Friday, June 04, 2010

“This picture is a combination of factual data mixed with fiction.”

Well, time for some bonus schlock. Here’s 1958’s La momia azteca contra el robot humano (aka The Robot Vs The Aztec Mummy), which was apparently the third in a trilogy of films centering around the titular mummy.

And let me tell you, this one is insane.

Well, most of this movie is exposition told through flashbacks to previous movies. The basic gist is that Mr. Scientist/Narrator had some ideas about past life experiences and hypnosis, did that on his wife, found out she used to be an Aztec princess back in the day who was sacrificed and buried along with an ancient breastplate and bracelet that apparently was also the guide to more Aztec treasure. Of course, when they got there they also find out that the treasure is guarded by a mummy. Stuff happens, another scientist guy, who’s evil, wants the treasure for himself. The evil scientist hypnotizes the good scientist’s wife, has her show him the tomb where the mummy set up shop and then decides to build a robot to fight the mummy so they can steal the bracelet and breastplate, which is a completely logical thing to do.

Dr. Eduardo Almada: Ramón Gay (who looks like a Mexican J. Jonah Jameson) is our Hero, a man of Science with a hot wife and grave robbing tendencies (well, he DID activate the Mummy by stealing the breastplate & bracelet in the first place). He’s pretty boring though.

Flor/Flora Almada: Rosa Arenas plays Eduardo’s hot wife who’s got the unfortunate habit of getting hypnotized a lot and/or kidnapped.

Dr. Krupp aka The Bat: Luis Aceves Castañeda devours scenery as the mad-eyed rogue scientist. Easily the most entertaining character, largely because he really is insane. I mean, after getting his ass beat by the mummy before, he finds the mummy’s new resting place, then disappears for five years, spends a fortune to build one of the worst looking robots ever so that he can steal the mummy’s treasures, find a horde of Aztec gold and then get rich and/or take over the world. That’s commitment right there.

Popoca: Ángel Di Stefani (who was Popoca in the other two Aztec Mummy movies) is probably the most fleshed out character in the movie, and he just growls. Turned into a mummy for his forbidden love, he’s doomed to forever guard a cheap set of “treasure.” And he kills people who steal the treasure (unless they give it back). You know, I actually don’t have any real complaints about him. He’s the one who does everything. I’m convinced he’s the actual protagonist and not boring ol’ Doctor Exposition. The badass of the film.

The Robot: Special. Effects. Failure. He makes Popoca’s costume look top notch. At least Popoca’s got knees.

Raphael Portillo was the director of this. Pacing is all over the place. A lot of stuff happens, but most of it is told in expository flashbacks. The movie is only around 65 minutes and about two thirds of it are flashbacks. That’s…not good at all. I understand that this was the third in a three movie cycle, but really, it doesn’t have to go THAT overboard on exposition and recycled footage. The sets look cheap and the special effects are awful, although the mummy’s costume isn’t actually that bad, all things considered.

Guillermo Calderón and Alfredo Salazar on story duty. I think a large part of the blame belongs to them, largely because most of the movie is a flashback. I understand they probably didn't have much of a budget to start with, but still.

Now, I watched the English dub, so I can’t really say anything about the dialogue, but, well it can’t be much better than the bland nonsense of the dub. And either way, I’m sure Dr. Krupp remains quite loquacious, which is a positive.

Original music by Antonio Díaz Conde. Mostly it’s just there, however, the Aztec singing done during the flashback ritual is godawfully annoying (of course, the god in question might be Itztli or Chalmecatecuchtlz, but who can be sure?)

You know, for a movie called The Robot Vs the Aztec Mummy, there isn’t a whole lot of Robot vs. Mummy action. The bulk of the film is a boring piece of dreck and the human characters (aside from the Bat) are stiff, wooden and boring. Still, there are some bright spots. The Bat is a goofy as all hell villain and the actor really hams things up. Popoca isn’t too bad as far as mummies go and the robot is so hilariously awful that it goes through some kind of quantum state where it transforms into something sublimely brilliant. I mean, it IS the creation of a MAD scientist after all.

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