A spaceship from Mars comes to Earth. Their destination is Mexico. They cut into the communication system to televise their demands. They want the Earth to stop creating nuclear weapons, have a universal language and government and agree to live in peace and harmony or they will be destroyed. Mexico ignores them.

The spaceship lands in a wooded area. The leader sends one of his minions to a populated park to give everyone the evil eye and make them all disappear. In the middle of their silver space helmets they have what they call the Astral Eye. In the park is Santo teaching children how to wrestle. When the Martian begins vaporizing the crowds Santo attacks him. They wrestle. When Santo gets the upper hand the Martian turns a dial on his belt and disappears.

The head Martian decides that he needs to capture Santo since he can beat his best minion. Santo goes to visit Professor Ordorica (Manuel Zozaya). While they are discussing the situation a Martian appears to try to take both Santo and the Professor to the spaceship. They wrestle. While they are wrestling the Martian appears to start to suffocate. He takes a pill from a container on his belt and ends up spilling a few on the floor. He takes the pill and begins to breathe a little better. He turns the dial on his belt and is whisked back to the spaceship. Dr. Ordorica examines the pills and finds that they are a chemical compound that oxygenates their blood. It helps the Martians breathe the Earth’s atmosphere.

Believing that Earth people are afraid of how Martians look they enter a machine they call the Transformation Chamber and voila. Instead of having long blonde hair and big hats with an eye design on them, they look pretty much the same only without the long blonde hair and big hats. The head Martian sends his minions out into Mexico. The Martians begin kidnapping random people. The head Martian, who now calls himself Argos, wants to take the people they kidnapped back to Mars but he still wants Santo. They make several attempts to capture him. Santo defeats each attempt but they still keep coming. He decides that the only way he can crush them for good is to find their spaceship and attack them there.

“Santo vs the Martian Invasion” AKA “Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs La invasion de los Marcianos” was released in 1967 and was directed by Alfredo B Crevenna. It is a Mexican science fiction action fantasy film. The film is a Mexican take on “The Day the Earth Stood Still” 1951 minus the robot.

These films are inherently hilarious. The dialogue is funny. The Martians are also wrestlers so the acting is bad. Everyone wears gold or silver lame spandex and capes. Santo’s cape has sequins on it and he will sometimes take off his cape but never the rest of his costume, no matter what. The rest of his costume is just spandex pants, wrestling shoes and his silver mask. And you can guarantee there will be wrestling. Lots of wrestling. These are the kinds of movies that have a steady fan base. Most people either love them or hate them. Experts in Luchador films (yes there are such people) rate this one as average to below average. The production values and the plot consistency are pointed to as the reason why but there are fans that don’t care. They love them anyway.

The star of the film is El Santo which translates as The Saint. He is a wrestler that moonlights as a superhero. Santo’s real name is Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta. He is probably Mexico’s most famous wrestler. Lucha libre or freestyle wrestling is a term used to describe Mexican professional wrestling. Many of them wear masks that represent their wrestling character. Wrestling in Mexico is akin to baseball in America. Santo, also called Santo El Enmascarado de Plata (Santo the silver mask) is considered a folk hero and a legend in Mexican sports. Statues have been erected in his honor. He starred in 52 films, only four of which were dubbed into English. Those were done by K. Gordon Murray. El Santo was responsible for the Mexican wrestler superhero craze in the sixties and seventies. Santo was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 in the Legacy category.

The Mexican wrestling films are a subgenre known as Luchador films (or Lucha Libre films) and are a mix of wrestling and several other genres. They are action films combined with mostly science fiction or horror. After Santo started the ball rolling other popular luchadores jumped on the bandwagon. The luchadores are superheroes that get embroiled in battles with vampires, mummies, monsters, spies and aliens from outer space. They were low-budget and quickly cranked out. They also all included a goodly amount of wrestling, usually both in and outside the ring. Everything was choreographed and the wrestlers performed all the stunts themselves.

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