Locura de terror (1961)

aka Madness from Terror
Article 2849 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-24-2009
Posting Date: 6-1-2009
Directed by Julian Soler
Featuring German Valdes, Manuel ‘Loco’ Valdes, Sonio Furio
Country: Mexico

Driven insane by his mother-in-law, a man is committed to a sanitarium and is helped by a doctor who is as crazy as he is. However, the sanitarium is also the home to a mad scientist engaged in experiments with dead bodies.

The opening credit sequence, in which ominous music plays while we see a shadowy figure approaching us in the streets, certainly tries to make this look like it’s going to be a scary movie. However, the mood is broken in seconds by dint of seeing who is in the cast; when the first two credits are for German (‘Tin-Tan’) Valdes and his brother, Manuel ‘Loco’ Valdes, you immediately know it’s a comedy. Well, maybe so, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad comedy. Nor does it mean that it doesn’t give us some fun scares along the way. Sure, my viewing is somewhat compromised by the fact that my copy is in unsubtitled Spanish, but this one is pretty easy to figure out, and many of the gags are visual. It starts out as an extended mother-in-law gag, turns into a politically incorrect view of insanity, and finally turns into a mad scientist flick. During the course of this movie, you will see Tin-Tan walk on the walls and the ceiling, Tin-Tan and Loco Valdes sing a Spanish version of ‘Lucille’ to a pretty nurse, the flesh melted off a body to leave a skeleton, the flesh melting back on (thanks to the use of backwards photography) to create a monster, Tin-Tan and ‘Loco’ Valdes doing ‘Othello’ playing Othello and Desdemona respectively, and Tin-Tan doing a full-frontal flashing of his mother-in-law without running the risk of giving the movie anything worse than a PG rating. The mad scientist is so evil he even throws his pet cat into an acid bath and kidnaps paperboys. Somehow, commentary seems pointless in the face of all this.

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