The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (review)
The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy
aka Las Luchadoras contra la momia
Lorena Velázquez as Gloria Venus (Loretta)
Armando Silvestre as Armando Rios
Elizabeth Campbell as Golden Rubi (Ruby)
Ramón Bugarini as Prince Fujiyata
Víctor Velázquez as Dr. Luis Trelles (Prof. Tracy)
Nathanael “Frankenstein” León as Fujiyata’s bald henchman
Mexico has a proud tradition of Los Luchadoros movies, from Santo fighting Martians to Blue Demon fighting Infernal Brains. Even the women get into the act, this is the second film featuring Las Luchadoras Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi, as well as the forth featuring the title villain, the Aztec Mummy (Earlier film Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.) It’s the Mexican version of Aliens vs. Predator, except from the 1960’s and thousands of times better. Like most of the Mexican Wrestling movies, it’s got lots of campy fun. However, this film has a dark side that scars it’s appeal this day. There is a gang of villains in the movie who are an Asian gang. Being that Mexico has like 2 Asian people in the 1960’s, they are all played by Mexicans. So the villains are a yellow-face stereotype similar to anti-Japan films made during World War II. The Yellow-faceness can be argued that they didn’t give the actors false slanted eyes, such as horrible examples on Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice and John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, but they just had actors who looked vaguely Asian. Very vaguely. If you were drunk. And blind. And high on ‘shrooms. Barring that, the film holds together pretty well. Just view it for what it is, an artifact of the times. Sit back, relax, and pull a half-Nelson on your opponent while your tag-team partner distracts the ref so you can hit them with a chair.
The nefarious Black Dragon Gang is murdering Archaeologists. As men of science are the historical mortal enemies of organized crime, this is perfectly understandable. The Black Dragon Gang is led by Prince Fujiyata, Mexico’s answer to Fu Manchu, though we won’t see actor Ramón Bugarini starring in the Mexican versions of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars prequels, his screen presence is not even in the same galaxy as Christopher Lee. His men chase down another archaeologist, who seeks shelter in a stadium running a Las Luchadoras show. We are introduced to our lovely ladies of the ring who will be our stars, Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi, or as they are known in the dubber version I have, Loretta and Ruby. You know they are the heroines because they are very attractive, while their opponents are giant truck driver-type women who were beaten with ugly sticks, bathed in ugly water, dressed in ugly clothes, and smeared with ugly grease. I kid these women. Because they could tear me to shreds. So after a harrowing battle, Our Heroines emerge victorious, and still with their makeup and hair unscathed. Backstage, the girls and their men meet up. Men as in Gloria Venus’s fiancée Mike Henderson (I am guessing that he’s the Armando Rios listed in the Mexican cast-list) and his partner Tommy who has the hots for Rubi. Mike Henderson (good job with keeping a Mexican name for him, dubbers!) is a cop, as is Tommy. This is lucky for Dr. Mike Zorba, the archaeologist who hid in the stadium. He seeks help from the women, because of Mike’s uncle is a Professor Tracy (Or Professor Luis Trelles in the undub), also an archaeologist. Dr. Zorba (who is sadly not Greek) explains that Mexican Archaeologists recently opened an ancient Asian tomb in Mexico (Wait a min….) and found a “codex” (inscription on a scroll) that explains something valuable. All of the professors agrees to keep secret where it was hidden, for which they were killed, and only Dr. Zorba and Prof. Tracy remain. Did I say Dr. Zorba remained? Well, he just got hit by a poison blow dart shot by one of the “Asian” Black Dragon goons.
