Thursday, March 22, 2007

Las luchadoras vs el Médico Asesino [The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor]

Las luchadoras vs el Médico Asesino [The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor]

Alfredo Salazar is a somewhat unsung figure in the annals of Mexican cinema, toiling as he did for years as a screenwriter before receiving the opportunity to direct (a vocation which he did not exercise too frequently).
Salazar's script for Las luchadoras vs. el Médico Asesino took elements of horror and wrestling (from Ladrón de cadáveres, particularly) and added a bit of sexual titillation. The concept of wrestling women was popular enough to inspire a series of six Calderón films: Las luchadoras vs. el Médico Asesino, Las luchadoras vs. la momia ('64), Las lobas del ring ('64), Las mujeres panteras ('66), Las luchadoras vs. el robot asesino ('68) and El horripilante bestia humana ('68--although this featured only one female wrestler).
The last two films were unofficial remakes of Las luchadoras vs. el Médico Asesino (although Salazar was only credited on Robot asesino), but with added gore and nudity that would have been prohibited just six years earlier. Three of the series were dubbed into English: Doctor of Doom (Médico Asesino), Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy (Las luchadoras vs. la momia), and Night of the Bloody Apes (Horripilante bestia).

Las luchadoras vs el Médico Asesino [The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor]

Professor Ruiz and his assistant Boris are trying to create a race of superhumans via brain transplants. One of their failed experiments, Gomar, is a brutish creature who is kept in a cage and fed raw meat. Perhaps for this reason, Ruiz has now switched to transplanting brains into women, with no discernable success. One of his "donors" is Alicia, whose sister is professional wrestler Gloria Venus. Ruiz starts to think that perhaps a female athlete might be a better subject for his medical hijinks: he sends Gomar and some (human) henchmen after Gloria and her new friend, wrestler Rubí, but the women best their attackers.

Gloria and Rubí become friends with Armando and Chema, two police agents trying to solve the mystery. Boris is captured but is killed before he can identify Ruiz as the mad killer; Chema and Armando are kidnaped by Ruiz, but are saved by Gloria and Rubí. In the struggle, Ruiz has acid thrown in his face, and the laboratory catches fire.

However, Ruiz survives and transplants Gomar's brain into a woman wrestler's body; he names the resulting creation "Vendetta" (since Gomar is male, this is actually a sort of sex-change operation for him). Vendetta wrestles Gloria and is gaining the upper hand, when Rubí spots Marcado, one of Ruiz's henchmen, in the arena. Marcado, under pressure, admits Vendetta's masked manager is really the scarred Ruiz. The police are alerted, and Vendetta and Ruiz flee to the top of a nearby tower. Armando climbs up in pursuit, but is nearly killed; Chema shoots and kills Ruiz and Vendetta.

Oddly enough, while the "arena" wrestling scenes feature Lorena Velázquez doing some of her own stunts, she and Elizabeth Campbell are (somewhat obviously) doubled in most of the other action sequences (particularly one where Marcado and another henchman attack Gloria and Rubí in their bedroom). In general, actual women wrestlers of this era (some appear in the film as themselves) were stocky and not exactly movie-star beautiful (to put it mildly), and thus the mostly-doubled wrestling and action sequences are the least entertaining aspects of these films (this wasn't an issue for Santo, Blue Demon, etc., who were wrestlers first and "acted" by virtue of dubbed dialogue


Lorena Velázquez ... Gloria Venus
Armando Silvestre ... Armando Campos
Elizabeth Campbell ... Golden Rubi
Roberto Cañedo ... Prof. Ruiz
Sonia Infante ... Alicia
Chucho Salinas ... Chema
Chabela Romero ... Carmela Camacho "Vendetta"
( Three time Mexican National Women's Wrestling Champion and UWA World Women's Wrestling Champion )
Martha 'Güera' Solís ... Wrestler
Magdalina Caballero ... Wrestler
Tona La Tapatia ... Wrestler (as Toña 'La Tapatia')
Irma Gonzales ... Wrestler (as Irma Gonzalez)
(National Women's Title, UWA World Women's Title twice, National Women's Tag Team Titles (with Irma Aguilar) )
Jesús Murcielago Velázquez ... Marcado (as 'Murcielago' Velazquez)
Cavernario Galindo ... Wrestler (as 'Cavernario' Galindo)
(Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion)
Reyes Oliva ... Wrestler
Raúl Reyes ... Wrestler

Las luchadoras vs el Médico Asesino [The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor]

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