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on September 6, 2003
Ladies and gents - it?s time to grab the Tequila, mix up some margaritas and have a good old time with some south of the border cinema action. El Santo is in the house!
You see, there there are some types of foreign films that are instantly associated with their country of origin. For example, when one speaks of Hong Kong and instantly Kung Fu fighting and John Woo bullet extravaganzas spring to mind. Japan of course is the master of the Samurai film by Kurasawa and men in large rubber suits smashing toy tanks and model cities. While America, of course has the western and the Big Dumb Action Movie.
But what does one think of when the topic of global cinema turns to Mexico?
Mexico has Luchadores Enmascarados - the Mexican Wrestling movie. Wrestling in Mexico is huge, unbelievably huge - think Star Wars at the height of its power in the 1970's and you begin to get an idea of the scale we?re talking here. Dozens of wrestlers have made their mark over the last 50 or so years: Neutron, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, Superzan and so on. However one name stands out as the superstar of Mexican wrestling - El Santo, the man in the silver mask.
Santo was king. He wrestled for more than 40 years (capturing over ten titles, including the NWA World Welterweight and Middleweight belts) and starred in over 50 Enmascarados movies. In that time he battled mummies, zombies, aliens, werewolves, vampires, mobsters, mad scientists, and international spy rings. Oh - and occasionally he'd wrestle.
You see, the Mexican wrestling movie is a very odd thing. The plots usually revolve around some Nefarious Evil Force (tm) plotting to take over the world. And much like how every alien invasion force in Doctor Who targeted England for their spearhead, our Nefarious Evil would inevitably start his plans in starting with Mexico! This of course would allow our masked hero to beat the living snot out of the bad guys, have the occasional Mariachi musical number, pad out the plot by 10 minutes with footage from a wrestling match and generally save the day. Not that all plots are like that, mind you - my favorite Santo movie involves our hero building a time machine to travel to the 18th century and wrestle Dracula and steal his gold treasure.
But as you can see, Luchadores Enmascarados is an acquired taste.
Our film in question today is a more modern film. After Santo's death in 1984 (where, much like Bella Lagosi, he was buried in his mask) the Enmascarado genre slowly petered out. There's been an occasional new Enmascarados film here and there - not that any of them made it north of the border aside from the occasional MST3K appearance - but for the most part, the genre was dead.
Enter El Hijo Del Santo - Son of Santo. Taking up his father's mantel and wearing the trademark silver mask, Santo Jr has been wrestling for years and has resurrected the Luchadores Enmascarados genre. This brings us to our topic of discussion for today: INFRATERRESTRE, or Infraterrestrial.
Our story begins millions and millions of years ago in a series of effects shots that surely must have blown the budget for the rest of the movie. Not that there was all that much in the coffers to begin with, mind you. A race of aliens have colonized Earth (or more specifically, Mexico), but were forced to move underground when a gigantic asteroid made the surface uninhabitable.
Fast forward, millions of years to present day Mexico City. A string of kidnappings from a gang of terminator knock-offs has the city in a grip of fear. Meanwhile Santo, deep in his Santo-Cave analyzes the video footage of his last match with Blue Panther. While discussing Panther's superhuman strength and skill (and the 4 Terminator goons that broke up the match) with his Super Computer, he receives a call for help from the police over his personal satellite called Silver-1. Heeding the call, Santo leaps into the Santo-Mobile (A sporty silver roadster that flies) and races to their aid.
Like I said, Santo is Batman but with flying scissors-kicks. The only thing missing was the red Hot-Line under a cake glass on Santo's desk and a bust of Shakespeare that hid the switch to the Santo-poles. He even gets a giant metallic "S" that zooms across the screen like out of the Adam West TV show. How cool is that?
Santo is summoned because of a young boy who saw his parents vaporized by a flying saucer of some kind. The police, having no luck reaching the catatonic youngster, call in the most qualified help available: A professional wrestler. Oh - and a child psychologist who is really there to provide a bit of leg inbetween the action scenes and a tentative love interest for our hero.
