La Nave de los Monstruos (Review)

La Nave de los Monstruos

aka The Ship of Monsters
La Nave de los Monstruos
Story by José María Fernández Unsáin
Adapted by Alfredo Varela
Directed by Rogelio A. González

La Nave de los Monstruos

A woman after his own heart

An amazing adventure, La Nave de los Monstruos – aka The Ship of Monsters – is essential global pop cinema viewing, not simply just essential Mexican pop cinema viewing. A purely entertaining spectacle of space ladies who desperately need to replace the missing men from their civilization, thus are quested to scour the galaxy to find suitable males. But despite collected a rogues gallery of interesting monsters, nothing prepares them for the human male and his singing cowboy ways. Those who haven’t seen the film are now confused, not realizing the singing cowboy is presented as the irresistible bit of manliness that the rest of the galaxy is missing. In addition, he introduces the concept of love, which causes jealously and the best case of surprise space vampirism I’ve ever seen in a movie.
La Nave de los Monstruos

A non-gross male? What the heck??

The introduction to love concepts aren’t why everyone loves this film, it’s just the gravy on top. The real reason for the season is the amazing monster costumes! We got a crosscut of 1950s man in suit monsters, including a boxy robot. The costumes themselves are spectacular, some having appeared in Mexican cinema before, and a few that will show up again almost a decade later.

The Ship of Monsters takes more than just some of the monster designs from American science fiction films, there is a constant mention of radiation and atomic throughout the movie. The men from the planet Venus all died due to atomic sickness, everyone on Tor’s homeworld died due to nuclear radiation, and Zok’s planet had a radioactive disaster that rendered his entire species nothing but walking talking skeletons. While Mexico wasn’t a direct participant in the Cold War, it does lie in close enough proximity to the US that had any sort of nuclear exchange happened, it would suffer dire consequences as well. So the thought must have been on their minds. Mexico didn’t suffer from weapons being used on it like Japan, so their response in film is more a warning of the possibilities, not a reflection of the destruction of war and atomic horror returned in monstrous form.

La Nave de los Monstruos

We demand a creepier cave!

The joy of the monsters on the rampage propels The Ship of Monsters into amazing land, and you should track down a copy as soon as you can. Unfortunately, it only seems to be released as part of double DVDs. Where the heck is Criterion? Get on it, cinephiles! This is movie magic, so break out your wands and Wingardium Leviosa a copy to your player.

Gamma (Ana Bertha Lepe) – Commandress of the interplanetary fleet sent out to find dudes for planet Venus. Helps find a whole pack of gross monsters that are the best the galaxy has to offer. Until she finds a singing cowboy on Earth…
Beta (Lorena Velázquez) – a foreigner to Venus, daughter of Ur, planet of shadows. Is the navigator and secret vampire from Uranus. Goes mad with vampire bloodlust halfway through the film as things get crazy.
Lauriano Gomez (Lalo Gonzalez “Piporro”) – A singing cowboy that somehow becomes the most attractive single male in the galaxy. Helps defeat the monsters when they go berzerk. Is guardian to his younger brother, Chuy.

As all the men on Planet Venus have died due to radiation sickness, the interplanetary fleet is sent out to collect men. During a montage as the credits roll, Gamma and Beta’s ship picks up what is dubbed in the credits as Los Monstruos de las Galaxias:

Tor (himself) – A robot from the dead planet Palis, where everyone was killed in atomic wars. The robot is the only male the women find that they even want to associate with, as he interacts with them while everyone else is shoved in a closet and randomly gassed or froze. Powerful and follows their instructions. Attracted to jukeboxes. The robot suit was used before in the 1958 film Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
Tagual (himself) – Prince of Mars, he mysteriously looks like one of the aliens from Invasion of the Saucer Men. Is very angry about being space kidnapped, and becomes the default leader of Los Monstruos de las Galaxias. Features a cool liquid blood moving in tubes effect that you can barely see most of the time. If you enjoy this costume, it can be seen in a slightly more tattered form in Santo el Enmascarado de Plata y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos
Uk (himself) – A cyclops and King of fire planet. He’s also angry about being kidnapped and is a warrior. Despite being from the fire planet, he gets set on fire, which one would think he would be used to. If you enjoy this costume, it is also seen again in a more tattered form in Santo el Enmascarado de Plata y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos.
Utirr (himself) – The grand priest of the Red Planet (which I don’t think is supposed to be Mars, but another Red Planet!), and also a spider. Probably the coolest costume because it’s so grotesque, but I don’t know if it was ever reused by another Mexican film.
Zok (himself) – A skeleton that laughs creepily a lot. He just floats in the air, occasionally moved around by one of the other monsters. His whole race is skeletal thanks to atomic radiation. Is a human skeleton with dog skull.
It’s another Republican primary debate!

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