Bill’s Bizarre Bijou
William D. Carl
This week’s feature presentation:
WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (1964)
Welcome to Bill’s Bizarre Bijou, where you’ll discover the strangest films ever made. If there are alien women with too much eye-shadow and miniskirts, if papier-mâché monsters are involved, if your local drive-in insisted this be the last show in their dusk till dawn extravaganza, or if it’s just plain unclassifiable – then I’ve seen it and probably loved it. Now, I’m here to share these little gems with you, so you too can stare in disbelief at your television with your mouth dangling open. Trust me, with these flicks, you won’t believe your eyes.
K. Gordon Murray imported a second Luchadoras (Lady Wrestler) movie directed by Rene Cordona one year after the initial series entry, DOCTOR OF DOOM (1963). Once again, kiddie matinee audiences were treated to the adventures of a tag team of female wrestlers—Mexican Gloria Venus and the American Golden Rub—against an assortment of hissable villains and monsters. They are once again played, respectively, by Lorena Velazquez and Elizabeth Campbell, each looking as gorgeous as in the first movie. Their boyfriends, the pair of bumbling Mexican detectives, are also back as the WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY (aka ROCK ‘N ROLL WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY) flutters across our disbelieving eyeballs. My goodness, but this one is even weirder and crazier than the first. And that’s sayin‘ something! On to the story!
Oh! According to the credits, the cast includes the Milagros India Ballet!
We start off with a bang, as a bloody man is tossed onto a city street from a speeding car. The headlines shout (in Spanish) “Black Dragon Gang Kills Archeologist!” A second body is tossed from a car, this time in the desert. “Black Dragon Strikes Again! Dr. Van Dyne Disappears!” Yet another scientist is tortured by a Fu Manchu/Yellow Menace-type. Another scientist is chased from his home by a carful of thugs. He drives to the coliseum where a wrestling match is taking place between two tag-teams, Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi (whose hair has turned brunette since last time!) and two rather butch, um, ladies. If the wrestling footage looks familiar, it’s because it was lifted from the first movie. The wrestling gals are cheered on by their detective boyfriends in the audience. We aren’t even five minutes into the feature, folks.
The girls go to their dressing room and discover a man lurking in the shadows, Dr. Mike Sorba, who wants to talk to Mike the Detective, Gloria Venus’s fiancé. He informs the detective that the Black Dragon is making threats against him and the detective’s uncle. The older scientists have discovered something, and the Black Dragon is killing and torturing all the scientists who have a certain codex. Now, only Dr. Sorba and the uncle remain. Well, until Sorba is suddenly killed in the locker room by a poison dart.
The thugs head back to Fu Man…I mean…the Black Dragon and his evil sisters. He tells his henchmen to go after the last scientist remaining, Detective Mike’s Uncle, Dr. Tracey (from THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO?).
The group, two detectives and two lady wrestlers, drive to the uncle’s house, where Dr. Tracey tells his nephew about the codex. The Black Dragon has half and Uncle Tracey decides to give the two wrestlers and his nephew each a third of the half he has. A pretty blond girl has become Dr. Tracey’s ward, Charlotte. Within minutes, Charlotte is kidnapped by hoodlums while Dr. Tracey sneaks off to get his half of the codex.
Dr. Tracey digs the codex from between bricks in an abandoned house and splits it into thirds as planned. He disburses them in the girls’ lockers and a post office box. Meanwhile, The Black Dragon uses a flashy machine and injections to brainwash Charlotte to hate the ones she once loved, and she’ll do exactly as he orders. His sisters are impressed (although one speaks with a Natasha Badinov Russian accent; who knows why?). Under the Black Dragon’s influence, Charlotte returns to the scientist’s house. First, the foursome split up, following clues to find the thirds of the codex.
