Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Aztec mummy movies (1957)

Today it's more K Gordon Murray madness consists of three films, one of which was was never really shown in the US in it’s full version until recently. The series lists as running well past the third film by IMDB, but that really isn’t true(that's a different series of wrestlers and monsters and isn't connected despite the title of one Wrestling Women vs The Aztec Mummy). The final film was The Robot vs the Aztec Mummy since the characters and the situations of that trilogy are put to bed (the films if taken in order tell one story) Of course the three films, and especially the first one, were cut up and reused in other films, but they aren't connected to the series either.

It’s best to take the films in order since unlike yesterday’s Nostradamus films they were never one film.

First of three Aztec mummy films is called The Aztec Mummy and is the only one that to the best of my knowledge was never completely dubbed into English. The film was chopped up and used in pieces by people like Jerry Warren in other films (he combined it with another Mexican horror comedy with Lon Chaney to make Face of the Screaming Werewolf. And it showed up in Attack of the Mayan Mummy and elsewhere.) The longest of the three films, a good chunk of this film makes up the two later films which use this as flash backs.

The plot of this film has a scientist conducting a past life regression experiment which causes his subject to travel back and discover hidden chambers in an Aztec pyramid. The group, as well as a sinister figure known as the Bat, hope to use the information to discover hidden treasure. Instead they discover a living mummy who has other plans.

Long and long winded this film has way too little action to sustain its 80 minute running time (worse the mummy doesn't even show up until an hour has passed). Probably the least of the three films, its easy to see why this film was cut apart, it's the only way to fashion a non-sleep inducing film. Watching the film late at night I found myself fighting to stay awake. It was a tough haul and I found that I ended up scanning to the point where the mummy showed up. Given the choice I'd take a pass and watch the second two films.

Curse of the Aztec Mummy is the second of the three films and it picks up where the first film left off with The Bat, now exposed as Dr Krupp still going after the hidden Aztec treasure. Again using past life regression he tries to find the hiding spot of the gold and eventually runs up against the mummy.

There is a great deal of flashback material in this film from the first movie with the result that even at an hour the film feels padded. (Actually had I not just seen the first film it wouldn't have been bad). This time out the evil doctor also has to contend with a masked wrestler named the Angel. Why he's involved never really makes sense other than the person who is really Angel wants his identity hidden.

It's not a horrible movie, but it is a slow one. Its also the sort of thing that most people point to as the creakiness of Mexican horror films. Actually its the creakiness of the ones that got a great deal of play on American TV. As with the first film the mummy only really shows up in the final minutes (though there are some brief flashback footage) so the inclusion of the mummy is more a come on than a real statement. And despite the apparent demise of Dr Krupp he's back in the third film Robot vs The Aztec Mummy. Better than the first film, as to whether you see the film is up to you.

Final of three films is Robot vs The Aztec Mummy concerns the evil Dr Krupp who wants the treasure of the Aztec pyramid. He makes a robot with a human brain to fight the mummy and to use an atomic ray to try and kill him. The mummy and the robot only battle in the last two or three minutes of the movie, and the robot only shows up in the last ten. As with the second film this movie has tons of material from the previous films which makes it an action packed little film, except if you've just seen the previous films, in which case this is a long haul.

I have a soft spot for this film because its one of the first movies I ever bought on video tape. That doesn't make it any better than just okay, it just means I have a soft spot.

Its an amusing bad film that ripe for picking on. In some ways its better than the first two films, if only it has all the high points from the previous films, but at the same time its probably not a film I can recommend to anyone with out explaining what they are getting into. Probably the one film of the series to see, its short, action packed, and rather silly.

At this point you’re probably wondering why am I talking about them.

Well simply put they were a staple on TV from the 60’s through the 90’s when they last gasped on the Commander USA TV show. They were the sort of thing my mom would put on because there was a monster in it. Sure they were awful, but there was a monster which made it must watch material. Actually in the 90’s it was on the Commander USA show so it was a must see.

BCI films put the films out in a 3 DVD set which presented the films in the best possible release-including an uncut version of the first film. Sadly or some how appropriately BCI went under and the set has ended up in close out bins or at places like Oldies for a steal.

A must see for bad horror movie lovers.

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