The Mexican Masked Wrestler and Monster Filmography


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About the Book

Any on-screen schmuck can take down a wolfman with a silver bullet. It takes a certain kind of hero to hoist that wolfman overhead into an airplane spin, follow with a body slam, drop an atomic elbow across his mangy neck, leg-lock him until he howls, and pin his furry back to the mat for a three-count. It takes a Mexican masked wrestler. Add a few half-naked vampire women, Aztec mummies, mad scientists, evil midgets from space, and a goateed Frankenstein monster, and you have just some of the elements of Mexican masked wrestler and monster movies, certainly among the most bizarre, surreal and imaginative films ever produced.

This filmography features some of the oddest cinematic showdowns ever concocted—Mexican masked wrestlers battling monsters, evil geniuses and other ne’er-do-wells, be it in caves, cobwebbed castles or in the ring. From the 1950s to the 1970s, these movies were staples of Mexican cinema, combining action, horror, sex, science fiction and comedy into a bizarre amalgam aimed to please the whole family. Chapters examine the roots of the phenomenon, including the hugely popular masked wrestling scene and the classic Universal horror films from which Mexican filmmakers stole without compunction. Subsequent chapters focus on El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras, the three most prominent masked wrestlers; wrestling women; other less prominent masked wrestlers; and the insane mish-mash of monsters pitted against the heroes. Each chapter includes background information and a full filmography, and a wide assortment of striking illustrations—posters, lobby cards and other graphic material, some better than the movies they advertised—accompany the text.

About the Author(s)

Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter, a graphic designer, lives in Pittsburgh. In addition to having written several books about comics and film, he writes a monthly column for Creepy Classics.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 90 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4104-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0419-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface: “Thank You, Masked Wrestler”      1
Alphabetical List of Films      5
Chronological List of Films      9

1. The Bat Flies South: Early Mexican Fantasy and Horror      13
2. Who Was That Masked Man? The Spirit of the Serials      20
3. Universal con Carne: New Lives for the Old Undead      29
4. Santo and Son: The Legend of the Silver-Masked Man      48
5. “Devil with a Blue Mask On”: The Life and Films of Blue Demon      94
6. “Man of a Thousand Masks”: The Life and Films of Mil Máscaras      119
7. Glorious Luchadoras of Wrestling: The Lives and Films of the Wrestling Women      135
8. The Undercard: Second-Banana Masked Men      152
9. Vampires Not Named Drácula, and Other Assorted Creatures: The Wide, Wide World of Mexican Monsters      174
10. Men Can Die but Legends Live Forever: The Legacy of the Silver-Masked Man      198

Bibliography      205
Index      207

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The funniest movie book I have ever read, a real blast, with loads of good info and marvelous photos. I didn’t know Mr. Cotter but enjoyed his enthusiasm and gift for the absurd in his writing.”—Classic Images
  • “I absolutely loved this book. One of the best illustrated McFarland books ever…fun, enjoyable”—Little Shoppe of Horrors
  • “Exhaustive…most information and the best laid out history of the genre so far…rewarding…required reading”—Pop Matters
  • “Comprehensive…of value”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
  • “The design, layout, and photo selection are top-notch…reasoned and well-informed…loving and exhaustive detail”—Monsters From The Vault
  • “Delightful…colourful…fascinating”—Rue Morgue