Get malaria with Zindy the Swamp Boy – New RiffTrax VOD!

RiffTrax giving us Zindy the Swamp Boy makes sense, because they’re swamping us with new releases! Us René Cardona, Jr fans know this as the film René Cardona and René Cardona III teamed up to be directed by René Cardona, Jr. Okay, one of many times, but now there is a RiffTrax commentary with it! Originally known as Zindy, el Fugitivo de los Pantanos, this 1973 feature is filled with 1970s Mexican cinema goodness while also being incredibly obscure and amazingly titled. Will Zindy hunt down that jerk Pogo and show him that the true enemy isn’t yourself, but is Zindy? Because that’s what I am demanding from Zindy the Swamp Boy! Buy it today at!

Riding the tail end of the great Swamp Boy movie craze of the early 70s (see: Columbo the Swamp Boy, McCloud the Swamp Boy, Maude the Swamp Boy) Zindy the Swamp Boy effectively ended the genre. And for good reason: it violated one of the sacred tenants of the swamp boy genre: do not cast the annoying little kid who played Zindy as your swamp boy.

Unfortunately, Zindy was cast in the movie because the director is his father, Rene Cardona Jr, who also made the previously RiffTrax-’d The Bermuda Triangle and Treasure of The Amazon. Unlike those movies, Zindy does not have a killer doll or a nazi hunting Donald Pleasance. It does however have a chimp that does the dishes, gator wrestling, and the world’s most deadly two square feet of quicksand.

When Zindy’s grandfather discovers his son and daughter-in-law have been hospitalized, he does what we’d all do: flee the premises leaving them to die and guns down the man he believes is responsible. Then he gathers up their infant grandson and moves in with a chimp named Toribio. They move into the swamp, right? WRONG. Turns out Zindy the Swamp Boy is actually forbidden from entering the swamp, or more specifically the swamp zone. Yep, it’s that kind of movie. Sadly, Zindy also plays the flute, so you quickly begin to root for a quick outbreak of malaria to sweep through the swamp and all attached zones.

Fortunately, the movie has an ending so wonderful that you’ll want to start the movie over as soon as it’s done, just to relive everything you just saw with the knowledge of where it’s leading. To say any more would be a disservice to you. Please watch, and experience Zindy The Swamp Boy for the first time.

Zindy the Swamp Boy Rifftrax

Peligro…! Mujeres en Acción (Review)

Peligro…! Mujeres en Acción

aka Danger! Women in Action
Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo
Written and directed by René Cardona Jr.
Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo
If you heartily missed the action of Alex Dinamo, agent of Servicio International, after his last adventure discovering the Bikini Conspiracy, then you are not alone. Alex Dinamo returns because of that ever-present danger, women doing things! Peligro…! Mujeres en Acción(Danger! Women in Action) was made a year after SOS Conspiración Bikini, and has the return of Julio Alemán as Alex Dinamo and René Cardona Jr. as writer/director. By now the Alex Dinamo franchise has grown to the point where there were comic books, and spy films in the mold of James Bond were hot hot hot. So it’s not a big surprise when Peligro… was eyed as an international production, even going so far as probably producing an English language dub. If that version was released is a mystery, but as the opening credits sport overlapping credits in Spanish and English, it was at least partially completed.

Peligro…! Mujeres en Acción sees the return of the mysterious international force known as S.O.S.(Secret Organizational Service), who plan to poison the water supplies of Ecuador and other Latin American countries in a bid to openly take over. S.O.S. is presented as a large conglomerate movement that actively controls the governments of many third world nations, but whatever their larger goal other than world takeover just for the thrill of taking over is never explained. Nor is any overlying S.O.S. ideology, so it is a mystery why it attracts so many people, especially a high proportion of women. Like S.O.S., the sequel is largely female-centric, despite being stuck in a male super hero spy world. The leadership of S.O.S. is almost exclusively women, Dinamo’s partner and contact are both women, and other women are instrumental in helping Dinamo take down S.O.S. It’s almost a consolation prize, Cardona knowingly packing the cast with women to try to counter Dinamo’s sexist ride through life, as well as taking advantage of all the eye candy to pack in male audiences.
Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo
This being an Alex Dinamo film, the following things return, thus making them official Alex Dinamo tropes: Weird ways of passing notes by secret agencies, this time via cigarettes. Random gadgets such as a cigarette voice recorder and a hairpin gun. A female contact who dies halfway through the film, and a female main partner for Alex. Lots of random S.O.S. agents who all die in a hail of gunfire during a long long action climax.

