Vintage Pulp Jun 20 2022
THE HOUSE OF (NOT) WAX
Someone said lucha libre and Santo showed up looking for free food.


The Mexican action movie Santo en el museo de cera, known in English as Santo in the Wax Museum, is the eighth cinematic outing for everyone's favorite crime fighting wrestler Santo el Enmascarado de Plata. He's your favorite too. You just don't know it yet. In this Santo adventure the sinister and obviously mad scientist Dr. Kurt Karol, a horribly burned Auschwitz survivor, has a museum filled with (not) wax figures of historical personages such as Gary Cooper, Gandhi, and Stalin. All well and good, but in the creepy, cavern-like basement section he also has (not) wax representations of terrors such as the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein's monster, and other, unidentifiable creatures. And even deeper inside the complex? That's where his secret lab lies.

People begin disappearing from the vicinity of the museum, including an intrepid photojournalist played by Roxana Bellini. Her sister Norma Mora raises a fuss with the cops, which prompts Dr. Karol's oblivious colleague Professor Galván to suggest summoning the chunky Santo away from one of his thrice-daily all-you-can-eat buffets to get to the bottom of the mystery. Actually, this being an earlier Santo film, our hero is a bit more traditional luchador than middle-aged lunchador, but not by much. Santo soon realizes that Dr. Karol is assembling an army of half-animal abominations. But there's more. His crowning achievement will be the creation of a savage panther lady. Rowrrrr. How to foil the plan? Get captured as usual, fight a dozen henchmen, smash the lab to matchsticks.

This movie is one of those deals where nobody notices that the (not) wax figures are actually people standing very still. Obviously, it's a hell of a lot cheaper to have a dude in make-up than any sort of sculpture or mannequin, and the Santo movies take cheapness to new lows. But they have a fun spirit that made them huge hits with Mexican filmgoers, and we have to admit they're hard to resist. The bargain basement sets, clunky action, and shoddy direction normally would all be fatal minuses, but the classic boy-saves-world plots are entertaining, and who can resist a man in a gimp mask? We'll follow Santo and his semi-erect nipples wherever they lead. Santo en el museo de (no) cera premiered today in 1963.
Yes, I'd like to order three large deluxe pizzas for delivery. Extra saturated fat, please.

I'll combine your journalistic instincts and photographic eye with your sister's beauty and bouffant hairdo and have— Well, I'm not 100% sure. We'll just have to give it a whirl!
 
I also have some economic ideas. You see, we cut taxes on the rich, and instead of hoarding the extra billions, they let much of it trickle down to the rest of us.

I'm as sane as the next man! Hahahahahaha!

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Vintage Pulp Apr 10 2020
THE KIDS ARE ALL REICH
Troublesome Nazis bring bad intentions to Mexico City.


The much beloved Santo movies may not be good, but you certainly can't complain about the promo posters. This winner was made for Santo en Anónimo mortal, aka Santo in Anonymous Death Threat, and it finds everyone's favorite luchador once again battling the forces of evil. This time he's called upon to help the latest in a line of men who've been sent anonymous notes informing them of the dates of their deaths. The previous recipients met nasty ends. The newest prospective victim doesn't trust the police to keep him alive, so he appeals to the only man that can truly do the job—Santo el enmascarado de plata. Santo rightly wonders what the connection is between all these men. But viewers don't have to wonder—it's right there on the poster.

Yes, Nazis have made their sneaky way to Mexico. And just to ram the point home fully, Santo coincidentally has a match against a wrestler named El Nazi, who mid-round is shot dead, becoming yet another victim. Santo soon learns that all the departed—even El Nazi, who must have adopted his moniker due to a keen sense of irony—were witnesses at the war crimes trial of a Third Reich death merchant named Paul von Struber. This von Struber was sentenced to hang, but escaped to Mexico City, where he took an assumed identity. Now he wants revenge on everyone who testified against him because— Well, that's hard to figure out. He really should just lay low, having evaded the hangman. But he's a Nazi. They specialize in terrible ideas.

