Detectives Rodriguez (Jaime Fernandez), Isabel (Irma Serrano) and Savage/Sanmartin (Armando Silvestre) are brought in on a new case. Gloria Rutherford (Lorena Velazquez) tells them that she and her father, Professor Rutherford (Rafael Maria de Labra), had returned from Haiti where her father had been doing research for a book on voodoo and zombies. He disappeared on his way to the publishers. A search of his papers provides no leads as to his whereabouts. Rutherford’s brother, and Gloria’s Uncle Genaro (Carlos Agosti) is also concerned. Genaro is blind and uses a cane and an assistant Rogelio/Roger (Ramon Bugarini) to help him get around.
That night three men, that appear to be in a zombified state, rob a jewelry store. An alarm sounds at the police department and officers are dispatched. When confronted by the security guard one of the men attacks. The guard shoots him several times, one of his bullets hits the man in the forehead. The man never flinches and knocks the guard unconscious. When the police arrive they too are knocked unconscious after shooting the suspects point blank. The zombies then drive away with the jewelry. The police are at a loss as to what to do. Detective Almada (Dagoberto Rodriguez) calls in Santo (Santo) to help.
The zombies are being controlled by a hooded man. Wanting children for his diabolical plans he sends three zombies to an orphanage to kidnap some children. Santo and the police show up to save the kids but the police and Santo are unable to apprehend the men. They pursue the car containing the zombies but the evil masked man blows up the car and the zombies. Police do recover fingerprints on an unusual tool left behind by one of the zombies. The prints belong to a man who died eight years ago.
Gloria finds some of her father’s papers that she thinks may be important but is kidnapped by the zombies on her way to police headquarters. Now that she is in the clutches of the zombie maker it is up to Santo to save her and stop the man in the hood and his zombies.
“Santo vs the Zombies” AKA “Santo contra los zombies” AKA “Invasion of the Zombies” was released in 1962 and was directed by Benito Alazraki. This was Santo’s third film but the first filmed in Mexico. His previous two films “Santo vs the Evil Brain” 1961 and “Santo vs the Infernal Men” 1961 were both filmed in Cuba. It is one of four Santo movies that were dubbed into English but this one wasn’t one of K Gordon Murray’s films.
There is a lot of ring wrestling in this movie. Just the first twelve minutes alone is all wresting with Santo fighting. Santo as the crime fighting hero doesn’t really show up until twenty-five minutes into the film. Even then he’s just being briefed on what is happening. Then we have another ring fight before he gets down to business and starts crime fighting. After that there is one more ring fight but with a zombified luchador. There is a nice “Who was that masked man?” moment at the end that was fun and probably the best part of the movie.
It’s an OK movie with some nice dopy scenes. The zombies are just guys in matching tunics, tights and silver control belts. There is a strange back projection scene that looks a little weird. It is average for the most part but it just doesn’t have the fun and silliness of some of Santo's later films.
Fernando Oses has been in more Mexican movies than you can shake a stick at. At least seventy-four. In a lot of him he is uncredited. Although relegated to bit parts he is often seen as a henchman or a police man, even a luchador. In this film he is pitted against Santo in the ring. He’s also a writer and has written many Mexican horror films as well as a lot of the Santo films. Fernando was a professional wrestler. His nickname was The Shadow. Here he plays Dorell Lopez, a zombified wrestler. He is also credited as one of the writers. Without Fernando we would not have many of these wonderful films.