Santo In The Treasure Of Dracula/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Santo In The Treasure Of Dracula

Wanna see Mexico’s favourite wrestling crime-fighter go toe-to-toe with the king of the vampires himself? Then step right this way.

Dr Cesar Sepulveda introduces a very smartly dressed El Santo to the members of the Society for Metaphysical Research. The assembled boffins scoff at the costumed crime-fighters claims that he has invented a means by which a person’s atoms can be ‘de-composed’ and transmitted back through time to inhabit the body of an ancestor in another age. Honestly, would you believe this sci-fi hokum coming from a masked wrestler? No, me neither.

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Dr Sepulveda’s daughter Luisa volunteers to be the first to test the sulking superhero’s time machine and soon enough is decked out in a shiny silver space-suit while Santo & his Jerry Lewis style sidekick Perico twiddle some knobs and dry ice fills the lab. With Luisa successfully ‘de-composed’ Santo, Perico & the Doc watch her materialise on a TV screen wearing a cleavage revealing diaphanous night-gown and writhing on a bed with 2 small wounds on her neck. ‘The furniture seems to belong to the end of the last century’ says El Santo proving that not only is he a world champion wrestler, a daring crime-fighter and a scientific genius but also an expert in antiques.

Downstairs from Luisa’s bedroom her father from the past Professor Soler is being brought up to speed on the plot of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ by his friend Professor Van Roth who scares away a large rubber bat that wobbles menacingly at the window by waving a sprig of mistletoe. ‘Vampires can’t stand its smell’ he says. Right on cue Professor Soler’s new neighbour appears at the door; a suave looking gent in a black cape who goes by the name of Count Alucard (yes, that old trick again).

Despite having a cave full of bouffanted vampire hotties The Count has taken a particular fancy to Luisa and regularly visits her boudoir for a midnight nibble. Spiriting her away to a secret lair he reveals an enormous pile of gold and jewels inherited from his ancestors that he promises to share if she becomes his undead bride. In a nice touch Van Roth employs a bloodhound to sniff out the fiend’s coffin and cancels the honeymoon with a stake through Drac’s cravat.

Back in the present day Santo rushes to push re-wind on his Betamax time-machine and rescue Luisa’s atoms from the past before she too gets laid to rest. Our hero asks the girl to lead him to Dracula’s tomb hoping to recover The Count’s medallion and ring. These artefacts hold the key to the location of the vampire’s treasure but El Santo is not the only one with his eyes on the prize. A mysterious black hooded figure has been spying on the whole experiment and with a gang of goons in tow ambushes Santo, Perico, Luisa & the Doc as they arrive at the cemetery. 50 minutes in and the man in the silver mask finally gets to open up a can of lucha libre whup-ass and give the Black Hood’s hit squad a few black eyes and Chinese burns.

With Drac’s medallion in Santo’s sweaty fist but with the Black Hood clinging to his ring Doc Sepulveda suggests a winner-takes-all wrestling match between our man of action and the Hood’s big-boned son Atlas to finally settle the score. And the crowd goes wild. Santo gets a pounding in round 1 but makes a body-slamming, tendon-tearing, groin-straining comeback in rounds 2 & 3 that leaves Atlas crying for papa. Before his true identity is exposed the Hood has one last trick up his sleeve. He sprints back to Drac’s crypt and yanks the stake from the sleeping vampire’s chest knowing that the resurrected Prince of Darkness will hunt down and destroy whoever has stolen his bling. Look out Santo, you might want to stock up on mistletoe.

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OK, so I lied - Santo doesn’t actually wrestle Dracula in the movie but none the less this is one of the masked hero’s most consistently energetic and enjoyable adventures. Any movie that features vampire women, rubber bats, a time machine and wrestling automatically qualifies for 2 thumbs up on the Fonz-o-meter from me.

A large part of the film’s running time is devoted to what is an essentially faithful, and surprisingly effective, re-telling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula albeit with a few inexplicable twists. Since when do vampires fear mistletoe? Unless it’s the threat of a different kind of love-bite from Van Roth that sends them running. Whenever the action cuts back to El Santo & pals watching the action on their laboratory TV set it’s kinda like how I’d imagine a Mexican version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 might look if Santo & a south of the border version of Jerry Lewis were the hosts.

Director Rene Cardona Snr helmed a number of entries in El Santo’s filmography including 2 co-directed with his son; Santo In Operation 67 and Santo In The Treasure Of Montezuma. Similar to a number of horror films made in Spain during the Franco regime a sexy version of the film was prepared for export abroad entitled ‘El Vampiro Y El Sexo’ in which Dracula’s vampire harem wear considerably less clothing than in the PG rated original. Rubber bats, a time machine, wrestling and . . . TOPLESS vampire women!! I’ll see you in the front row.


Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.

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