I’m not going to pretend that this is a good movie. The acting and production are about as good as you might expect from a late-fifties crime/horror/monster/science fiction/action hero film produced in Mexico City and dubbed by a crew in Coral Gables, Florida. It’s bad.
I’m not pretending this bad movie is good, but I’ll make an argument for why you should watch it anyway.
- With all of the strikes against it, this is still just about as good as any Roger Corman feature from the era. And it was produced without access to the deep pool of Southern California talent that Corman could skim to make his schlock.
- While the Aztec story here shares similarities with Native American fantasies in US films—the Native Princess, the Brave Warrior, forbidden love, and so on—it treats indigenous names, culture, and ideas with sensitivity you won’t see in a film produced north of the Rio Grande.
- You won’t see a cast like this in a Hollywood film from the era. Stars Ramón Gay and Luis Aceves Castañeda were Mexican, star Rosita Arenas was born in Venezuela, Crox Alvarado was from Costa Rica.
- You’re bound to get a few unintentional laughs. Look at the obvious toy snakes in the snake pit! Come back and here tell me you didn’t laugh when you saw the Angel jump in his little coupe and drive away in his shiny Luchador costume!
Put it all together, and you get a decent little midnight movie to hell you forget the Sunday night blues.