shop at the same shop at the Santa Claus stealers and have Martian Food Pills.
The Martians get around to remembering to capture El Santo, they want him alive, so they can kill him immediately upon reaching Mars so the scientists there can dissect him and make Santo Super Soldiers to used to conquer Earth. Again, a five-year-old can come up with better plans. The Martians beat up the wrestler Black Eagle, who Santo is supposed to fight, and dress up as him, to engage Santo in the ring. It’s wrestling time! Santo recognizes him as a Martian immediately due to him still wearing a Martian belt. As this is a Masked Wrestler fight, the goal is to unmask your opponent in the ring, but Santo’s goal is to remove the belt, and get the transportation device. The wrestling match is long. Long. LONG. LOOOOOOOOONG! It jumps back and forth several times as to who will win. But…
SANTO LOSES! His mask is ripped off! Good thing he has a second mask underneath! Is Santo like an onion, with many layers of masks? We never learn, as Santo refuses defeat and attacks the Martian Hercules again, and rips off the Martian’s mask. This instantaneously transforms the Martian back into Norse God mode, as well and transforming the two Martians who are sitting in the audience. Never put all your disguises on one belt’s power source. Argos and Morpheo are exposed in the audience, and begin blasting the audience with disintegration rays. Some more wrestling happens, and the Martians retreat.
At Casa del Santo, Martian babe Aphrodite beams in and tries to seduce Santo, including taking off his mask and making out. This answers the age old question– “Do they take off their masks when knocking boots?” We see the back of Santo’s head (if it is really Santo) and Selena also beams in. Santo breaks free from their seducing spells and threatens them, and they beam away. Dr. Ocrodica has finished work on the Martian Brain-wave Scanner, and Santo drives his convertible around to a church where the Martians are now. I am told Santo drives his convertible around a lot in these types of films. The Martians are threatening Father Fuentes, until Santo arrives. Hercules and Kronos travel outside to fight him, and we get another long, long fight scene. Santo rivals Starman in long fight scenes, but instead of Starman’s prancing around, Santo actually fights the bad guys with real moves. We also learn that bitch-slapping your opponent is a legal Mexican wrestling move, as well as that the Martians fight dirty. Father Fuentes is taken back to the ship, and the Martians are about to defeat Santo when their pills run out and they begin to suffocate. They reach for their pills, but Santo knocks them away, so they beam away.
Back on the spaceship, the prisoners try to escape, and one pulls the Lever of Doom partially down, but is stopped. Again, why do they have this lever? And why aren’t the humans immediately suffocating when they leave their cage? Because the whole ship is full of Oxygen, which the Martians cannot breathe! What strategy, surrounding yourself with poison! Again, the Martians are simply a bunch of failures. There was better military planning from Poland during World War Two than what these Martians are displaying here. Outside, Professor Ordorica is told he should attend a reception in his honor, as if he didn’t go people would know Martians are invading, as it is a secret. Now, in addition to all the things the Martians did last time they decided the invasion was a secret, they also invaded a Santo Wrestling event, and blasted hundreds of audience members, as well as stolen many rich people, and a science fiction writer. The only people who think there is nothing going on are the members of the coma ward. Ordorica goes, and the four Martian women take over the dancer’s jobs, and do some Martian dances. Now we see why these women were hired. They HAVE to be banging the director, as their dancing reminds one of a windup toy set on fire. Mystery solved. The women kidnap the Professor seconds before Santo arrives.
The TV announcer finally admits there are Martians attacking, coma victims panic! No one is to go outside after 7pm. Why the curfew, considering Martians can go anywhere at anytime and have attacked at daytime just as often as night? That’s One of The Mysterious Mysteries of Mexican Mystery! The Martians have only enough pills for one more day. They decide to either capture Santo or kill him. Santo announces he is having another wrestling match, but no one will attend because everyone is scared. There is one guy in the audience. The whole thing is a trap to lure the Martians so Santo can grab a belt. The Martians take the bait, as they are a big bunch of tools. Four Martians show up, and Hercules starts fighting Santo and threatening death. Hercules runs out of pills and begins to suffocate, and Kronos steps in to fight. He is quickly tossed out of the ring, and Morpheo and Argos start to fight. They are both defeated, and Santo snags Kronos’s belt and runs off, beaming away. Kronos is dead, of suffocation I guess. Hercules blasts his body, and the three surviving Martians beam to their ship, while still choking. Santo has hidden behind a tree, and follows the Martians inside. All the Martians inside are choking. So, how were they planning to get home? I hope they can travel instantaneously, as that is the only way they won’t all die! Santo tears through the dying Martians and rescues everyone. Outside, he returns back in to pull the Lever of Doom (Palanca de la condenación!), as all the Martians have died and cannot pull it. He does, the ship explodes, the day is saved, Mexico will not have to bend to Martian will, and the worst planned operation in the history of the military in the galaxy comes to a close. The Martians would have had to have returned to Mars in less than thirty seconds to live. I doubt they could even find their way home. The film concludes with the Narrator returning to says “So Earth is saved for now, but will we learn our lesson or will we still use nuclear weapons and blow ourselves up?” (except in Spanish) This is in case you didn’t get the message, which is understandable, as they didn’t really do anything with it and the Martians seemed to by lying about their motives. Whatever.
El Santo rules! I am now a fan of his movies, expect a few more to show up soon, whenever I can get a hold of them. There is 51 more to go! Santo and the other Luchadores Enmascarados films are Mexico’s answer to cheesy Japanese monster movies, and America’s dull science fiction epics of the 1950’s. They fit right in, and deserve a place in cinematic history.
More info on El Santo than you need: Santo and Friends
Rated 7/10 (Wrestling with Martians, Magic Eye, Horse Fu, Martian Babe, HYPNOTIZED!, Martian brainwave detector, Father Fuentes)
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