23 May 2000 | kikaidar
Santo vs. a vengeful spirit
"La Llorona," the crying woman, is a traditional and well-known Latin ghost tale. Generally identified as the spirit of a woman who was responsible for the death of her own children, and possessed of an eternal grief for her actions, the character appears in any number of folk tales. There have even been versions of the character reported in more than one locale.
Given that El Santo had found himself pitted against vengeful witches, aliens, and all sorts of traditional monsters, why not include a ghost from this popular legend?
Santo is approached by a professor who asks his assistance in locating and entering a tomb. This is the final resting place of Eugenia Esparza (Kiki Herrera Calles), a woman who had made a deal with the devil to revenge herself against an unfaithful lover.
Asking for supernatural assistance, she had received a poison to use in killing both herself and her children. Her idea was to have the man blamed for theft (and possibly the multiple deaths) and executed. However, he was subsequently found innocent by the court and the now-dead woman was granted the ability to return from the grave in the dim future, to gain revenge against his unsuspecting descendants.
She's evidently already taken advantage of this clause on at least one prior occasion, and the professor fears his children will be the spirit's next victims. The location of the gold she had stolen to frame her lover is concealed in a locket buried with the body. The professor reasons that if the stolen wealth is recovered and used for good, the curse will finally be broken.
Santo and his assistant in this film, the annoying boxer Mantequilla Napoles, agree to help. At this point, things get busy. Alerted by the professor's assistant, a local criminal and his gang go in search of the locket.
The professor unsuspectingly leads them to the tomb, where he removes the locket. This brings the dead woman back to life. She comes to life when the professor's nephew and another youngster are trapped in the tomb, then vanishes. Shortly thereafter, seemingly alive and a normal woman, the spirit moves into a house near the professor's, and sets out to stalk his family.
In the meantime, the crooked assistant steals the locket and turns it over to the bandit, who promptly disposes of him, only to find he can't make heads or tails of the map it contains. When Santo and Mantequilla arrive on the scene, the criminal hands the locket over. He now plans to allow them to lead him to the treasure.
The revived spirit kills the professor and moves in on the surviving family. In the meantime, Santo has located the treasure and confronted/defeated the men sent to hijack it. The loot is turned over to a local charity, breaking the spell. La Llorona disappears before she can fulfill her curse.
Not as active as many other Santo features, but then I tend to prefer the wilder storylines simply because they do proceed at a quicker pace and include some offbeat elements in their plots.
Considering this film is a mix of crime and the supernatural, it should have come across better. Then again, I could have cheerfully see Mantequilla trimmed from the case in favor of, say, Carlos Suarez (Santo's real-life manager, who appeared in a number of his features, occasionally as the Silver Masked Man's sidekick). However, Suarez is already in the film as a henchman (another role he frequently played in lucha films).
Overall, probably my least favorite of Santo's films. Worth a watching for Santo completists only.