Peligro… falls short in that it is too long (ha!), and not because it’s packed with lots of action. We see every second of things that happen. From people walking and walking to their planes/boats, to starting the planes/boats, to the planes taking off and boats unmooring, not a frame goes to waste on the cutting room floor. Hey, I understand, editing is expensive. But that makes the film clock in to close to two hours, while only having 90 minutes of film.

The major difference is the action sequences are very long and much more brutal, which is better than the prior and I like the change. The violence isn’t innocent, Alex Dinamo and his companions are not immune to bullets and get injured in almost every fight. There is a cool knife fight that is the best scene in either Dinamo film combines. It’s not enough to propel this sequel to awesomeness, but it was enough to keep me interested. You don’t need to see the original to follow along, so if you see one Alex Dinamo film, this is the one you should get.
Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo
Sonia Furió is replaced by Elizabeth Campbell as the new head of S.O.S. Bárbara Angely plays an agent named Bárbara, who spends a large amount of time in a bikini like all government agents do. Amedee Chabot (Agente 00 Sexy ) pops up as a bikini-wearing girl with a gun. Other women who have bit parts as S.O.S. Agents include Nadia Milton, Elsa Cárdenas, Ellen Cole, and Arturo Correa.

Although the film appears to be filmed at least partially in Ecuador, information has made it out that it was largely Florida and Mexico City that were where the film was actually shot. Production and union problems plagued the film, necessitating the cutting of shooting location. It sounds like they just flat ran out of money and had to make due with what they could scrape together. Not a wholly unusual story, and it’s good to know these things when judging the final product to see how they compensated.
Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo

Alex Dinamo (Julio Alemán) – Agent of Servicio International has returned to do more battles against S.O.S. Because that’s what he does. Also women, that’s also what he does. Alex “recovers” from injuries by hiring babes to act as nurses, because that’s what all the cool people were doing in the 1960s. That’s why all the cool people died of easily prevented infections, because they didn’t hire actual nurses.
S.O.S. Leader Solva (Elizabeth Campbell) – S.O.S. is back and still lead by mostly women. This time, Solva is the leader who plans a ridiculous plot against the entire hemisphere. Luckily, it’s too crazy to not get stopped by Alex Dinamo. Elizabeth Campbell also appears in El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras and The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy.
Maura (Alma Delia Fuentes) – Alex Dinamo has a right-hand woman, and this time she’s Maura, played by veteran actress Alma Delia Fuentes. Maura gets shot several times, but they’re only flesh wounds.
S.O.S. Agent Jack (César del Campo) – It’s not a Bond ripoff without a villain with a gimmick, and this guy has a metal hand. A METAL HAND! Possibly gold, probably painted ceramic. His metal hand can karate chop cut things like chains. That doesn’t really help him against Alex Dinamo.
Professor Yura (Jaime Valladares) – The mad scientist making the virus that’s going to be distributed all across Latin America’s water supply. Also the cure has only been proven to work on the beginning stage, but they’re totally confident it will work in later stages… This moron is thankfully killed.
Bárbara (Barbara Angely) – Good agent who was working on the latest S.O.S. conspiracy when her cover is blown and she’s chased all the way to the beach. Alex Dinamo saves her, but that’s not enough to survive a battle on the beach, as this is the new, brutal, gritty Alex Dinamo.
S.O.S. Agent in Ecuador (Amadee Chabot) – And S.O.S. agent who gets mentioned both because she fires lots of guns while in a bikini, but also because she’s Amadee Chabot, who has a semi-well known career in Mexican genre cinema.
S.O.S. Agent 77 (Liza Castro) – S.O.S. Agent who betrays S.O.S. because her sister is killed earlier in the film. I’m not sure if her sister is Bárbara or one of the random S.O.S. agents who were killed. That’s how important her sister was to the film. Basically, everthing Alex Dinamo accomplishes is because Agent 77 turned against S.O.S. So she’s the real hero!

