Santo vs Frankenstein’s Daughter (plus audio review)

wrestling santoSanto may not be for everyone, or maybe he’s an acquired taste, but more than likely if you didn’t watch his films as a kid, the attraction may never be there for you. Watching these movies now as an adult, it’s easy to pick them apart and laugh at the crazy plots and goofy sets, but there’s also a winning kind of sincerity to them and a willingness to throw everything into the the movie — not just the kitchen sink, but werewolves, vampires, the living dead, Frankenstein’s monster, you name it. Also, there are always one or two moments that can only happen in a Santo movie. Santo vs la hija de Frankenstein (Santo vs Frankenstein’s Daughter) has two such moments.

Moment one: At one point in the film, Frankenstein’s Daughter hypnotizes Santo’s girlfriend and orders her to go to Santo, who is chained to a marble slab, and gouge out his eyes. To make sure she does as instructed, a henchman wearing an eye patch is sent with her. The henchman is a bit on the squeamish side, however, so he stands outside, on the other side of the door, and listens to Santo’s screams of agony as his eyes are gouged out.

When Frankenstein’s Daughter learns that Santo has escaped and that the eye gouging was faked, she demands eye patchan explanation from her henchman. He doesn’t lie or give her a bunch of excuses. He simply says, “I lost my own eye. I could not watch.” No false bravado or machismo here. This big, burly henchman is unable to do anything except state the simple, crazy truth. It’s a moment that’s both silly and, somehow, touching.

Moment two: During a fight in a cemetery, Santo throws Ursus (a monstrous creation of Frankenstein’s Daughter) backward, and the creature is impaled on a cross. While Santo sends the other henchmen fleeing, Ursus manages to pull himself off the cross and to sit down on a grave. Seeing this, Santo takes pity on Ursus, removes his own shirt, rolls it into a ball, and then sticks it under Ursus’ shirt to help stanch the flow of blood pouring from the monster’s chest. As a medical remedy, it leaves a bit to be desired, but in this case, maybe it’s the thought that counts.

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Touched by this little bit of humanity, the dying Ursus shows up at the end of the film to help Santo fight the henchmen of Frankenstein’s Daughter, enabling Santo to rescue his girlfriend and her sister. A button is inadvertently pushed, setting off a delayed detonation that will blow up the hidden lab. Santo turns to the mortally wounded Usus and says, “We’ve got to get out. Follow me.”

From that point on, Santo is busy helping his girlfriend and her sister run (neither one of them, it should be noted, dealing with a gaping, blood-drenched wound), while Ursus, understandably looking a little puzzled, stumbles after them. Santo and the women make it to safety, but poor Ursus, who isn’t traveling very fast, is blown up! No one acknowledges his death or has even a kind word for the gruesome but ultimately helpful creature.

Only in a Santo movie, even if inadvertently, could your sympathies be switched from the seemingly callous hero with his perfunctory humanity, to a dazed but well meaning monster.

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SANTO VS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER (SANTO VS LA HIJA DE FRANKENSTEIN) (1971)
Director: Miguel M. Delgado. Writer: Fernando Oses. Starring: Santo, Gina Romand, Anel.

A hero so legendary, a character so large it required three reviewers to take on one of his films.

https://imrud.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/snato-fd.mp3″

For more Santo entries, check the sidebar under Catagories and click Santo.

This entry was posted in Cult, Santo and tagged by Jim Rutherford. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jim Rutherford

I am a projectionist in the UCLA Film and TV Department, and I have been watching movies for as long as I can remember. Some of my favorite directors are Stanley Kubrick, Chuck Jones, Alejandro Jordorowsky, Richard Lester, and John Milius.

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