27 September 2000 | kikaidar
Female Tag-Team Fights A Musty Mummy
By 1962, the lucha libre genre -- chiefly made up of low budged actioners pitting masked wrestler heroes against spies, gangsters, monsters and other assorted lowlifes -- was beginning to attract a wide and loyal following. In the next decade, numerous films starring the likes of Santo, Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras would rake in considerable profits for enterprising producers.
Looking to capitalize on this new trend, the first pair of four films featuring Las Luchadoras were lensed (in 1962 and 1964). As were their male counterparts, the Luchadoras were depicted as successful wrestlers suddenly thrust into mysterious and dangerous circumstances. Unlike the more established lucha heroes, the girls did not wear distinctive masks. Equally significantly, the team was specifically created for the movies. In the first two films, Lorena and The Golden Rubi were played by actresses Lorena Valezquez and Elizabeth Campbell. Much of their in-ring footage was achieved through the use of stuntwomen (likely actual wrestlers).
The second of the early Luchadoras films, MOMIA is a fun if minor outing which benefits from generally gloomy photography and a sometimes frenetic pace. Initially released to American television by import auteur K. Gordon Murry, the title is currently available on prerecord, with a newly-added rock "score" added in the 1980s. In this form, it's an ideal "party tape," in spite of a notorious non-ending on this print.
Deep in the heart of Mexico, archaeologists are being abducted and killed by the wicked Black Dragon and his all-oriental gang. The missing men were all members of a scientific party which had earlier entered an ancient tomb, and the Dragon is after something they had found there.
Briefly evading his pursuers, one of the two remaining survivors of the party takes refuge in the Luchadoras' dressing room. When they discover him, he reveals he's looking for Mike, Lorena's secret service agent boyfriend (in the American dubs he's identified as being with the police). He explains the Dragon and his men are after the sections of an Aztec codex which offers a clue as to where their legendary treasure is concealed. One of the Dragon's men eliminates him before he can reveal more.
Charlotte, the daughter of one of the dead researchers, is staying with the lone surviving scientist. Kidnapped and brainwashed by the Dragon, she's placed back with the heroic group to act as his spy.
A key delivered in the lining of a sombrero puts the girls and their boyfriends (passably heroic Mike and comic relief Tommy) on the trail to a part of the codex. Escaping a trap at a nearby hotel, they locate the missing paper in a locker. The dragon's men, however, possess inside information. They arrive in time to start a second fight (which they again lose, when Mike threatens to burn the codex). The Dragon proposes a deal: the girls will compete against his two judo girls and the winners of the match will take all of the segments of the codex. The Luchadoras naturally win, but the Dragon doublecrosses them when Mike tries to arrest him.
The group manage to translate the codex and learn that the secret to the treasure is to be fond on a golden breastplate in a hidden tomb beneath one of the pyramids. Also buried in the chamber is Tezamoc, a warrior with supernatural powers who had been cursed to be the piece's eternal guardian.
Going after the breastplate, they break into the tomb. The Dragon gang is on hand, but wait outside, where they assume it's safe (later events prove them to be literally dead wrong in this assumption).
Tezamoc revives and the party barely escape with the breastplate. The next morning, a newspaper announces that the Dragon's thugs were found dead at the site. Charlotte and Tommy decide to end the curse by returning the breastplate. This only gets Charlotte captures by Tezamoc, who plans on sacrificing her.
Reluctantly guided by Tommy, the others return. The mummy transforms into a bat and a spider, trying to stop them, but they finally cover his eyes and manage to chain him to a stone pillar while they escape. Tezamoc brings down the roof.
He's not stopped, though. That night, the remaining gang members arrive to steal the relic. Tezamoc also arrives and kills them all.
He then flies into the professor's apartment in bat form. According to the clock in the apartment, this all happens at 10:15 at night, but a cock crows as Tezamoc approaches the sleeping Charlotte (it must have been a very long fight). Turning back into a bat he flies away (the footage of the arriving prop bat is reversed so it flies backwards out of the room).
This effectively ends his participation in the film -- at least the US print. The film abruptly ends with another wrestling match.
Cutting may have been somewhat confused in making the domestic print. In the scene before the gangster/mummy battle, we see the Dragon briefing everyone. They are all dirty, though there is not explanation offered. There's also that bewildering ending. Did Tezamoc go up in smoke en route back to his tomb, or did he just decide to let the breastplate go?
Give it a 5 out of 10.