NEUTRON VS. THE MANIAC (1962)
Article #1573 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-5-2005
Posting Date: 12-2-2005
Directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna
Featuring Wolf Ruviniskis, Gina Romand, Rodolfo Landa
Neutron tries to catch a knife-wielding maniac who films his victims.
Break out the party hats—it’s another Neutron movie! You remember Neutron, don’t you? Well, if you don’t, the title cards will remind you that Neutron is the Atomic Superman. This is all well and good, except for the fact that he’s not atomic (though you could have a lively debate about just what makes someone atomic or not) nor is he a superman (no superpowers, average strength). In short, he’s a masked Mexican wrestler, except he doesn’t wrestle. So how does the movie compensate for the lack of wrestling scenes? It substitutes musical numbers, all of which have been left in their native Mexican language (though I really wish I could follow the lyrics of the novelty doo-wop number).
Neutron is trying to figure out the identity of the maniac. The only person who has seen him is a blind pianist (who isn’t blind, though he plays the piano). All the pianist really knows is that the killer made his escape to an asylum. The question is—which person in the asylum is it? Is it the suspicious doctor? One of the thuggish attendants? The battle-fatigued soldier? The mystic? The Russian royalty with the gout (who doesn’t really have the gout)? Or is it the unbeatable wrestler who loses every match (I take it back; the movie does have wrestling scenes)? The famous actress who is neither famous nor an actress?
Of course, the dubbing is atrocious and the translation feeds us a number of hilarious lines. Taken as a whole, the story is pretty muddled as well. Nonetheless, the setup for the mystery is pretty amusing, and the revelations in the final scene are very entertaining, though it has more twists than you can shake a stick at. I also have some fondness for the comic relief character; his encounter with the maniac is really memorable. In short, this one is dumb, but fun.