“SANTO IN THE TREASURE OF DRACULA”— The Sexy Vampire Version

“SANTO IN THE TREASURE OF DRACULA”

The Sexy Vampire Version

Amos Lassen

After inventing a time machine, Mexican wrestler, El Santo, uses it to go back in time to track down the location of Dracula’s hidden treasure. He has the noble intention of using the treasure to help fund a children’s hospital. In his quest to obtain the treasure, he is forced to face down and battle Dracula and his group of beautiful, vampire vixens. The original 1969 release of “Santo en El Tesoro de Drácula” was black-and-white and featured no nudity. The film was simultaneously shot in color featuring full frontal nudity for European markets and finally released in Mexico in 2012 as “El Vampiro y el Sexo.” We now have it here on Blu ray and DVD.

This is one of the more notorious Santo films, but  that is primarily because it contains nude scenes. The “nude version” was finally rediscovered in 2009 and released in 2011.

With the aid of his friend Dr. Sepúlveda, Santo  shows the time machine to a group of scientists. But, since he hasn’t tested it, they turn away. Afterwards, Santo expresses his anger, and Dr. Sepúlveda offers to be the test pilot. Santo says no because it would be too risky but he might need Sepúlveda’s help. Santo’s cowardly assistant Perico refuses to go. Santo says that the ideal subject would be a young woman. Luisa, Sepúlveda’s daughter who takes the hint and volunteers.

Professor Van Roth arrives to consult with Soler, Luisa’s father. Soler says Luisa has been suffering from exhaustion and anemia lately, and has two small punctures on her neck. If this wasn’t suspicious enough, Soler’s new neighbor stops by, a foreign nobleman named “Count Alucard.”

Back in his subterranean hideout, the Count creates some new converts by first he biting them, then stabbing them and stamping them on the neck with his signet ring. In a cloud of smoke, they turn into bats and fly off in search of prey. Van Roth experiments with the name “Alucard,” and discovers that when held up to the mirror, it spells “Dracula”. The Count himself appears  but is chased off when Van Roth flashes a sprig of mandragora bush. Luisa is given a necklace of the anti-vampire herb to wear, but Dracula hypnotizes the maid, who promptly removes it. Luisa is now free to leave with Dracula. He shows her a coffin full of the gold and jewels (the “treasure” of the title).

Meanwhile, Soler and Van Roth stake another vampire woman. Using a dog, they track Dracula and Luisa to the grotto where their coffins lie  and where Dracula gets the stake treatment, but before Luisa can be hammered, Santo (who has been watching the whole story on a TV set) brings her back to the present.

A black-hooded figure has been spying on the entire experiment. He wants that coffin full of gold, and tells his gang that they should keep a close eye on Santo and the others, but don’t kill them. Santo, still smarting at his rejection by the scientific community, says he can prove that his time machine works if he can find Dracula’s treasure. Luisa isn’t crazy about this idea, but they go to Dracula’s crypt and take a medallion from his chest that apparently contains a clue to the location of the gold. Black Hood and his gang–including his son, wrestler Atlas–follow, and a fight breaks out. In all of the confusion, Santo forgets to take Dracula’s ring, which contains another part of the puzzle. And so we continue. It all seems to be quite silly but we realize that this is a fun movie.

About half the time, the film holds us is— the acting is adequate, the production values are OK but not elaborate, and the direction is routine and not too atmospheric.

Director René Cardona Sr. seems to have had a good time making his “Mexploitation” film.

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