Sunday, August 31, 2014

LAS MUJER MURCIELAGO (A.K.A. BATWOMAN 1968 - Mexico) VCI DVD

D: Rene Cardona.  Maura Monti is a busty, big-haired Italian beauty who became popular in the spicy wild world of Mexican genre films.  Monti stars as the curvy crime fighter/wrestler known as the Batwoman who is called in to solve the mystery of dead wrestlers washing up on the usually pristine Acapulco beaches.  In no time at all, Batwoman traces the beached hombres to a mad scientist with the less than sinister name of Dr. Williams, and his goofy lackey Igor, in the grisly quest for glands to create a super race of radio-controlled, red bug-eyed gill men.  Nothing, it seems, is too big and bad for Batwoman to handle except her single phobia- mice!


Among the film’s many exploitable elements, you’ll notice more than a nod to the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, gratuitous acid disfigurement, karate, judo, lucha libre, wet lingerie, bikinis, big hairdos, a laboratory and a snappy twist jazz score.  The underwater photography is surprising effective and the colorful locations are a visual plus.  A stand out sequence is the underwater fight scene where  Batwoman wards off the attack of an amorous gill man that culminates in a gasoline-fueled water fire!  It's well-done and predates the memorable deep sea zombie attack in Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBI (1979).


Monti added some wholesome sex appeal to muchas peliculas in the wrestling, spy, sci-fi and horror genres during the 60s and 70s where she shared the screen with such legends as El Santo, Mil Mascaras, Blue Demon and even Boris Karloff!  It’s odd that this fast-paced actioner was never snatched up for U.S. distribution.  An enterprising distributor like K. Gordon Murray could have made a box office killing with some cheap dubbing and lurid advertising.  The VCI DVD is 4x3, in the Spanish language un-subbed with a soft but colorful image.  You can watch BAT WOMAN in its entirety on YouTube with decent fan subs.  Cardona’s son, Rene Jr., went on to become a prolific director in his own right.


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