Luchador films

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The Castle of the Guanajuato Mummies Luchador film.jpg
The Castle of the Guanajuato Mummies

Luchador films (or Lucha Libre films) are Mexican professional wrestling/action/science-fiction/horror films starring some of the most popular masked luchadores in Lucha Libre. The luchadores are portrayed as superheroes engaging in battles against a range of characters from spies, to vampires and Martians. These films were low-budget and produced quickly. Nearly all lucha films included fist-fighting and wrestling action sequences in and out of the ring which were choreographed and performed by the stars themselves without the aid of stunt doubles. The genre's popularity peaked during the mid-1960s to early-1970s. At least 150 luchador films were produced starting with the 1952 film Huracán Ramírez .



One of the most well-known Mexican luchador film stars was El Santo (Rodolfo Guzman Huerta), who starred in 52 films. Luis Enrique Vergara, the producer of the Santo movies and Mil Máscaras films, also created a Blue Demon series, similar to the stories then appearing in the weekly Mexican comic books. Blue Demon starred in 25 Lucha films. Vergara produced and at times wrote the scripts. He would cast beautiful, sensuous and well-built actresses in the movies, such as Altia Michel and Isela Vega as a foil to complement the masculinity of the superheroes.

In 1965, Santo walked out on producer Vergara over a contractual dispute, and Blue Demon suffered injuries and was thus unable to work. Vergara discovered Aaron Rodriguez, a young luchador, and offered him to star as Mil Máscaras. Máscaras was the first superhero/lucha libre personality created specifically for the movies, and he starred in 20 lucha films, including Enigma de muerte with John Carradine and Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy with El Hijo del Santo, Blue Demon Jr., and Huracan Ramirez Jr. [1] [2]

Lucha films also starred other masked luchadores including Tinieblas (The Darkness), Rayo de Jalisco, Sr. (Lightning from Jalisco), El Medico Asesino (The Killer Doctor), El Fantasma Blanco (The White Ghost) and Superzan. The most successful luchador film in Mexico was Las Momias de Guanajuato ("The Mummies of Guanajuato"). In that 1970 film, El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras team up to battle a group of re-animated mummies.

When American producer K. Gordon Murray bought the rights to three of Santo’s lucha libre films, he dubbed them into English for domestic release and changed the name of the wrestling hero to "Samson". The best known luchador film made outside of Mexico is 1962's Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro ("Samson vs. the Vampire Women"), which was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 . Las Luchadoras ("The Wrestling Women") appeared in six films, the most famous being The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy (1964) and Doctor of Doom (1962). The popularity of lucha films started to decline by the mid-1970s and essentially came to the end by 1976. However, such films are still being created including the trilogy of Mil Mascaras films beginning with 2007's Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy and followed by Academy of Doom and Aztec Revenge .

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Mil Máscaras is a Mexican luchador. He is regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of the lucha libre tradition in Mexico – along with El Santo and Blue Demon – and has been described as the first international superstar of lucha libre. Máscaras is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all time for enhancing and popularizing the lucha libre style around the world, both in the ring and as the star of 20 films. He is also an accomplished artist and cultural ambassador for his native country and has appeared on three of its postage stamps. Although he has never been unmasked and his true identity is generally kept a secret out of respect for lucha libre traditions, his real name is known due to appearing in the credits of the films he has starred in. His ring name is Spanish for "Thousand Masks".

El Santo Mexican professional wrestler

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, known professionally as El Santo or in English The Saint, was a Mexican Luchador enmascarado, actor and folk hero. El Santo is one of the most famous and iconic Mexican luchadores, and has been referred to as one of "the greatest legends in Mexican sports". His wrestling career spanned nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man through his appearances in lucha films and comic books telling fictionalized stories of El Santo fighting for justice. He starred or co-starred in at least 52 movies between 1958 and 1982.

<i>Lucha libre</i> Mexican style professional wrestling

Lucha libre is the term used in Mexico for professional wrestling. Since its introduction to Mexico in the early 20th century, it has developed into a unique form of the genre, characterized by colorful masks, rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, as well as "high-flying" maneuvers, some of which have been adopted in the United States, Japan, and elsewhere. The wearing of masks has developed special significance, and matches are sometimes contested in which the loser must permanently remove his mask, which is a wager with a high degree of weight attached. Tag team wrestling is especially prevalent in lucha libre, particularly matches with three-member teams, called trios.

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Jorge Ernesto Guzmán Rodríguez is a Mexican luchador enmascarado, or masked professional wrestler and political activist, best known under the ring name, El Hijo del Santo. Guzmán is the youngest child, out of eleven, of Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, better known as El Santo, a professional wrestler, film actor, and Mexican folk hero. Jorge Guzmán's son made his debut under the name "Santo Jr.", the third-generation Guzmán to use the name "Santo". Jorge Guzmán's uncles, Miguel "Black" Guzmán, Jesús Guzmán and Jimmy Guzmán were also wrestlers. Axxel, Jorge Guzmán's nephew, originally wrestled as "El Nieto del Santo" but Jorge Guzmán owned the rights to the "Santo" name and objected. Guzmán has also followed in his father's footsteps, as he has starred in several lucha films.

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Miguel "Miguelito" Vázquez Bernal, was a Mexican luchador or professional wrestler known under the ring name Espanto III. During his career in lucha libre he formed a long running, successful trio known as Los Espantos with his brother José Eusebio Vázquez Bernal and Fernando Cisneros Carrillo.

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  1. "MMvsAM".
  2. "PopMatters".