We jump back to the Black Dragon Gang for a bit, where we meet the whole gang. Led by Prince Fujiyata, scourge of Japan. He has two sisters, neither of which look even remotely Japanese, who are major fighters specializing in judo, which means they will be fighting our Wrestling Women at some point. The sisters are named Lien and Tzu, which are Chinese names. How does a Japanese Prince (I suspect he’s not a real member of the Japanese Imperial Family, either) have two Chinese sisters? That’s what happens when someone writes a film about Asian gangs while never have meeting anyone Asian. The Prince is searching for the codex found by the archeologists. One of the henchmen is named Mao, but thanks to the dubbers he’s either called Mayo or Meow, so we’ll just say Meow is his name. Mike Henderson visits his Uncle Tracy with the Wrestling Women, and they discover Prof. Tracy has the codex, as well as a hot blonde named Charlotte. Charlotte is the daughter of one of the murdered archeologists. Prof. Tracy reveals that Prince Fujiyata has part of the codex, and that Prof. Tracy will divide the rest of it into three parts, and give one piece each to Mike, Gloria Venus, and Rubi. Instead of just giving it to them, does some sort of weird “secret delivery” thing that spans half the film and causes Prof. Tracy to have to leave for a good chunk of the film to set up each plot point. Not only that, but the group decides to HQ in Prof. Tracy’s house, so all the pieces will be there, anyway. So why bother to divide it up? Then leave the pieces in easily accessible places? Well, because the movie has to pad and pad, what with the Aztec Mummy not showing up until the final reel. Sorry to spoil it, but if you were waiting with baited breath for the Aztec Mummy to come staggering in preparing to piledrive some Wrestling Women, it’s best for you to go back to breathing.
Everyone leaves the house for a bit except for Charlotte, and the house is promptly invaded by Meow and other gang members, who kidnap Charlotte and set up spy cameras in the house. Charlotte is hypnotized as Prince Fujiyata proclaims “Now watch as I dominate this girl’s will!” Trust me, Prince, you could dominate this girl by just writing “I control you” on her arm in marker. But she’s now “dominated” and returned as a secret spy. People return to the house, and a hat delivery arrives giving Tommy a brand new hat, with a key to a locker containing part of the codex hidden inside. Number one: This is a stupid way to give him the codex. Number two: He isn’t even one of the people who was supposed to get a piece, so Professor Tracy is changing the rules. Now they have to go out to the locker to get the piece, instead of just having it delivered to them. Professor Tracy must have gotten his Ph.D. in Needless Complexity. Tommy also makes a terrible, terrible joke about poisoned Limberger cheese which I pray is just the dubbers reading a bad translation.
Tommy goes to get the piece, with the lovely Rubi as his bodyguard. “As an Amazon, you’re the greatest!” he says. Meow and the rest of the Black Dragon goons are given orders by Prince Fujiyata via broadcast radio where to find the locker. Prince Fujiyata then plays the new track by Coldplay after taking some requests. This is FM 103.7, KROB, for all your Underworld Needs. The locker is in a hotel, where they get a key to a room, given to them by a desk clerk who uses sunglasses to hide the fact he’s Asian. I mean “Asian.” As I was talking about earlier, this is the type of thing that only happens when the writer has never seen an Asian person. It sure fools our heroes, who march right to the room and get captured. Tommy gets beaten around a bit until Mike and Gloria Venus arrive to save them. Good thing their date was sidetracked by going to a hotel. That’s pretty scandalous for 1964 Mexico. The “Asians” aren’t Kung Fu masters, or even able to stand up without help, and are thrown around like origami cranes blown on a windy day. You like that analogy? I came up with it myself. Yep. All me. Just soak it in a bit. Mmm-hmmm. Back to the film, by some method I cannot find out, Meow somehow gets a hold of the piece of the codex. I send this portion of the film to the lab for analysis to determine how this happened, and the results came back saying I was pregnant. I think there was a switch or something….
So that was a bust. Good job, Prof. Tracy! It would be more efficient to just mail the pieces to Prince Fujiyata himself, and would save money on hat deliveries. Prince Fujiyata says he’ll get his sisters to fight the Wrestling Women. They are Asian Judo Champs, and say they will win in three minutes. This scene should have been edited a bit later in the film, as they don’t fight for a bit longer. But they needed something to transition from the hotel fight scene to Mike and Tommy interrogating captured Black Dragon gang members who kill themselves, just to show how serious things are. Japan and their seppuku, I tell you! Prince Fujiyata gets impatient and activates his Charlotte Control to have her inject Tommy with something that makes him hear Prince Fujiyata’s voice as well. I can only guess she injected a tiny microphone into him, even though that’s ridiculous. Sort of like Aztec Mummies walking around or Ancient Asian tombs in Mexico. The two Las Luchadoras walk in and stop Charlotte. “Meddling fools!” Prince Fujiyata exclaims, channeling Snidely Whiplash. Flowers are soon delivered to Charlotte with a key, but the key is given to the Black Dragon gang. They didn’t even have to try hard for this piece. The last section is figured out to be at the locker room of the stadium. Meow and the rest of the Black Dragon goons arrive just in time to attack Las Luchadoras and their men in a fight. The brawl is interrupted by Prince Fujiyata, who sees a better way. He will pit his two sisters up against the two Las Luchadoras where the winner gets all the pieces of the scrolls. They set the match for two weeks, and he releases Charlotte from hypno-control as a sign of goodwill. This is an odd turn, the villain suddenly becoming honorable. Mike is still suspicious. “The man is cery sly. I intend to use the same weapons he employs.” What, hypno-weapons and goons named Meow? Get real, Mike.
