Monday, March 17, 2014

Monster Team-up Reflection #7: Robot vs Aztec Mummy

Since I've gone somewhat "international" with my monster team-up overviews, I thought it might be nice to swing on over to Mexico and direct your attention to "The Robot vs the Aztec Mummy" ("La Momia Azteca Contra El Robot Humano"): a relatively simple-in-plot entry, but to say the least, offering a most memorable pairing.

In truth, Rafael Portillo's "Robot vs Mummy" (1958) is the third in a series, having kicked off with "The Aztec Mummy" (aka, "Attack of the Aztec Mummy") and "Curse of the Aztec Mummy" (both released in '57), and would later be quasi-sequelized with a different preserved "protagonist" in "Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy" ('64).

With "Robot vs Mummy", our old, bandaged friend, Popoca (Angel Di Stefani), is back on the shambling trail (accompanied by loads of previous chapter footage to pad his new tale) and again challenges his movie-serial-styled adversary, Dr. Krupp (aka, the Bat, played with powerful panache by Luis Aceves Castaneda), who wants to nab some precious Aztec treasure. To ensure success, Dr. Krupp fashions (with all the necessary Frankenstein-inspired equipment) a robot: though more of a cyborg, in that the towering device contains a reanimated corpse, its deadpan couintenance visible through its face plate. In the end (surprise, surprise), the mega monsters clash!

Be warned: the film's Aztec historical background is inaccurate. For one thing, the Aztecs didn't mummify, so what we're offered here is basically a splicing of Inca and Egyptian elements, but in the realm of imaginative, monster mythology, I guess it's all quite permissible.

Also, as in the franchise's previous installments, this one has a distinct Universal Studios feel to it, so fans of the Imhotep/Kharis flicks (and those who fancy rollicking romps like Gene Autry's "Phantom Empire") should feel right at home.

If you just relax with it, "Robot vs Mummy" can prove an engaging experience, especially when its story fully unfolds about halfway through (and it conveniently runs only 64 minutes). It's also a swell way to get acquainted with Mexican monster cinema, which was just gaining traction when this particular entry was released.

Go on--don't be shy. Check it out. It certainly won't hurt to give it a try...


PS: I highly recommend the "Aztec Mummy Collection", which includes the first three Popoca films and can be readily captured for a reasonable price through any number of DVD retailers. (Oh, also available is a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" edition of "Robot vs Mummy", if you're in the mood for some snide fun.)

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