So far, no one has explained the what or why of the codex. Everyone just wants it badly. And the Black Dragon has bugged the house, so he has sent his thugs to intercept the heroes before they find the hiding places. Golden Rubi and her boyfriend are captured. Luckily, Gloria Venus and her detective follow and everybody brawls. The thugs get away with that part of the codex. The Black Dragon decides to set his judo-expert sisters against the two wrestling broads.
All sorts of shenanigans occur until our heroes have one part of the codex and the Black Dragon has all the rest. Black Dragon bets all his parts against the one in a tag-team match between his sisters and our gal wrasslers, and it’ll be held in public in the coliseum. Seems a lot easier than just calling the police and arresting the gang. Yeah, right…
They must have waited a few days and advertised, because the place is packed for the judo vs. wrestling match. I swear, during the crowd noises, I heard someone shout, “Andelay! Andelay!” And we get the pleasure of watching four women in tight clothing beat the crap out of each other for a good eight minutes. Hey, there are certainly worse ways to spend eight minutes.
Of course, Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi win the match. The Black Dragon gives away the codex (well, he’s a bad guy with honor, don’t ya’ know), and just as he was going to be arrested, his sisters judo chop their way through the cops and break him loose. The Dragon hatches a plan to follow the good guys to wherever the codex leads them and get…whatever the hell is the goal. Coherency isn’t given a second glance in this flick.
The codex leads the group (and The Black Dragon and his henchmen) to Tezomoc’s Burial Ground, a witch doctor who can change his shape, just like the moldy mummy in DEATH CURSE OF TARTU (1966). As the professor reads the translated codex, we get to watch a flashback to Aztec times that shows a maiden who was to be sacrificed to the gods and the witch doctor who saved her by carrying her away. The lovers were found and returned to the temple where the man, Tezomoc, was buried alive and required to maintain a vigil over his lover’s burial ground and the gold breastplate placed over her chest. And, yeah, the tomb is cursed if the breastplate leaves the grounds.
The tomb is easy to find (did no one ever spot the ninety foot pyramid above it?), and the group fumbles around in the dark for what seems like three and a half hours. Finally, they find the temple. As they are about to read the breastplate, a tomb opens and Tezomoc pops out like a dusty Kate Moss. It’s extremely skinny, bony, and hideous. Bullets can’t stop it, and it moans, stretching its mouth open so wide it looks like its cheeks could split. It also turns into a bat, which is really hard to wrestle. “Look, Loretta, he’s a vampire now!” Who’s Loretta?
Will our heroes translate the breastplate and send the mummy back to the land of the dead? Or will the Black Dragon and his minions find it first and get the treasure? Is there ever any doubt?
K. Gordon Murray’s dubbing techniques for his Mexican imports lend a tone of the surreal to the proceedings. Being one of the first to dub movies into English from another language, he hired a sound technician from Disney, Manny Fernandez and a bilingual writer, Ruby Guberman, to change the words coming out of the characters mouths. Instead of trying to make a literal translation, the team attempted to match the lip movements as closely as possible, which resulted in pretty good synchronization, but truly bizarre phrasings. An example from tonight’s film: “Now, just as the Dragon heard this, and what motives he has have yet to be explained, he hunted down all the others and he tortured them without pity to get them to reveal who had been designated to guard the records.” Whew! What a mouthful.
WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY isn’t as much fun as its predecessor, DOCTOR OF DOOM. We don’t even get to the Aztec Mummy until the seventy minute mark, and then, despite the title, the mummy is on the side of good. The pacing is all over the place, too. Sometimes, this movie flies by at a lightning pace, and at other times the characters get so bored they stop all forward plot motion and play cards. I am not kidding. And where in the world was the Milagros India Ballet?
Still, we get lots of wrestling, beautiful women, fun gadgets, the Yellow Menace, judo-chopping twin sisters with different accents, crummy dubbing, and a creepy mummy. It’s still worth a gander, even if it doesn’t rise to the heights of silliness of the first movie.
I give WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY two and a half breastplates out of four.
© Copyright 2013 by William D. Carl