El misterio del rostro palido (1935)

aka The Mystery of the Pallid Face
Article 3833 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-1-2012
Posting Date: 2-11-2012
Directed by Juan Bustillo Oro
Featuring Carlos Villarias, Beatriz Ramos, Natalia Ortiz
Country: Mexico
What it is: Mad experiments gone awry

An unbalanced scientist, obsessed with finding a cure for leprosy, takes his son on an expedition to study native medicines for a cure. Eight years later the scientist returns… and brings with him a strange man in a white mask.

Juan Bustillo Oro is apparently considered the father of Mexican horror for some of the films he made during the thirties. This one has a solid rating of 7.1 on IMDB, which seems to indicate that it’s pretty good, and I’m willing to bet it is if you can find a copy subtitled in English or can understand Spanish. Sadly, neither is the case with me, and though there are a few interesting visual moments, this is one of those movies that relies heavily on talk, especially during the first half. Still, Carlos Villarias (who played the title role in the Mexican version of Browning’s DRACULA) is memorable as a mad scientist; here he looks a bit like George Zucco. I was fortunate to to be able to find a plot description after I watched the movie to help me understand it a little, but I think it’s really going to take some good subtitles to make me appreciate this one. Maybe someday someone will release a set of Oro movies complete with subtitles; he does appear to have been a very interesting horror director.

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