Peligro...! Mujeres en Acción Alex Dinamo
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S.O.S. Conspiracion Bikini (Review)

S.O.S. Conspiracion Bikini

aka S.O.S. Bikini Conspiracy
SOS Conspiracion Bikini Conspiracy Mexico
Written and directed by René Cardona Jr.
SOS Conspiracion Bikini Conspiracy Mexico Alex Dinamo
The best conspiracies don’t involve the government teaming up with aliens to stick things in your butt, but instead involve lots of women in bikinis. Mexico was hip to this fact long before the rest of the world, thus the 1967 cinematic entry S.O.S. Conspiración Bikini. Not only is there a dastardly conspiracy that requires lots of women to wander around in bikinis, but this film is the first appearance of a Mexican answer to James Bond, Alex Dinamo. The Alex Dinamo character would find footing in a comic book series and a sequel film released soon after (with an eye for international release), Peligro!…Mujeres en Acción (Danger! Women in Action). From what I can gather, that was the last appearance of Alex Dinamo onscreen, and he disappeared into the ether after the cancellation of his comic series at date unknown (aka I couldn’t find it), though there was a lucha wrestler named Abismo Negro who used the name Alex Dinamo for a time.

Most Alex Dinamo information online concerns the two film productions. Both S.O.S. Conspiración Bikini and Peligro!…Mujeres en Acción are Ecuadorian coproductions, directed by Mexican genre director extraordinaire, René Cardona Jr. The S.O.S. in the title is not a call for help because of bikini conspiracy complications, but is the name of the villainous organization, S.O.S. (Secret Organizational Service). Perhaps that was a threatening name in 1967, now it just sounds like a college club that needs an excuse to get drunk.
SOS Conspiracion Bikini Conspiracy Mexico Alex Dinamo
As you may have guessed, the main attraction of S.O.S. Conspiración Bikini is the bikini clad babes (featuring Peter Pan swimwear designed by Oleg Cassini), who are usually carrying weapons of deadly force. The S.O.S. is a global organization, but has a large number of women in prominent roles. This is juxtaposed by the raw masculinity of Alex Dinamo and his heroic organization, where both Alex and his boss Inspector spend much of their down time (and up time!) chasing after tail. One of the only heroic women spends much of the film annoyed that Alex Dinamo isn’t spending 100% of his attention on her tail, but not so annoyed that she drops the creep. The other becomes someone for Alex Dinamo to rescue, except for the point where he doesn’t and she dies.

As one of them newfangled spy movies, there is lots of gadgets and things going on. Guns are built into cameras, makeup containers, even high healed shoes. People speak in code and use matchbooks for symbols. At other times, characters openly state they are working for organizations and are about as covert as a bull in a china shop. The opening sequence with a fisherman taking photos leads to a ridiculously complicated method of sending intelligence information around the globe coded in microfilm disguised as a period at the end of typewritten sentence that was a coded message for arms dealers trade routes. This first encounter with S.O.S. takes place 12 years before the film proper, and there is no evidence the heroes even know they are dealing with a super secret conspiracy organization.
SOS Conspiracion Bikini Conspiracy Mexico Alex Dinamo

Alex Dinamo (Julio Alemán) – The most secret secret agents who was ever not a secret, Alex Dinamo must be good, because his name is ridiculous! Works for International Service and fights evil. Julio Alemán was also Rocambole in the two 1967 Rocambole films – Rocambole Contra las Mujeres Arpías and Rocambole Contra la Secta del Escorpion. He appeared in over 150 films and was chairman of the Mexican actors’ union, the Asociación Nacional de Actores (National Actors’ Association). He died in 2012 of lung cancer.
Adriana (Sonia Furió) – The girl Alex Dinamo came to see on vacation (at least that’s what he says!) Of course, that doesn’t keep Alex from hitting on other bikini women, much to Adriana’s anger. Adriana spends much of the film in bikinis herself, and she’s accomplished enough as a martial artist to flip Alex if needed. She’s still captured by SOS, because that’s what they do. Sonia Furió is a Spanish-born actress who gained some critical acclaim in Mexican cinema.
Inspector (Roberto Cañedo) – Alex Dinamo’s boss at International Service. He tells Alex to not be so reckless with the job, and also with the skirts. Will occasionally wander into the story, but besides giving vague guidelines that Dinamo disregards he doesn’t really add anything of value.
Murdered Agent (???) – Member of International Service that Dinamo recognizes and aides a few times, but she’s eventually murdered. Was undercover as a bikini model in the SOS empire. If she had a name, it was never said out loud, despite her being a somewhat major character. I am not sure who plays her.
Bristol (Sonia Infante) – SOS leader who seems to be THE leader, with Luigi right below her. Bristol is ruthless and sharp, but her plans for international expansion hit a speedbump by the name of Dinamo. A busy and acclaimed actress from the 1960s (the Infante clan is a minor acting dynasty), Sonia Infante took an 18 year break from acting after her 1967 marriage, but returned in the 80s after her divorce.
Luigi (Carlos Agostí) – A leading member of SOS, Luigi is well-known enough he has to be smuggled into Ecuador. As he’s the only SOS leader who is well-known, he realizes it’s dumb to bring him in and dumb to have everyone together. He doesn’t have enough influence for anyone to actually listen to him.
Lucrecia (Maura Monti) – An SOS goon who has a higher ranking position in the organization. She also has a musical number and is responsible for smuggling in Luigi.
Madame Rapiee (Lorraine Chanel?) – Lady who organizes all the bikini models for SOS. She’s also a high-ranking member of SOS. I think she’s played by Lorraine Chanel, who gained fame in the US primarily for having an affair with Gary Cooper. It’s hard to find good images of her to make this ID 100% certain.
Uli (Noe Murayama) – High-ranking SOS goon who really really hates Alex Dinamo, especially since he keeps foiling his attempt to murder other agents. Noe Murayama is a familiar face in Mexican genre cinema.

