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The five most representative films of El Santo

By: Aranza Flores @Alvayeah

One of the Mexican genres that has caused fascination at the international level is that of wrestling. When you hear about this type of cinema, the first thing that comes to mind is “El Santo”, murderous vampires and zombies. The incursion on the big screen of this athlete made him become an icon of pop culture.

El Santo

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, known as “El Santo, the silver masked man”, began to practice this sport in 1942. Born in Tulancingo, Hidalgo, El Santo became a legend for his skill and fighting technique, but also for the stories of which he was the main character.

Before venturing into the cinema, his figure began to appear first in comics and later began to appear as a secondary character in films such as La bestia magnífica (Lucha libre) (1953), by Chano Urueta, who were responsible for building the dichotomy between good and evil, which ended up making El Santo a superhero.

It was in 1958 when the first film starring this character appeared, and from that moment began a series of films that forever marked the history of Mexican cinema. Even personalities such as director Quentin Tarantino have mentioned that they admire this film genre.

Next, we bring to you a list with the most representative films of “El Santo”:

Santo contra el cerebro del mal (1958, dir. Joselito Rodríguez)

Santo contra el cerebro del mal (1958, dir. Joselito Rodríguez)

After his participation in The Magnificent Beast, this was the first film starring the fighter. In it, scientists kidnap the athlete to experiment with him.

The film, considered cult cinema, was restored by the film archive Permanencia Voluntaria in 2017 and was presented at the Berlin Film Festival within the Forum section.

Santo contra hombres infernales (1961, dir. Joselito Rodríguez)

Santo contra hombres infernales (1961, dir. Joselito Rodríguez)

An undercover cop who infiltrates a gang of smugglers is discovered and they, in revenge, kidnap his girlfriend. El Santo will be in charge of rescuing her and fighting the evildoers.

In 2017, the film was restored and released at the 15th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) in a special screening.

This film, along with Santo contra el cerebro del mal, was filmed in Cuba during the revolution and smuggled out of the country into a coffin a few days before Fidel Castro took power.

Santo contra los zombies (1961, dir. Benito Alazraki)

Santo contra los zombies (1961, dir. Benito Alazraki)

Starring Lorena Velázquez, El Santo must investigate who is behind great robberies and the disappearance of a teacher. To do this, he faces a group of criminals returning from death, and whose only weakness is chili powder. The plot has dyes of mystery and is also related to voodoo.

It is considered the first El Santo film filmed in Mexico, as the previous two were made in Cuba.

Santo contra las mujeres vampiro (1962, dir. Alfonso Corona Blake)

Among the curious stories that link wrestling with mystery and terror, is this film produced by the Churubusco Studios and directed by Alfonso Corona Blake.

A priestess seeks to revive an ancient queen with the blood of a young woman. The girl’s father asks El Santo for help to prevent it, but he has to face a group of vampires looking to destroy him.

Starring Lorena Velázquez and María Duval, it is one of the most emblematic films of the Silver Masked.

Santo contra las mujeres vampiro is considered one of the best films of the genre of Mexican wrestlers. It was the fourth feature film in Santo’s career as an actor.

Santo y Blue Demon contra los monstruos (1970, dir. Gilberto Martínez Solares)

El Santo y Blue Demon contra los monstruos (1970, dir. Gilberto Martínez Solares)

Blue Demon, a well-known enemy wrestler of the Silver Masked, is captured by a villain who makes a copy of him to fight El Santo. In this battle, there are several classic monsters of the twisted wrestling stories: the Vampire Woman, Dracula, the Werewolf, Franquestein, the Mummy and the Cyclops.