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  Santo in the Wax Museum He's No DummyBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Alfonso Corona Blake, Manuel San Fernando
Stars: Santo, Claudio Brook, Norma Mora, Rubén Rojo, Roxana Bellini, José Luis Jimenéz, Victor Vélazquez, Jorge Mondragón, Fernando Osés, Nathanael Léon
Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man is walking along the street one night, minding his own business, when a large figure rushes up and kidnaps him. The next day, Dr Karol (Claudio Brook) is showing visitors around his wax museum including a photographer, Susana (Norma Mora), who asks if she may be allowed to return later so she can take more pictures. Dr Karol agrees, and escorts her and the others down to his proudest section, the Chamber of Horrors, which features wax figures of the likes of the Frankenstein Monster, Mr Hyde and a Yeti-man. However, when Susana returns after consulting with the reporter, Ricardo (Rubén Rojo), who will write the story, she is increasingly alarmed by Dr Karol's talk of the ugliness in the soul of mankind. Little does she know that she is soon to disappear...

Santo was at the forefront of Mexican wrestling movies, appearing in a dizzying number of them over a period of twenty-five years or so, and Santo in the Wax Museum was one of the earlier ones. Made to cash in on the hero's success in the wrestling ring, they painted him as The Man in the Silver Mask, whose unerring ability to throw baddies over his shoulder saw him through a long cinema career battling a rogues gallery of traditional, and at times somewhat eccentric, villains. This time, written by co-director Alfonso Corona Blake, Fernando Galiana and Julio Porter, the adventure is obviously based on Mystery of the Wax Museum, which offers ample opportunity for Santo to strike a dashing pose, and strike a few henchmen as well.

Actually, Santo doesn't appear until almost a third of the movie is over, as there's a lot of plot setting up to get through first. If you can't guess who the real villain is, I won't reveal it here, but let's just say it wouldn't exactly take Sherlock Holmes to deduce his identity even if you haven't seen the original or its Vincent Price remake. Dr Karol is concerned when Susana goes missing, believing that someone is trying to discredit him as it was at his museum that she was last seen, but his friend Professor Galvan has a hotline to Santo, which consists of a television screen that automatically tunes in on wherever Santo is at the time, enabling two way communication (and presumably the odd embarrassing moment as well).

So Santo is brought in to investigate the case, but first he must don his tights and get down to some serious wrestling. One of the strangest aspects of this film for non-Mexican viewers is that Santo is quite content to break off his sleuthing to participate in a wrestling match, as he does three times here, no matter how desperate the situation is growing. The first match sees him against an opponent who not only wades into the crowd to beat up a few of the spectators, but bites Santo's fingers and toes as well. The second has an uninteresting masked opponent, but the third is probably the best, with a supposedly French, flamboyant combatant who plays up to the audience's jeers and gives our hero a run for his money. Meanwhile, events are leading up to a grand finale in the museum, with Santo in a race against time to save Susana, her sister and Ricardo - lucky for them the crazed madman at the heart of all this takes so long to explain his philosophy. Action, thrills, animated dummies, even unintentional laughs (especially unintentional laughs, some would say), they're all here in a typical entry in the cycle.

Aka: Santo en el Museo de Cera
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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