SUPERARGO AGAINST DIABOLICUS (1967)
(a.k.a. SUPERARGO CONTRO DIABOLIKUS)
Article #1261 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-27-2004
Posting Date: 1-24-2005
Directed by Nick Nostro
Featuring Giovanni Cianfriglia, Gerard Tichy, Monica Randall
A masked wrestler turned secret agent investigates the theft of several shipments of radium and mercury.
I went into this one not knowing a thing about the movie other than the title. I was wondering what it was going to be about. Two giant rubber-suited monsters flailing at each other? A shape-shifting car/robot doing battle with a slug from outerspace? A muscular mega-mole taking on a rabid were-squirrel? My question was soon answered; Superargo is a masked wrestler, and this was a Mexican wrestling movie….
Except it didn’t come from Mexico. It’s an Italian-Spanish production. This explains a few things, such as the fact that the movie opens with Superargo torn with guilt at having accidentally killed a man in the ring (this type of self-torment isn’t the sort of thing you expect to happen to Santo). It also explains why our hero doesn’t take on werewolves and other monsters; he goes the James Bond route and becomes a superspy.
This movie has enough unusual touches that I ended up really enjoying it. For one thing, Superargo isn’t just a guy in a wrestling outfit; he has slight but quite distinct superpowers. In one of the most startling scenes in the movie, Superargo is stabbed by his best friend to demonstrate one of them. He’s also more brutal then any Mexican counterparts; where Santo might leave a string of aching, bruised bodies in his wake, Superargo leaves nothing but corpses. There’s an assortment of wildly improbable gadgets that turn out to be precisely what Superargo needs to finish his mission (The oddest? A broach with a transmitter inside. You know that Superargo isn’t going to be wearing this!) And many of the attempts to kill him turn out to be just the methods to which his super-powers make him resistant. I found this one fun, offbeat and unusual. It’s worth checking out.