Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 23rd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Mexico, 1963 (Santo En El Museo De Cera), Mexico, 1970 (Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos)
Directors: Alfonso Corona Blake (Santo En El Museo De Cera), Gilberto Martínez Solares (Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos)
Cast: Santo, Claudio Brook, Norma Mora, Rubén Rojo, Roxana Bellini, José Luis Jiménez, Víctor Velázquez, Jorge Mondragón (Santo En El Museo De Cera), Santo, Pilar Pellicer, Carlos León, Antonio Raxel, Guillermo Álvarez Bianchi. Alejandro Munoz Moreno (Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos)
DVD released: July 1st, 2008
Approximate running time: 92 minutes (Santo En El Museo De Cera), 80 minutes (Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Spanish (Both Films)
DVD Release: Lionsgate
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Santo En El Museo De Cera: Santo investigates the disappearance of a photographer. Her last known whereabouts were at a wax museum run by the eccentric Dr. Karol. Santo quickly discovers a link behind the photographer’s disappearance and that the truth behind the life like wax statues at the museum.
Santo En El Museo De Cera was directed by Alfonso Corona Blake whose other notable films include Santo Versus the Vampire Women and The World of the Vampires. Two years after Santo En El Museo De Cera was released it was released AIP for American television and released under the English language title Samson in the Wax Museum. The films cinematographer José Ortiz Ramos notable credits include The Curse of the Crying Woman, The Living Head and The Brainiac.
The plot for Santo En El Museo De Cera is basically a detective story with a madman with a diabolical plan thrown in for good measure. Visually the black and white photography has a film noir feel to it. The scenes with Dr. Karol in laboratory are reminiscent of the monsters movies produced by Universal in the 1930’s. The film also features three wrestling matches with Santo. While these matches have little if anything to do with the main story it wouldn’t be a Santo film without wrestling scenes. The film moves along quickly with only aforementioned wrestling scenes feeling more like padding to the film’s time length.
Cast in the role of Santo is a wrestler/actor named Rodolfo Guzman Huerta. He was always billed in the credits under his Santo alias and not under his real name. For a wrestler turned actor Rodolfo Guzman Huerta has a strong presence and the film’s numerous fight scenes play to his strength. Playing Santo’s nemesis Dr. Karol in this film is an actor named Claudio Brook. He does a superb job playing the film’s heavy. The cast as a whole were all surprisingly good in their respective roles.
Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos: During medieval times four cult members are burned at the stake while their high priestess who watches from afar as she plots their revenge. Three hundred years later the time has come to resurrect The Blue Demon and the three other cult members who were burned at the stake. To help high priestess and her followers complete their plans she possesses the body of Santo’s fiancé who fate is put into his hands as he fights to end a three hundred year old curse.
Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos was directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares who also directed Santo Y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos. Land of the Dead is the English language title for Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos. Besides composing scores for several Santo films composer Gustavo César Carrión’s other notable score include The Vampire, The Vampire’s Coffin, The Black Pit of Dr. M, The Man and the Monster, The Living Coffin, The Brainiac and The Curse of the Crying Woman.
The first thirty minutes of the plot set up the revenge that is to follow and this all takes place during the dark ages. Seeing Santo dressed up as a night certainly looks odd. Then the remainder of the film takes place during the present. Santo is forced to take drastic measures to save the woman he loves including fighting wrestlers who can appear and disappear on a whim. The action scenes are all a lot of fun even if the story lacks a stable narrative. Once the plot flash forwards to the present everything is thrown in including the kitchen sink. Even though the films just clocks in at eighty minutes the plots does muddle along and loses steam well before the films conclusion.
Cast once again in the role of Santo is a wrestler/actor named Rodolfo Guzman Huerta who gives another reliable performance that is bolstered by his fighting scenes which are all very entertaining. Alejandro Munoz Moreno is cast as Blue Demon the thorn in Santo’s side and lead henchmen for the high priestess. Outside of Santo and Blue Demon the rest of the cast are adequate at best.
Overall Santo En El Museo De Cera ranks among Santo’s better films while Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos is one of his more forgettable films.
Both Santo films included with this release are presented in a full frame aspect ratio and they both look like they are in their original aspect ratio or at least open matte presentations. Both transfers have some mild print damage that crops up from time to time that is inherent of their source material and it is never detracts away from the presentation of the film’s. Santo En El Museo De Cera comes with detailed looking black and white transfer that has strong black levels throughout. Overall Loins Gate’s transfer is the best that Santo En El Museo De Cera has looked on DVD in region 1. Outside some mild instances of color fluctuation Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos looks detailed and colorful with natural looking flesh tones. These instances of color fluctuation occur during scenes were footage that looks like it was taken from another source is used like stock footage. The rest of the footage looks really good and at times colors are vivid. Overall Loins Gates transfer for Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos is above average.
Both releases come with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in the film’s native Spanish. There is some noticeable hiss that appears on both soundtracks. Outside the instances of background hiss the audio while not overpowering it is more than adequate in getting the job done. No English subtitles have been provided for this release.
Extras for this release include bios for Santo (Rodolfo Guzman Huerta), Claudio Brook and Blue Demon (Alejandro Munoz Moreno) all text is in Spanish. Santo En El Museo De Cera was previously released on DVD in the US by a company named Beverly Wilshire who is not known for releasing quality transfers and in the UK Yume Pictures released the film with a transfer that is on par to the one Lions Gate used for this release. Audio wise the Beverly Wilshire comes with an English dubbed audio track while the Yume Pictures release comes with the film’s original Spanish language track and non-removable English subtitles. This release from Loins Gate appears to the first official DVD release of Santo Y Blue Demon En El Mundo De Los Muertos. Overall don’t let the lack of English subtitles will deter you from picking up this cheaply priced Santo double feature from Lions Gates.