Friday, October 28, 2011

“My mission, to which I am fully dedicated, is to fight against evil.”

Its my understanding that they filmed the Aztec Mummy trilogy back to back, sort of like Lord of the Rings, only…not. La maldición de la momia azteca AKA Curse of the Aztec Mummy, also from 1957, was the middle film and…it is every bit as crazy as The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy.

So Dr. Krupp is being interrogated by the police after being caught and outed as the criminal mastermind The Bat. Except Krupp denies everything and his henchmen develop the clever plan of sending a note to Krupp and the police with a bat picture on it, which raises doubt that the scientist actually is the Bat. That doubt doesn’t last long because Krupp’s goons continue to take the initiative and bust him out of the bus taking him to jail, despite the interventions of a masked Luchador named the Angel.

Wait, what?

Yes, the movie throws in a mysterious caped Luchador who seems to drive a Morgan convertible. Right, so, Krupp and his gang get away and after a lengthy flashback of what Krupp knows of the previous movie’s plot, Krupp decides that the lost Aztec treasure the heroes found would perfectly pay for his mad science experiments. So he kidnaps Flor and hypnotizes her, then we get a cycle of Dr. Almada & the Angel getting caught and escaping and caught again. Then they finally DO find the Aztec treasure again and at the very end of the movie, the Aztec Mummy shows up to claim what’s his.

Dr. Eduardo Almada: Ramón Gay is still our hero and despite everything that happened in the last movie, he thinks the Curse of Popoca will no longer have anything to do with his family. Boy is he wrong. Most of the movie has him working in opposition to Dr. Krupp, who’s kidnapped his woman.

Flor Sepúlveda/Xochitl: Rosita Arenas spends most of the movie kidnapped by Dr. Krupp and kept in a drugged-up state to make her mind susceptive to hypnosis, so she can tell him where the Aztec treasure was buried…even though he himself has been to the same Aztec pyramid as everybody else and…never mind, Mad Science. She’s the only one who really suspects that Popoca isn’t done yet.

Pinacate: Crox Alvarado continues to be the comic relief guy, gets beat up a few more times, and then is largely absent from the movie. Hmm…

Pepe Almada: Jaime Quiñones actually has a larger part in this movie, as he becomes an unofficial sidekick for the Angel, calling him on his wrist phone to alert the hero of danger and eventually rescuing the luchador from a deathtrap.

Dr. Krupp/The Bat: Luis Aceves Castañeda really starts to ham things up. No longer required to pretend to be a sane scientist, he goes into full Mad Science mode, devising bizarre schemes, trying to throw luchadors into snakepits, and determined to get that Aztec treasure. Not because he wants it for himself, oh no. In true Mad Scientist fashion, he only sees the priceless relics as a means to an end: the financing of his experiments so that he may (somehow) achieve immortality! He’s actually great in this.

Tierno: Arturo Martínez continues to be Krupp’s go-to henchman (and will stick around for the third movie). He’s the one who basically organizes his boss’ prison break. Good henchmen like that are hard to find.

Popoca: Ángel Di Stefani is barely in this movie (unless you count flashbacks). For most of the movie, nobody has the Aztec treasure, so Popoca doesn’t have anything to do. He’s guarding it and there’s no problems for him. The only reason he gets involved at all in this movie is because the breastplate and bracelet were stolen, so he busts some heads at the end of the movie, throws Krupp into the snakepit, and leaves with the treasure to go guard it again. Popoca is very dedicated to his job.

El Ángel: While you would think the addition of a masked wrestler would lead to a climactic showdown between a Luchador and Mummy, you’d be wrong. The Angel is a friend of justice, and has a mutual enemy in Dr. Krupp. The Angel is also not particularly good at his job of actually stopping crime. He’s persistent, I’ll give him that, and certainly hard to kill, but he doesn’t really succeed at stopping our villain at anything. He’s more like a big-talking speed bump of justice than an actual deterrent to crime. He’s also secretly one of the characters above. And its not Popoca (though that would be sweet).

Rafael Portillo still directing, and the movie is probably the one with the most action and movement of the trilogy, even if it is mostly backtracking. There’s plenty of action sequences featuring the Angel, which is a plus. The Aztec ceremony from the first movie is flashed back to in pretty much its entirety.

Ah, and I should mention that when Krupp’s goons spring him from the police, Krupp picks up a Tommy Gun and shakes it around like he’s firing it and you hear stock audio of machine gun fire with absolutely no muzzle flash or actual recoil. Cheese at its finest!

Story still by Guillermo Calderon & Alfredo Salazar, and, well, it’s a mummy movie with a luchador. It is much less serious than the first movie yet still more coherent than the third movie. Basically its cheese with pulp-novel sensibilities.

Antonio Díaz Conde still did the music and its pretty much the same story. A lot of standard B-movie cues with a lot of shrill sounds thrown in. That Aztec ceremony is a real pain for the ears to sit through.

Curse of the Aztec Mummy might actually be the best of the trilogy because of the good ratio of on-screen craziness to recycled footage from previous installments. I wouldn’t call it a good movie (nor would that apply to the series as a whole) but for Mexican cheese (I guess queso would be more accurate) its very entertaining. The only real complaint is that Popoca has maybe less than five minutes of actual screen time, which is a shame.

No trailer for this one, so here's the overly-long flashback to Aztec times, complete with human sacrifice accompanied by ear-piercing music! If I had to hear it, you should to!

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