LADRON DE CADAVERES (1957)
aka THE BODY SNATCHERS
Article 2037 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-12-2006
Posting Date: 3-11-2007
Directed by Fernando Mendez
Featuring Columba Dominguez, Crox Alvarado, Wolf Ruvinskis
A mad scientist experimenting with monkey-to-human brain transplants hits upon the idea that the ideal subjects for his experiments are wrestlers. He begins murdering them and absconding with the bodies.
With a translated title that recalls a certain Val Lewton film, and scenes that hearken back to FRANKENSTEIN and KING KONG, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mexican horror movies did their share of mining from various sources. Still, they put these elements together in unique ways, and even in the unsubtitled and undubbed version that I saw of this one, that creativity made the movie continually interesting and not really all that difficult to follow. In fact, this may be one of the best of the Mexican horror movies; it was made shortly before EL VAMPIRO caused the genre to explode in popularity, and the wrestling backdrop predates the whole wrestling/horror angle by half a decade. There’s some memorable scenes here; I like the credits sequence (which pop up against the backdrop of newspaper headline), and the scenes where the scientist and his cronies put into effect clever schemes to acquire the bodies are very entertaining. The scene in the gymnasium (which helps the scientist pick out his first subject wrestler] is also very strong. The climax is definitely memorable, as Wolf Ruvinskis (who ends up the subJect of the doctor’s experiment) goes on a violent rampage, all the time getting uglier and more ferocious.
As time goes by, these Mexican horror movies are getting more respect and notice. Let’s hope some subtitler out there gets ideas about this excellent outing.