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SANTO CONTRA CEREBRO DEL MAL (SANTO VS. THE EVIL BRAIN) (1961)

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Discussion before

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, the Mexican wrestler turned actor, launched his career as a superhero named Santo (the Saint) by taking on a mad scientist who has discovered the secret of mind control in this action horror film. Over the next two decades, he would battle everything from Martians to the mafia to vampire women. Santo’s first appearance here didn’t actually start out as a Santo film. It was conceived and co-written by Fernando Osés, who wrestled as El Incognito. Santo was supposed to be his sidekick in this film and Santo contra hombres infernales (1961), with both films shot back-to-back in Cuba. They finished the day before Castro seized power there. It wasn’t until three years later that Santo made his starring debut in Santo contra los zombis (1962). With that film’s success, the earlier pictures were retitled, and the first was released in the U.S. The films did so well that other wrestling stars launched their own series, such as Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras, Superzan and the Wrestling Women, some of whom co-starred with Santo. With their outlandish plots, poor dubbing and low-budgets, the four of 52 Santo films dubbed into English and distributed to Saturday matinees and independent television by K. Gordon Murray have become cult favorites. (d. Joselito Rodríguez, 70m, DCP)

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