Little Red Riding Hood (1960)

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (1960)
(a.k.a. LA CAPERUCITA ROJA)
Article #1013 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-23-2003
Posting Date: 5-21-2003
Directed by Roberto Rodriguez
Featuring Maria Gracia, Manuel ‘Loco’ Valdes, Santnon

A big, bad wolf has plans of making a meal of a girl known as Little Red Riding Hood.

After steeling myself with Mexican horror movies, and then further building up strength by taking on Mexican wrestling movies, I now finally have taken the step and truly plunged into the abyss; the Mexican Kiddie Movie, brought to us by the courtesy of K. Gordon Murray. So here are ten thoughts on one of the strangest of kiddie movies, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

1) Whatever you can say about the various pros and cons of the movies from south of the border, one talent they certainly didn’t have was in building a good costume. The costumes for both the Skunk and the Wolf are almost unspeakably bad. They also look itchy. I hope the actors in them were well paid.

2) I learned several things from this movie. One is that the Mexicans celebrate Mardi Gras. Another is that they have maypoles at their Mardi Gras. The third is that they dance around the maypole. This in itself doesn’t strike me as strange; however, the fact that they dance ‘The Polka’ around the maypole did give me pause.

3) The voice of the skunk convinced me of one thing; there was once a fourth Chipmunk that David Seville kicked out of the group. I think he was named Stinky.

4) The reason Stinky was kicked out of the Chipmunks was because he couldn’t carry a tune. Need proof? Just listen to the skunk in this movie warbling a song to his true love, a parrot.

5) When the skunk began to sing, I felt like I was listening to the last member of the cast that I wanted to hear crooning a tune. I discovered I was wrong; the wolf also gets to sing a song.

6) Incidentally, the wolf only sings to the Grandma after tying her up, putting her in a stewpot, and stuffing a potato in her mouth. Amazingly, Grandma survives this (the singing, that is).

7) And while we’re still talking about the singing, take note that Red Riding Hood herself has a singing voice that suffers from Jim Nabors syndrome; it’s so vastly different from her speaking voice that I’m confident it added at least twenty years to her age.

8) All right, I’m still on this singing kick. Somehow, I just think it’s horribly unfair to have to listen to a singing group of lumberjacks and not hear them do Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack” song.

9) The wolf, by the way, is a successful master of disguise. I attribute this not to any appreciable talent on his part, but rather to acute astigmatism on the part of the rest of the cast.

10) This movie tells a lot more than the basic Little Red Riding Hood story; it also reveals her mythic origins and gives her the previously unsuspected power to banish evil spirits from haunted caves. Either she’s an exorcist, or the moviemakers decided to throw in their deus ex machina twenty minutes before the end of the movie.

….and *SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER

11) Do you know how angry villagers punish a Big Bad Wolf? They burn him at the stake (and he didn’t even turn anyone into a newt) and allow a skunk to slap him around. However, if a girl in a red riding hood pleads for his pardon, they are legally obliged not only to set him free, they must find a job for him, dress him in a nice suit of clothes, and give him a rifle. The Mexican judicial system must be something else indeed.

****END OF SPOILER*********

In summary, let me say this. I don’t take drugs, and as long as I can view hallucinatory movies like this one, I’ll never need them.

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