You can’t discuss Luchador Cinema without noting El Santo. More than just a luchador enmascarado both in the ring and on film, the man was a legend and folk hero. But, his career as a silver screen superhero. According to luchador lore, in 1952 a superhero movie serial was being produced entitled El Enmascarado de Plata (The Man in the Silver Mask) which was set to feature Santo in the starring role. The silver masked star of the wrestling ring and comic books declined to appear in the series thinking that it would be a commercial failure.
However, in 1958, Fernando Osés, a wrestler and actor, managed to convince Santo to take the part of sidekick “El Enmascarado” in two films in which he was playing the hero “El Incognito.” The movie was Santo Contra el Cerebro del Mal (Santo vs. the Evil Brain), and it was one of two films shot back-to-back in Cuba just before Castro’s arrival in 1958. The other film was Santo Contra Hombres Infernales (Santo vs. Infernal Men). Both films were directed by Joselito Rodríguez and share a few of the same scenes.
The plot of Santo Contra el Cerebro del Mal opens with an undercover police officer (Santos) being kidnapped by Dr. Campos who then brainwashes him into becoming a member of his gang. Campos, posing as a prestigious scientist, uses his inventions to force others to commit crimes. While Santo’s debut in motion pictures is less than awe-inspiring, he would go on to star in over fifty films spanning over two decades.
This is not a review of Santo Contra el Cerebro del Mal. That will come later. In the meantime, please enjoy this early luchador film in its entirety (warts and all) with English subtitles.