LA SOMBRA DEL MURCIELAGO (1968)
aka The Shadow of the Bat
Article 4920 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Federico Curiel
Featuring Jaime Fernandez, Marta Romero, Blue Demon
What it is: Mexican wrestling movie
A horribly scarred man who wears a mask becomes enamored with a singer at a nightclub, and kidnaps her. He also kidnaps wrestlers so he can have death matches with them to get the cheers of an imaginary audience. Can Blue Demon defeat him?
There’s something rather comforting to me to know that Mexican wrestling movies exist; just knowing that the world is big enough to have this kind of cinematic weirdness helps me to sleep better at night. This movie is the result of what would happen if you reimagine THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA translated into a Mexican wrestling movie. In some ways, it hardly matters that the copy I found was not dubbed or subtitled in English; the basic action and story are pretty clear once you know the PHANTOM connection. There’s five wrestling scenes; one in the ring, one in a training session, and three death-matches with the villain. There are four musical numbers, my favorite of which has Mexican teenagers boogieing to a Spanish version of “Wooly Bully”. The heroine screams her head off every time she sees a rat; for that matter, she screams her head off when she sees practically anything. And it all takes place in that world where the police wouldn’t solve any crimes were it not for the help of masked Mexican wrestlers. If you’re a fan of this genre, this is an entertaining one.