By the time this film appeared Santo had already battled vampires, zombies, and witches. The producers of these potboilers went big early. Overloaded with crazy concepts, they even had Santo go up against a carnivorous blob. Nazis, then, aren't that big a deal. Santo doesn't even have to cut his wrestling schedule short. When the evil von Struber captures him and locks him away in the secret Nazi lair, he quickly manages to break his ropes, beat the shit out of the flunkies guarding him, and bring down El Cuarto Reich before it even has a chance to stick its head out of its bunker. It's good that Santo's triumph is so perfunctory, because this was his forty-somethingth adventure and his knees had to be getting balky. Santo en Anónimo mortal premiered in Mexico today in 1975.
Wow, you're a big'un, aren't you? Ever considered pro wrestling? If you wanna meet up later I can teach you some submission holds.

Obergruppenführer! I have a question!
 
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Femmes Fatales Apr 3 2019
DORIS DAYGLOW
Rare new life form discovered in the Pacific.


This dazzling photo features Doris Day and was made when she was filming her romantic comedy The Glass Bottom Boat. Looking at her outfit you're thinking: What could this movie possibly be about? Well, surprisingly, the title is literal. A guy runs glass bottom boat tours off Santa Catalina Island and Day dresses as a mermaid and swims under the boat to entertain the clients. Romance rears its head when a fisherman accidentally snags her costume and reels her in. We haven't watched it, but we may, just to see Day in this crazy get-up. It was designed by Ray Aghayan, and though it doesn't exactly scream mermaid to us so much as it does Vegas showgirl or Rio samba dancer, it's still pretty sweet. The photo dates from 1966.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 1 2017
THE BLOB THAT ATE THE PLOT
This is our most desperate hour. Help us Santo—you're our only hope.

We were dubious toward Santo when we learned of his movies, but after screening three features the guy has really grown on us. So last night we watched Santo contra los asesinos de otros mundos, which was known in English as Santo vs. The Killers from Other Worlds. You know the basics—Santo is a Mexican luchador who is also an ace international crimefighter. Which is convenient, because an evil mastermind named Malkosh is demanding a fortune in gold bars from the Mexican government or he'll unleash a monster on the populace. This terrifying blob, which in the script has been somehow derived from moon rocks, in reality is three guys huddled under a giant shammy. Doubtless bumping heads and asses while crabwalking under this thing, the poor guys move at about the same speed as traffic in central Mexico City. But no matter—the blob is a whiz at triangulation, and its victims are agility challenged. Whoever it chases inevitably finds himself or herself trapped and, after futilely heaving staplers and coffee cups, consumed down to a skeletal state.

Santo's crimefighting technique is often to be captured. It's never intentional—it just works out that way. And just as form dictates, Malkosh snares Santo, but rather than kill him outright forces him to fight Spartacus style against ever more deadly opponents, an entertainment that of course backfires when the third gladiator accidentally flamethrowers a guard, allowing Santo to grab a machine gun and get the drop on everyone. You have to wonder why these villains toy with him so. The man is well-known as the most lethal crimefighter in Mexico, if not all of the Americas, yet the crooks insist upon underestimating him. Maybe it's just hard to be awed by a guy in a gimp mask who's wearing the drapes from a Guadalajara whorehouse as a cape. Even so, Santo's record speaks for itself, which means you ignore the brief at your peril. Malkosh, foolish lad, dies ignominiously, screaming even, but not before Santo learns from him that the moon blob grows like federal overreach. And indeed, soon there are four guys knocking body parts under the shammy, then five, looks like.

The rest of the film tracks Santo's efforts to find Malkosh's partner Licur, who has imprisoned a Professor Bernstein, the only person on Earth who knows how to corral the lunar abomination busily scuttling across the landscape. Locating Licur involves a bit of Holmesian deduction, at which point Santo gains access to the top secret high security lair by scaling a low wall. In the subsequent fistfights, he's ferociously pounded about his face and semi-soft body, yet his gimp mask never slips and his whorehouse drapes never rip. Finally he squares off against Licur himself, who proves to be no match, and at that point all that's left is to defeat the beast, now about the size of a Winnebago. We'll leave the last bit as a surprise, but suffice to say Santo is always one step ahead. In the end, the film was another satisfying outing, with all the hallmarks of the series—terrible dialogue, poorly staged fights, truly atrocious acting, and a script conceived during a blinding mezcal bender. What's not to love? Queue it. Watch it. Santo contra los asesinos de otros mundos premiered in Mexico today in 1973.

You got anything to eat around here? I'm famished.

