Mexploitation Cinema

A Critical History of Mexican Vampire, Wrestler, Ape-Man and Similar Films, 1957–1977


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About the Book

Thanks in large part to an exploitation film producer and distributor named K. Gordon Murray, a unique collection of horror films from Mexico began to appear on American late-night television and drive-in screens in the 1960s. Ranging from monster movies clearly owing to the heyday of Universal Studios to the lucha libre horror films featuring El Santo and the “Wrestling Women,” these low-budget “Mexploitation” films offer plenty of campy fun and still inspire cult devotion, yet they also reward close study in surprising ways. This work places Mexploitation films in their historical and cultural context and provides close textual readings of a representative sample, showing how they can be seen as important documents in the cultural debate over Mexico’s past, present and future. Stills accompany the text, and a selected filmography and bibliography complete the volume.

About the Author(s)

Independent scholar Doyle Greene is the author of several books and serves on the editorial board of Film Criticism. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

Doyle Greene

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2201-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0072-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction: Why Mexploitation?      1

1. Mexploitation: Horror, Mexican Style      5
Mexican Horror Cinema in Social Context      5
The Birth of Mexploitation      7
2. Mexploitation: A Critical Inquiry      12
Camp, Cheese, and Counter-Cinema      12
Mexploitation as Counter-Cinema      14
Mexicanidad and Modernity: Visions of Mexico in Mexploitation      19
The Chica Moderna and the Countermacho: Sex, Gender and Patriarchy in Mexploitation      27
3. El barón del terror (The Brainiac, 1961)      34
4. El Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata      50
Santo and the Lucha Libre Film: A Brief History      50
Lucha Libre and the Semiotics of Wrestling      54
Santo as “National Allegory”      55
Santo contra las mujeres vampiro (Santo vs. the Vampire Women, 1962)      57
Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata vs. la invasión de los marcianos (Santo, the Silver Masked-Man vs. the Invasion of the Martians, 1966)      68
Santo y Blue Demon contra Drácula y el Hombre Lobo (Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man, 1972)      83
5. Las Luchadoras      103
From Chica Modernas to Wrestling Women      103
Las luchadoras vs. el médico asesino (Doctor of Doom, 1962)      107
Las luchadoras contra la momia (Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, 1964)      125
6. El horripilante bestia humana (Night of the Bloody Apes, 1968)      144

Conclusion: The End of Mexploitation      166
Selected Filmography      171
Chapter Notes      177
Bibliography      185
Index      187

Book Reviews & Awards

“very worthwhile book”—Classic Images; “will be a well-worn reference guide for years to come”—Bookgasm; “eye-opening and thought provoking”—Monsters from the Vault.