Santo arrives, dressed in his best mid-1980's Miami Vice wear (while wearing his mask, of course. Santo never takes off his mask, even in the privacy of his own home. You haven't lived until you see the surreal quality of a man, relaxing in his living room with the evening paper, wearing his wrestling mask and cape). Anyway, faster than you can say "Plot Point" the Blue Panther and his terminator hit squad show up and abduct the boy. A brief scuffle in the parking garage of the police station and the aliens get away in their flying saucer thing - Santo in hot pursuit in his flying roadster (Thus revealing the car's laser turrets - the Santomobile has everything!).
60 seconds of dogfight - boasting state of the art special effects . . . . from 1996 - and the aliens crash into the sewers. Seeing the need to action, Santo dons his regular tights and cape, assembles a team to accompany him, and heads out after the boy. So lets recap, shall we? We have a man in a mask, cape and knee high boots, a couple of plain clothes policemen, a child psychologist who looks like she's dressed for a night out on the town, the chief of police, and some sinister aliens wandering around what could be a upscale Doctor Who set doubling as a sewer.
My friends, life doesn?t get better than this.
Our team wanders the sewers for a bit, eventually getting split up per the rules laid down in the Genre Movie Bible. Santo gets to show off his laser proof cape, beats the crap out of some denizens of the sewer, discovers the alien base (not all that deep under Mexico City, it would seem) and gets to square off with . . . . bum BUM BAH - the chief of police.
Normally here's where the Villain's Exposition Scene would go, where Goldfinger lays out in loving detail his plans to knock over Fort Knox or something. However, much like the rest of the movie - the villain's master plan doesn?t make a bit of sense. At all - and believe me, I tried. It would seem that aside from a select splinter group, the aliens haven't figured out that the surface of the earth is not only habitable, but that the monkeys came down out of the trees and have spread over 9/10th of the planet. This splinter group has begun kidnapping some of these surface dwellers. Why? Some kind of experimentation, that is never really fully explained. The alien splinter group kidnapped the boy so to draw Santo off their scent - overlooking the little detail that they came straight back to the alien lair with the Man in the Silver Mask right behind them. The chief also tells them that the aliens have developed keen eyesight in the dark - fortunate for Santo, because he has the ability to summon a blinding light from the palm of his hand.
He does so, blinds the aliens and, he and his Psychologist/girlfriend make their getaway in a gondola looking device - Blue Panther in hot pursuit.
Blue Panther and Santo wrestle one more time. Despite the low budget flaws of the rest of the film, the movies does well the one thing that Mexican wrestling movies do: Wrestle. In this overblown WWF era of your Rocks and Hulk Hogans, it's a refreshing change to see two well honed athletes, with real wrestling skill in a real match. Well - if a real wrestling match involved throwing your opponent over a bottomless cliff that wasn?t there ten seconds ago, that is.
Santo applies a figure four leglock to the police chief, the kidnapped victims are freed, the police round up all the Evil Aliens, and Santo declares that "Earth is big enough for two species" and vows to leave the aliens in blissfully unaware peace. We cut to the police chief in jail, eyes glowing their sinister best, swearing revenge on Santo for his interference - and finally, as the tradition with all Santo movies, the Masked Hero speeds off into the distance in his silver roadster.
Now, to the casual reader, one might assume that I hated this movie. I mean I did just spend the last 1,515 words tearing it apart. Not so my friends. You see, the whole genre as a whole is an absurd endeavor - which is 9/10th of its charm. In fact one of the biggest flaws of the film was that it didn?t adhere to the formula, spending a large chunk of time showcasing a wrestling match, as the classic Santo movies of the 60's always did.
And given all it's flaws and the laughable special effects, for a low budget film it's pretty damn good. Believe me, I've seen much worse from seasoned veterans with more money to spend.
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on December 30, 2004
i'm new to santo films but can't wait to see more of them after seeing this highly entertaining movie. infraterrestre deilvers tons of fun and i enjoyed every moment of it. now i can't wait to check out the classic santo adventures.