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Vintage Pulp May 17 2016
HAVANA HEADLOCK
It's brain versus brawn in sunny Cuba.


Our favorite luchador Santo el Enmascarado de Plata has taken on monsters and men and beaten them all like your grandmother beats a dusty throw rug. In Santo contra cerebro del mal, or Santo Versus the Evil Brain, he takes on a man with a monstrous plan—a villain who wants to use a thoughtsucking machine to steal worldshattering scientific secrets and sell them to international bidders.
 
Needing some capable brawn to pull this off, the villain kidnaps Santo, sucks him, and turns him into a dickbag. Don't worry, though—Santo is eventually located by his buddy El Incognito and, after a serious ass whipping administered with the utmost love, restored to his right mind. What a wonderful world it would be if all it took were a couple of suplexes and powerbombs to clear the evil out of people's brains. A single wrestler sent to the headquarters of every transnational bank could save the planet.
 
This is the first Santo film, shot in Havana in 1961, the year of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and we have to say later entries are much better. But this one does have excellent exteriors shot around town, mainly in the suburbs, which look little different from Miami. The old part, with its baroque buildings and tight streets, was a little too logistically tricky for location work, we're guessing. Havanaphiles and fans of retro thoughtsucking machines, enjoy. All others, maybe take a pass. Santo contra cerebro del mal premiered in Mexico today in 1961.


Jesus. I'm schvitzing like a pig. Shoulda packed my summer mask.

These cholesterol readings are off the charts. What the hell does this guy eat?
 
Santo! Do something!
 
Hey, don't look at me. I'm thoughtsucked.
 
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Vintage Pulp Oct 11 2015
ROYAL MISTREATMENT
What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and you, bitch, are toast.


It’s Santo time again. When last we checked in, the masked avenger was battling werewolves and turning them into dog chow. This time out, in a foray entitled Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro, aka Santo Versus the Vampire Women, he’s got a problem with vampires. Female vampires. Or more to the point—Thorina, the queen of the vampires, who issues forth from a cobwebby dungeon with a killer thirst and some harmful ideas. Her plan is to put the bite on a local beauty named Diana in order to make her the new queen, enabling Thorina to join her husband (Satan) in hell (probably Tijuana). She has plenty of help from assorted vampire maidens and unruly thugs, and once the threat is clear to Diana’s father he seeks protection from Santo el Enmascarado de Plata, who’d been busy demolishing opponents in the ring, but who always has time to take his act on the road.

Thorina isn’t queen for nothing. The woman is relentless, and Santo soon fails to protect Diana, leading to her being stolen away. But it’s no secret where she’s been taken—that mist shrouded castle on the hill. Santo heads up there to do damage but is promptly captured and bound in Thorina’s dungeon right next to Diana, who looks at him and sneers, “Nice work, idiot.” Well, not really. But don’t let Santo’s minimal stature and 17% body fat fool you—he took on Martians, mummies, and the Mexican mafia, so you know he’s got enough in his bag of tricks to deal with a few karate chopping children of the night. And in fact he soon doles out some lethal lucha libre, after being freed thanks to the sun’s habit of sneaking up on vampires. Eternal creatures that they are, none feel the need to wear watches. One could criticize, but it’s really part of their charm, don’t you think? Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro premiered in Mexico today in 1962. 

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Vintage Pulp May 13 2009
HUNGRY LIKE THE WEREWOLF
Evil shapechangers bite off more than they can chew when they tangle with Santo.

It may seem like we have lucha libre on the brain, but this time we’re fulfilling our mission of commemorating film anniversaries. Santo vs. Las Lobas was released today in 1976—a rather amazing fact, because quality-wise it looks much older. In fact, if you dragged an original celluloid print behind a mule through all thirty-one Mexican states plus the Federal District, then transferred it to DVD, it would still look better than our copy. The plot concerns a werewolf clan’s new queen scheming to murder a local family, but that’s unimportant, really. The fights are the thing. They’re pure wrestling cheez whiz, with Santo in his dapper outfits headlocking his way up the werewolf food chain to the clan’s top dog, who he unceremoniously dumps off a cliff (cutaway to falling mannequin). We’re latecomers to the Santo phenomenon, but we can understand why so many are fond of this film and others in the series—they’re hilariously awful.

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Intl. Notebook May 12 2009
OUT TO LUCHA
All you do have to do is mask.


