Cerebro Del Mal (Review)

Cerebro Del Mal

aka Santo contra cerebro del mal

Written by Fernando Osés and Enrique Zambrano
Directed by Joselito Rodríguez

After three weeks of decorating, Santo finally got his bedroom the way he wanted it. Now to sit back and enjoy.

Before Santo el Enmascarado de Plata became the international super star that punched every monster who ever monsted, he has to start in the beginning of the movie world. Already an established wrestler, by 1952 Santo was now featured in a comic book (which ran for 35 years) and was offered a role in the serial El Enmascarado de Plata. Santo turned down the role (sources vary, but him believing the film wasn’t going to be a hit is the most common reason given.) The serial featured another actor in a silver mask (who became the villain to a white-masked wrestler hero) and was released in an edited into a movie form. But by 1958, the time was ripe for Santo to actually jump into movies himself.

If I catch that drunk Incognito passed out on the job again, he’s fired!

Cerebro Del Mal and Hombres Infernales were both filmed in Cuba in 1958 just before the revolution. They feature the same Mexican director (Joselito Rodríguez) and main cast (Santo, Joaquín Cordero, and Fernando Osés), with Cuban supporting actors and crew. Because this is an early Santo flick, it doesn’t feature many of the common lucha libre film tropes that we’ve all grown to love. Heck, Santo isn’t even the focus of the picture! The plot is more of a crime caper with science fiction elements. Santo barely talks, he’s usually called “the Masked One” by most of the bad guy crew, and both he and the other wrestler El Incognito are the best agents of the police force (while also being citizens of the world or something…) There are no shots of Santo driving around in his convertible, and Santo is even easily defeated by random thugs. Santo isn’t dating a girl, nor do any women even find him or El Incognito desirable.

Of Santo’s 52 films, these first two are the most unlike any of the others. But even still, the seeds of future efforts are planted here. Santo is a figure of justice, this time even working for the police force that will often call on him in later films. There is a mad scientist, hence the title of the film, Cerebro Del Mar. People are hypnotized/mind controlled, which happens a lot in subsequent Santo flicks. And masked people running around Mexico is not considered odd enough for anyone to make comments about it. Cerebro Del Mal is an interesting quaint film, and though it doesn’t achieve the crazed excesses of its progeny, it does hold the promise of more to come.

Breaking Bad: The Lucha Years

Santo (Santo) – Usually referred to as El Enmascarado, Santo is one of the masked police agents. He’s captured in the beginning of the film and brainwashed. He’s then rescued, and continues to play brainwashed to help bring down Dr. Campos. Santo is billed as as “Santo” el Enmascarado de Plata.
El Incognito (Fernando Osés) – Fellow masked wrestling police agent who helps save Santo and gets a bullet in the gut for his trouble. A bullet that only grazes him. In the gut. Fernando Osés would go on to costar in dozens of lucha libre and other Mexican cult cinema, usually as henchmen or goons of the main villain. He helped write the film along with fellow costar Enrique Zambrano.
Dr. Campos (Joaquín Cordero) – Mad scientist who develops the power of brainwashing and decides he’s going to do whatever he wants now, which is sort of bad because he becomes a complete jerk, kidnapping and murdering people.
Elisa (Norma Suárez) – The lovely Elisa is dating Gerardo, but she catches the eye of Dr. Campos, who sets out to kidnap her to brainwash so he can have his way with her.
Gerardo (as Alberto Inzúa) – New assistant to Dr. Campos, and boy does he have the worst boss ever! No only is Dr. Campos a super villain, but he kidnaps Gerardo’s girlfriend Elisa!
Evil scientist and Hallmark store patron!

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