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on November 30, 2004
Mexico has very few icons in the movie industry. There is Pedro Infante, Cantiflas, Maria Felix, but probably one of the few ones that are still creating a mexican tradition will be El Santo, el enmascarado de Plata. This movie reflects that tradition in the film industry from el santo. It has action, beautiful women, wrestling, flying BMW's and for a low budget film, I think that is an amazing film, I strongly recomend this film, specially for the movie directors that have a big budget and they made awful movies.
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on May 23, 2005
Hi to all Santo fans, I`m the one to blame for the crapy visual effects of Santo Infraterrestre, but for the time and budget... well at least there`s something. I recently talk to the producer Hector Molinar and plans are on the way to remaster the film and ad new special effects, really good this time, so expect a re-relase at the end of the year. Please spread the word .
You can contact me in
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VINE VOICEon August 27, 2012
"Infraterrestre" is a very uneven movie, like most of the post-1970 lucha films, but if you're a Santo fan you're definitely going to want this one. On the positive side, the story and acting are very much in the tradition of classic lucha films. In other words, this is an action-oriented film that a whole family could enjoy together, with a plot that's intentionally comic book-like. The talent in the film is very good; Diana Golden (who is the female lead) still enjoys a healthy and long-lived career mainly in telenovelas and El Hijo del Santo is a decent actor whose soft-spoken style will surprise anyone who hasn't heard any of his interviews. I am a huge fan of his. The film also has a rare appearance of Blue Panther as one of the heavies. The premise of the film is essentially sound, and it's an often pleasant time-filler.

The movie's main problem is the generally low level of cinematography - scenes are often badly underlit (maybe to disguise the quality of some of the sets), and the fights aren't filmed especially well. I can forgive the awful low-budget computerized special effects (even El Hijo del Santo describes them as "an experiment" in an interview), but a lucha film needs well-filmed fights, especially if there are scenes that take place within the wrestling ring. An early fight between Santo and the Blue Panther is robbed of most of its impact because of the staging and editing; you would never know that these two men are fantastic and passionate luchadores by watching these fights. Most lucha films have low budgets but few cut corners on fights the way this one does. If you doubt my rating of El Hijo and Blue Panther's in-ring prowess, just check out some of their appearances on the WWA DVDs available elsewhere!

Then again, the DVD includes lots of extras that lucha releases don't typically get. There are English subtitles, interviews, out-takes, cut scenes, a marvellous montage of scenes from Santo's 1960s films, and an extended video showing a fight between El Hijo del Santo and Blue Demon Jr. This bonus fight is filmed with just a single camera setup in what looks like a school gym but it only goes to prove that you can have an exciting lucha match even with the humblest of surroundings and a minimum of technology. I wish the fights in the film were as good as this bonus fight!

Look, if you love lucha libre like I do and if you are a fan of El Hijo del Santo you're going to want to have this DVD. It isn't the best example of the genre but the extras help make it worthwhile and it's certainly better than some of El Hijo's earlier films. Don't expect this to be the equal of a classic like "Santo in the Wax Museum," and you should find this one an enjoyable Saturday morning's entertainment.
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on August 11, 2012
Like so many Mexicans over 40, I watched Santo on television and of course on the screen of the same color of his mask and suit. With his son having 30 years carrying the mantle, it's great to see he also follows his father's steps not only on the ring but in front of the cameras. Entertaining movie, not a masterpiece but it wont put you to sleep.
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on February 1, 2016
the son of el santo in a movie that makes his fathers look like masterpieces still impresses even with the bad special effects and bad acting, not for the faint hearted , pure cult material
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on March 21, 2013
I admire Hijo del santo; son of the great Mexican Wrestler Santo. The movie is great; but in Spanish the sound is not the greatest.
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on January 4, 2014
Terrible special effects. Bad make up jobs. Limited setttings. Lousy movie . He needs to make movies more like his father's.
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