The story we posted not long ago about the Griddle Virgin got us thinking about how very pulp lucha libre is. You got a bunch of mean-as-snakes guys kicking the living shit out of each other. You got costumes, secret identities, and exotic tropical locales. And the whole enterprise, let’s face it, comes off a bit seedy. As if those elements weren’t pulp enough, we just discovered that lucha libre promo posters are often printed on low quality paper just like the old dime paperbacks. So today we have a selection of lucha libre art for your enjoyment. If it stimulates a burning desire to try the lucha lifestyle, you can start by getting a wrestling moniker of your own here. We tried it and ours are El Monkey Blanco and Chile Negro—seriously. Suddenly you can cut the racial tension in here with a knife.

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Mondo Bizarro May 1 2009
STUCK IN THE GRIDDLE
Icon see clearly now.


In the U.S. an image of the Virgin Mary has appeared on a griddle at the Las Palmas diner in Calexico, California. The likeness revealed itself as the griddle was cleaned, and since then more than a hundred people have made pilgrimages to the diner seeking a glimpse, forcing the owners to take the flattop out of service and set it up in a shrine converted from a storage room. Pulp Intl., as usual, is right on top of this stunning story, which means you don’t have to trek to the desert of California to see the miraculous image—we’ve posted it at left.

The image was examined and confirmed as the Virgin Mary by local religious authority Gerardo Fernandez, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, and indeed many of the pilgrims, including a group of masked Mexican wrestlers in town for an exhibition match, claim there is a strong spiritual presence in the griddle, as well as a pervasive odor of French toast. One luchador named El Santo Negro even appeared to develop stigmata in the griddle's presence, but the substance turned out to be strawberry syrup he had spilled on his costume. A kitchen worker then showed him how to remove the stubborn stain with baking soda and warm water, and Santo proclaimed the combination “a miracle cleanser.”

At that point a luchador named Mr. Tempest took exception with Santo’s terminology, calling it disrespectful to the Griddle Virgin, and a free-for-all erupted in the shrine. In the end Tempest stopped Santo with a move he called “la presión baja”—or “the low pressure system”—and Santo fled screaming and cradling his balls. However, authorities fear Santo is merely bowed, not broken, and a schism is imminent in the Church of the Griddle Virgin. Pulp Intl. will keep you updated on this important ongoing story.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 02
1937—Amelia Earhart Disappears
Amelia Earhart fails to arrive at Howland Island during her around the world flight, prompting a search for her and navigator Fred Noonan in the South Pacific Ocean. No wreckage and no bodies are ever found.
1964—Civil Rights Bill Becomes Law
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill into law, which makes the exclusion of African-Americans from elections, schools, unions, restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas and other public institutions and facilities illegal. A side effect of the Bill is the immediate reversal of American political allegiance, as most southern voters abandon the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.
1997—Jimmy Stewart Dies
Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart, who starred in such films as Rear Window and Vertigo, dies at age eighty-nine at his home in Beverly Hills, California of a blood clot in his lung.
July 01
1941—NBC Airs First Official TV Commercial
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial, from Bulova, who paid $9 to advertise its watches.
1963—Kim Philby Named as Spy
The British Government admits that former high-ranking intelligence diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent. Philby was a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five, along with Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing classified information to the Soviet Union. He defected to Russia, was feted as a hero and even given his commemorative stamp, before dying in 1988 at the age of seventy-six.
1997—Robert Mitchum Dies
American actor Robert Mitchum dies in his home in Santa Barbara, California. He had starred in films such as Out of the Past, Blood on the Moon, and Night of the Hunter, was called "the soul of film noir," and had a reputation for coolness that would go unmatched until Frank Sinatra arrived on the scene.
June 30
1908—Tunguska Explosion Occurs
Near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai in Russia, a large meteoroid or comet explodes at five to ten kilometers above the Earth's surface with a force of about twenty megatons of TNT. The explosion is a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic blast, knocks over an estimated 80 million trees and generates a shock wave estimated to have been 5.0 on the Richter scale.
1971—Soviet Cosmonauts Perish
Soviet cosmonauts Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev, who served as the first crew of the world's first space station Salyut 1, die when their spacecraft Soyuz 11 depressurizes during preparations for re-entry. They are the only humans to die in space (as opposed to the upper atmosphere).
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