The night of the fight has come. The battle is on, and it is brung. The fight is long, but the Black Dragon Sisters end up triumphant. Wait, the heroes lost? Well, time to give up the codex…oh. They’re getting ready to fight again. Hmmm. Must be best two out of three. It would have been nice to know this ahead of time without getting so emotionally involved in the first round. This film plays dirty with your emotions. Perhaps if I had recalled enough Spanish when reading the poster I would have known, but I was too focused on the Chinese names for the Japanese sisters played by Mexicans. Round two runs through with the ending we all expected, the Wrestling Women emerge victorious. Now it is the Final Round. All the girls pull out all the stops for this round. Nothing is held back, some of the Sister’s moves are very suspicious. The Ref fails to notice, as wrestling Refs never do. But in the end, The Heroines manage to emerge the victors. Las Luchadoras es mas supremas! Prince Fujiyata hands over the codices he has, then is suddenly arrested by Mike! The HEROES are double-crossing! This is a twist I didn’t see coming. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! to double-crossing. Mike and Tommy cart Prince Fujiyata away, but the Prince’s Sisters see and soon give the two cops a big pummeling while Prince Fujiyata escapes. So two veteran cops with guns can’t defeat two exhausted female wrestlers. Prince Fujiyata has escaped, but instead of plotting to get the Codex back, he will let Dr. Tracy translate them for him. So it’s good he didn’t kill Dr. Tracy, because he can’t even translate the freaking thing! Admiral Yamamoto he is not.
Dr. Tracy is hard at work translating the codec, as the rest of the cast keeps themselves busy. Dr. Tracy finishes, and then tells the story it relates. I shall tell it as well. Well, part of it. A whole chunk of it is dancing, and I’m not going to transcribe the dance like some Dance Dance Revolution machine. The story is written by a dude named Po-Polka, a pretty common Aztec name, just like Jo-Jazz and Ra-Rastafarian. Dr. Tracy also mentions page numbers and specific volumes of books where he gets his information from, which is pretty odd and has to have been inserted by the dubbers. At least I hope it was. We jump to a flashback of the ancient Aztecs. I need to rewatch some of the other Aztec Mummy films to see if this footage is ripped off from one of them, it’s pretty elaborate. Aztecs had these people known as Naquals (I think that’s what they were saying, it sounded like Nazgul half the time, but I doubt that the Aztecs were searching for the One Ring. It could also be Ny-Quil, since the Mummy got his Z’s, but who knows?) An Aztec babe named Xhosia is prepared to become the sacrifice, but her lover, a Nasqual, steals her away. They are caught and forced back, Xhosia is sacrificed and a breastplate placed on her body has a map to a great treasure. The Naqual is buried alive, cursed to guard the breastplate forever. Finally, the Damned Aztec Mummy shows up. Also, the breastplate is cursed, you’ll be killed if you don’t return it. Probably by the Aztec Mummy. The breastplate treasure map is what Prince Fujiyata is after, except he shouldn’t have known about it, what with him not speaking Ancient Aztec. Unless it’s just like Japanese, as the many ancient Japanese tombs in Mexico will attest.