In addition, Isela Vega appears as one of the SOS women who is somewhat sympathetic to Dinamo. Liza Castro is also credited, but I’m not sure who she plays. She appears in the sequel in an expanded role.
SOS Conspiracion Bikini Conspiracy Mexico Alex Dinamo
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The Night of a 1000 Cats (Review)

The Night of a 1000 Cats

aka La Noche de los mil gatos

Hugo Stiglitz as Hugo
Gerardo Zepeda as Dorgo
Christa Linder as Christa
Teresa Velázquez as Woman who shoots doves
Barbara Angely as Barbara
Anjanette Comer as Cathy
Zulma Faiad as Dancer
Directed by René Cardona Jr.
Night of 1000 Cats
True Title: Night of 30 Cats repeated on loop! What’s scarier than one cat? One THOUSAND cats! That’s still not scary, since cats aren’t very scary. At most, you run across some cat who’s a jerk and hisses at you, but in general cats are too busy sleeping to become a 1000-cat army menace. Sure, Hugo feeds his caged cats human flesh, but many cats won’t even eat 9 Lives with Morris on the label! Humans taste terrible; the 1000 cats probably go on a rampage to find some nice fish or birds to eat. More likely, the many many minutes of helicopter footage drove them insane, and they left in search of some catnip to clear their mind. I know I feel like some after viewing Night of 1000 Cats. The DVD contains the cut down 63 minute version, of which only 61 minutes consist of Playboy Hugo flying around in his helicopter harassing women and single-handedly getting stalking laws passed throughout the country. The VHS version contains fond memories, having discovered it back in college, lured in by it’s bright yellow tape casing, still a unique color for films. The yellow VHS tape was the sole point of imagination used in the film. NO1KC (as those of us in the “biz” call it) does have a crazy, Asian manservant named Dorgo. Dorgo, no relation to Torgo, is played by the not very Asian Gerardo Zepeda, showing a second example of a Mexican film using Mexicans for Asians, after The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (which, coincidentally, was directed by René Cardona Jr.’s father, René Cardona!) Night of 1000 Mexican Directors.
Night of 1000 Cats
A montage opening with a topless woman waking, a bikini girl, and other images of Acapulco run by, as the film opens in Confus-O-Vision, finishing with horse riders riding into the ocean to cool off. These montages are not important, as the only thing you need to remember is a couple waking up. The man is Hugo, crazed millionaire playboy, who is a helicopter pilot and rich because of his family’s artifacts. Hugo has a collection himself, of the local girls who he seduces using his dirty beard and lack of normal social skills, as he’s just soooo rich that the girls overlook it for the lump in his pocket (and I don’t mean his package, but that gets some using as well!) His latest trophy girl tells him “I would like to stay with you…” and he replies they agree, but he wants her to “Stay where no one could touch you, like a crystal cage!” Hugo is wearing a goofy pair of glasses and is decked out with a pipe and a scarf while he delivers this line. the fashions in this film are very 1970’s, there will never be any confusion for when it was made.
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