It's been a long time since I've covered Mexican cinema. Specifically the broke-ass, Universal monster rip-offs that were prevalent during the 50's and 60's. Sure, I would rather watch a luchador movie, anytime and anywhere, but sitting down with microbudget monster movies is always worth the 90 minutes or less out of my day.
Today, I took some afternoon time to watch The Rider of the Skulls(1965), a film that not only has c-grade rip-off monsters, but also incorporates Mexican cinemas favorite element, A masked hero. Unlike Zorro, El Charro de las Calaveras wears a mask that is more akin to a burka and chooses to use his "fight" for justice to fight supernatural creatures instead of banditos. I know now the real scourge of the Mexican countryside are plaid-wearing werewolves. The movie brings us through three distinct stories that easily could have been the pilot episodes for a television show, albeit a really bad one. The werewolf I previously mentioned, Charro also ends up going head to head with a vampire and a headless horsemen. Throw in a crazy witch and a prophesizing zombie for good measure, and there you have it, a classic Mesoamerican western.
Does it sound ridiculous enough for you yet? If not, let me telll you about Charro's rather unorthodox approach to fighting beasties. In most movies, we see monster hunters use the conventional weapons such as silver bullets and wooden stakes. Not Charro, nosiree!! Charro carries a gun, and a machete as well, sometimes using them. But his preferred means of eliminating the forces of evil is punching the shit outta them,with the occasional judo throw tossed in. Who fucking knew that would work? Let's add in that he keeps the company of an alcoholic retard and two young, orphan boys and the weirdness just hits astronomical proportions.
Despite the really, really bad special effects and completely ridiculous storyline, I found myself loving this film. Partly for the very reasons I just mentioned. Okay..it's for most of it. Charro is nonstop laughs and something that should never be contained. Show it at parties, bars, wedding funerals, it is good for all occassions and everyone should see it.