Santo Vs Frankenstein's Daughter/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Freda Frankenstein, daughter of the famous monster maker, has kept herself alive for over 100 years by injecting herself with a rejuvenating serum of her own invention. Over time however her body has become resistant to the drug and she is now looking for a new fix. Freda is convinced that the blood of Mexican wrestling super-hombre El Santo contains supernatural properties that will give her the immortality she so desperately desires and kidnaps his girlfriend Norma to use as bait in a diabolical trap.
The serum is not the only successful experiment to come out of Lady Frankenstein’s old school mad scientist laboratory. Down in the basement lurks “half man, half beast” Truxon the result of a transfusion of gorilla’s blood into a human. Truxon is a dead ringer for the ape-faced result of a similar experiment in mad Mexican horror movie Night of the Bloody Apes and in fact is played by the same actor: Gerardo Zepeda.
Freda has also harnessed the power of lightning to give life to “a creature built with parts from different corpses” called Ursus. Like father like daughter eh? Ursus is your typical flat-top patchwork Frankenstein monster and when he breaks free of his constraints and kicks in the door to the cell where Norma is being held captive the girl makes a mad dash for freedom.
Luckily El Santo & Norma’s sister Elsa are wandering around the nearby woods having followed directions left on a map by the kidnappers. They bump into the fleeing Norma but are set upon by a Freda’s hired help and La Frankenstein soon has our hero stripped to the waist and strung up in her dungeon. She wastes no time in tearing off his mask and although the audience are denied a glimpse of El Santo’s secret identity Freda is so overwhelmed by our heroes handsome features that she immediately gives him a big smoochy kiss. Referee!!!
With Norma under the mad doctor’s hypnotic control, Ursus & Truxon ready to tear him limb from limb and a town full of locals all addicted to Freda’s youth juice the man in the silver mask’s chances of escape ain’t looking too hot.
‘Santo Vs Frankenstein's Daughter’ is one of the most consistently entertaining of all of the masked wrestler’s many movies. The performances from all concerned are spirited and the script gives the larger than life characters plenty of choice dialogue to chew on. The editing is fast-paced especially during the frequent action sequences with a variety of camera angles employed, something which is often lacking in the cheaper entries in the series. The laboratory equipment appears on loan from an Al Adamson flick and the old age make-ups are of the crispy paper-mache variety but they all add to the comic book flavour. The night-time cemetery scenes are particular well shot with plenty of that atmospheric backlit fog that Mario Bava was so fond of. All these elements contribute to making this a highlight of the long running series of adventures.
Gina Romand is great as Freda Frankenstein (or Frankestein as it’s spelled in the original Spanish title) whether paraphrasing Colin Clive’s “it’s alive” speech from Universal studios definitive version of ‘Frankenstein’ or repeatedly relishing the possibility of gouging out somebody’s eyes she’s one of the very best Santo villains. Her hairstyle inexplicably changes from one scene to the next; an unexpected side effect of her rejuvenating potion no doubt. Romano had previously appeared opposite El Santo in 2 earlier films in the series: Santo Vs The Infernal Men & Santo In The Revenge Of The Vampire Women.
Towards the film’s end El Santo asks a guy in a jeep if he can safely escort Norma & Elsa back to the city and the man confesses to being a big fan of the masked wrestler. El Santo promises him a backstage pass at his next wrestling match. To a Mexican audience watching the movie in the mid-1970’s this kind of meeting would be a dream come true but not an impossibility. The fact that El Santo was not just a character invented for the screen but a living, breathing, wrestling man of action makes him unique in the pantheon of movie super-heroes and that much cooler too.