1963/Director: Rene Cardona/Writer: Alfredo Salazar
Also Known As: Rock ‘N Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Ape, Sex Monster, I Tigris Tou Catch
Doctor of Doom (Las Luchadoras vs el Medico Asesino/The Wrestling Women vs. the Murderous Doctor) was one of six lachaodra (wrestling women) films produced by Guillermo Calderon that were directed by Rene Cardona and written by Alfredo Salazar. The last two films, Las Luchadoras vs. el Robot Asesino and El Horripilante Bestia Humana (both from 1968) were loose remakes of Doctor of Doom. El Horripilante Bestia Humana is also known as Night of the Bloody Apes and was reviewed only a few posts ago here at the Cafe. Of the six films three would be translated into English by the legendary K. Gordon Murray, those being Doctor of Doom, Night of the Bloody Apes and the second of this post’s double feature Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy.
Lately I have managed to get my little hands on quite a few Mexican horror films and a small number of luchalibre (wrestling) films with Santos (or Samson as his name is translated by K. Gordon Murray and crew) and have to admit that for the most part these are all entertaining little films. I think about a 3rd of the films though are not subtitled or dubbed and that can be a hassle for me. While I can watch a film in another language and get some pleasure from it I really cannot review or the film or comment on it. At the most I could get some screen captures and promote the film that way but how can I comment on a story that I really do not understand except on a most basic level. I will say, as I have said before, that these films do not suffer from being dubbed into English unless you are a purist. I find the dubbing to be fun really and all the colloquial errors only add to the enjoyment.
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Like Night of the Bloody Apes, Doctor of Doom follows the demented misadventures of a mad doctor who feels the need to transplant the brains of apes into the body of human beings. Unlike NOTBA Doctor of Doom never really tries to explain why the doctor is doing this. He is trying to create a super race I believe but over all explanations are avoided. The identity of the doctor is kept secret for most of the film though he is supported by some secret cabal who want him to succeed in his experiments. The identity is not really hard to guess if you watch lots of these styles of films, you just focus on the non-lead character who seems to be the most unlikely person to be the mad scientist and he will be said culprit by the last stretch of the movie. Most prior experiments have all turned out poorly in that the subject has died. The doctor’s current human objects for receiving the ape brain have been women who die off on the operating table. It is not explained why the doctor chooses women when his one living test result, Gomar, was a male. Gomar is now kept in a cage and fed raw meat which seems to keep him happy. One recent victim, Alicia, is the sister of luchadora Gloria Venus (the stunning Lorena Velazquez). Alicia was a scientist herself but she dies on the table and the doctor decided to settle for brawn or brains and sets his sites on a strong luchadora for his next experiment. A group of thugs try to capture Gloria and her partner Golden Rubi (Elizabeth Campbell) while they pretend to be asleep but the gals whoop their tails. Velazquez and Campbell did most of their wrestling stunts but in the fight scenes out of the ring it is obvious that shorter, stockier less ravishing stunt doubles are used. The two gals get acquainted with cops Aramndo and the diminutive Chema (the four would team up again in Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy) played by Armando Silvestre and Chucho Salina respectively. In both DOD and WWvsTAM comic relief is supplied by the romantic attraction between Chema and the Amazon like Golden Rubi.
The mad doctor is the deceptively timid and squeamish Dr. Ruiz (Roberto Canedo) and he is assisted in his schemes by his evil assistant Boris (Jorge Mondragon) who, despite the name, is not European nor is he a hunchback or imbecile. He is just a thug who may or may not believe in what the doctor is doing and could care less so long as he is paid on time. There are quite a few scenes that unintentionally funny. One is when Armando and Chema get stuck in a room with a spiked wall closing in on them on one side and a ferocious Gomar clawing at them on the other. They have enough to call the girls on a Dick Tracy type wrist watch communicator with a homing device built into it. The girls need to drive around the city and track the signal as it gets weaker and stronger and all the while the wall is still closing in on them. They eventually find the place and break in with no problem and then have to have their stunt doubles get into a brawl with the hoods in the hideout while the wall is still closing in on and Gomar is still clawing away. Now to be fair tiny ass Chema as climbed up the wall and is bracing himself between the wall above Gomar’s cage and the wall of daggers and that seems to be enough to stop the wall from moving while the girls ride around town and fight the bad guys.
They rescue the guys with little problem and before the fight is over Dr. Ruiz has a bottle of acid thrown in his face. Despite these set backs he manages to transplant Gomar’s brain into a luchadora and in the process creates the masked wrestling dynamo Vendetta. At this point Ruiz begins to wear a wrestling mask himself and match is set up between Vendetta and Gloria Venus. During the bout in which pretty Gloria begins to get the worse end of things Rubi twists the arm of one of Ruiz’s henchmen and learns what is up and she gets into the ring and Vendetta begins kicking her cute butt too. But soon Vendetta and Ruiz are on the run and climb a nearby water tower, followed by Armando who, not surprisingly, is soon having his finger’s stomped on at the top of the tower. Now say what you will about goofy little Chema when it comes down to it he makes Lee Harvey Oswald look like a boy scout. He grabs a rifle and when two clean shots kills Ruiz and Vendetta. The guys get the girls and the bad guys get snipered off. A genuine happy ending.
As I said Night of the Bloody Apes follows basically the same story line as does Las Luchadoras vs. el Robot Asesino (maybe translated as Wrestling Women vs the Mad Robot, the version I have is not subbed or dubbed) but DOD lacks the violence and nudity and rapes that made NOTBA the most infamous of the Calderon, Cardona, Salazar films. Of the two films I think Doctor of Doom is the more enjoyable experience. It is certainly campier and seems to be closer to the Santo type luchilibre films I have grown rather fond of lately.