Cult Movies

Cult Movie Essentials: Santo in The Revenge of the Vampire Women (1970)

Santo in The Revenge of the Vampire Women aka Santo en la venganza de las mujeres vampire has a pre-credits sequence where a vampire named Mayra is staked while in her coffin.

As the credits roll, Dr. Brancov and his two assistants wend their way through a grotto in search of Mayra’s crypt. This is a very nice sequence: Brancov uses a torch to burn his way through some stubborn spider webs, stomps on a rat, and finally has his henchmen carry Mayra’s coffin back to the car.

In the lab, Brancov exposes her dried-up corpse to his associates: she was a member of the nobility in Transylvania who finally took her vampire chores too seriously as was staked as a result. Her followers brought the coffin to Mexico, but they were later wiped out themselves. Now Brancov will revive Mayra with “fresh human blood.”

This blood will be obtained from a go-go dancer at a smoky discoteque. Gitano and Marco, two more of Brancov’s henchmen, hide in her dressing room, but the dancer comes in with her boyfriend, Pablo. As they start to make out on the couch, Brancov’s thugs slug Pablo and choloroform the dancer. They decide to take Pablo along too: “His hot blood might come in handy.”

Meanwhile, reporter Paty is taken to meet Santo by Lt. Robles, her boyfriend. Santo is lounging poolside, surrounded by attractive women in bikinis. Paty asks Santo if the increase in crime can be blamed on a criminal class; no, Santo replies, “sometimes the most horrible crimes are committed by people of the upper levels of society.”

A good example is Brancov, who has the go-go dancer strapped to a table next to Mayra’s dessicated corpse. He yanks out the stake and beings transfusing blood from the nubile young women into the green-faced husk. Gradually Mayra resumes her attractive appearance and comes back to life. She knows everything that has happened in her “absence,” and vows revenge on Santo, whose ancestor wiped out her followers.

Santo is wrestling a black-masked opponent. Robles, Beto, and Paty are in the audience, rooting for Santo. Mayra, Brancov, and Carlos are also there, but they aren’t Santo fans. Mayra gives Santo’s opponent a mental command to kill, and Carlos does his bit by slipping the wrestler some brass knuckles. Mayra also tries to will Santo into losing, but after a very long and brutal match, Santo wins out. Later that night, he’s asleep in bed. Mayra comes in and stabs him, but discovers that it’s just a dummy. The real Santo is behind her, laughing. He grabs her and they struggle, but Mayra turns into a bat and flies away.

Mayra picks up a young man in the disco; they go back to his apartment and he’s drained of blood. As the police examine the body, Paty says it would be romantic to “die in the arms of Count Dracula.” Robles says don’t even joke about it. Later, the young man’s corpse is reanimated in the morgue; he attacks the attendant, but Santo has been expecting something like this, and he’s on hand to chase the new vampire out into the street. Brancov’s gang is there, and a fight ensues. Robles and Beto arrive and join in; Beto is shot and wounded, and the crooks escape.

A very confusing and pointless sequence follows: Santo goes looking for Mayra in the grotto, and Paty follows. But she’s being followed by Gitano, who kidnaps her and drives away. But then she knocks him out with her shoe and drives back to the grotto to get Santo. However, while she’s looking for Santo, Gitano wakes up and drives away. Which leaves us right back where we started!

Mayra is starting to rebuild her vampire forces, including the go-go dancer, her boyfriend, the pickup from the disco, and some others. She sends them out to “recruit” new followers. Since the disco has turned out to be a fertile hunting ground, Mayra and the young male vampire go back. Robles and Beto are waiting; Paty, “disguised” in a long wig, head-band, and big sunglasses, is also there. The young vampire picks her up, Robles and Beto try to stop them, and they all wind up prisoners of Mayra. However, Paty calls Santo on a pocket radio he’d given her; she also stuffs it in the mouth of the vampire man when he tries to bite her, and flees, but is recaptured.

Santo arrives at the mansion where Paty was being held, and is caught and thrown into the cellar where Brancov keeps his monster. The “monster” is a muscular guy whose face isn’t clearly seen while he’s fighting Santo. Santo bursts into the lab where Robles and Beto are tied up. A fight ensues, Brancov’s monster runs in and kills his creator but is fatally stabbed as he does so. A fire breaks out.

One of the henchmen tells Santo where Mayra’s grotto is located. Paty is ready to be sacrificed when Santo, Robles and Beto show up. Another fight! Robles sets the vampires’ coffins on fire, but Mayra turns into a bat and flies out. “Don’t worry,” Santo says, “she’ll be back. It’s almost dawn, and vampires have to be back in their coffins by then.” Sure enough, Mayra has to return to the grotto, where Santo and the others are waiting. Santo stakes her, she screams, turns back into the green mummy, then crumbles into dust. Santo, Robles, Paty and Beto pick their way through the smoldering remains of the coffins and leave.

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