The Black Dragon goons stand around the local pyramid while Dr. Tracy and the group arrive. The Gang does nothing. Yep, it was all pointless padding to show off the location shots of the pyramid. Now, you might be wondering why no one ever located a valuable breastplate lying around in the giant pyramid. Then answer is, the codex tells them to smash through a wall. The next few scenes are pitch black and lit by a faint flashlight, so basically we see nothing until they are at the tomb and find the breastplate. The second they touch it, a crypt opens and the Aztec Mummy pops out! We have our Second Headliner! The Aztec Mummy looks like he just drunk 300 gallons of coffee and the caffeine all hit at once. Instead of having the fight right here, Our Heroes all run away. The Heroes re-wall up the hole they made, blocking the Aztec Mummy off. Well, that was easy, a bunch of bricks stopping him. It should be The Third Little Pig vs. The Aztec Mummy. Back home, the heroes drink coffee discussing the events that just transpired. Dr. Tracy mentions some specific books and page numbers to explain more of the Naqual, and mentions this one specifically, whose name may be Tessamouk if I heard it right. I’ll just get the specific book and page and check. Guess they don’t have it at the library, sorry.
So Las Luchadoras and their men and Dr. Tracy have the breastplate, and the Black Dragon gang wants it, so they all show up outside the house with guns with silencers to blast their way inside. Their nefarious plot is foiled by…The Aztec Mummy! He flies there in bat form. Brick walls can’t stop this Mad Mummy, neither can Black Dragon goons, Meow, or Prince Fujiyata himself. They are all beat down and killed, according to the newspaper, though they just look like the Mummy pushed them down. The Aztec Mummy then turns into a bat and flies in the window. Wait, why did he bother to stop being a bat? Just to beat up some Asian dudes? What a jerk! The Mummy turns into a mummy again in Charlotte’s room and prepares to strangle her, but a rooster crows and the Aztec Mummy runs from the sunrise. Boy, this is not the Aztec Mummy’s night.
“I feared something like this” said Charlotte. Sure you did, sweetie. Somehow, Charlotte is a mummy expert thanks to being the daughter of an archeologist, and therefore not a useless character anymore, and tells us the Aztec Mummy sleeps in the day. Because Archeologists all know about Mummies’ sleeping habits. Tommy and Charlotte go to return the necklace, but they get separated and lost in the pyramid. They also don’t bother to tell anyone where they went. So Tommy finds the exit but Charlotte is lost. Tommy drives all the way back from the pyramid in the countryside to the city to tell everyone that she’s trapped, it takes such a long time it’s almost dark by the time everyone is there to find her. The Mummy is wandering around like he’s also lost. It’s his damn pyramid. Aztec Mummy, you suck. El Santo would have kicked your sorry butt in act one. The Mummy catches Charlotte and drags her to the sacrificial chamber.
The Heroes arrive just in time, and the men go to fight the Aztec Mummy, despite being the most ineffective fighters throughout the film. They lose this film, also, and finally we get our TITLE FIGHT, as the Wrestling Women enter the battle. They wave torches at the Aztec Mummy until he turns into a bat. “Look, Loretta, he’s a Vampire now!” says Rita. NO, he’s a bat. Idiots. Someone must have piledrived their brains out. The Aztec Mummy then turns from bat to tarantula, and crawls on Charlotte. Mummy-spider gets knocked away, and it looks like the spider got seriously hurt in this scene, poor guy… They wrap up the tarantula in a dark cloth and then, as the Aztec Mummy turns back into a human, he is tied up to a pillar. The Heroes run out, as the Aztec Mummy struggles. He finally knocks down the pillar, bringing down the room upon himself. The end!
That’s it? What a lame title fight. This movie was good for one reason only, the wrestling gimmick. And what a lovely gimmick it was. It looks like they threw in the Aztec Mummy business at the end of a previous lamer script where the Wrestling Women fought that Asian gang, the Black Dragons. That gives us more time to discuss the use of yellowface in Mexican cinema. So this is the only example I know about. But it shows the US was not alone. Maybe I’ll run across more, and there can be some comparisons. I should track down some Mexican films made during WW2 and see if they have evil Japanese and German characters played by Mexicans. Until then, I shall be forced to watch the Las Luchadoras and Los Luchadoros films. But Santo and Blue Devil will always top fare such as these girls. But, you get some bang for your peso, and a bonus wide-eyed ineffective mummy.
Rated 6/10 (Peeping Meow, Drunk Pig, shooting star, Aztec Idol, Aztec Mummy Spider, Dead Mummy girlfriend)
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