Friday, July 11, 2008

From The Lucha Diaries Vaults: Aranas Infernales (Mexico, 1966)

Hey, kids! Did you know that there's a whole world of fun and adventure that you can visit any time you like, no matter where you are? You did? Do you know what it's called? Your imagi-what? No! I was talking about The Lucha Diaries. God! So disappointed right now.

Anway, whatever. If you want to read more awesome reviews of Mexican wrestling movies like the one below, that's where you go. Or you can just "imagine" them. 'Cause I bet that would just be so much fun.


As wild as a lot of these Mexican wrestling films are, it sometimes seems like not a lot of imagination goes into their titles. There's definitely a strict limit on adjectives. Then again, it might just be that I'm jealous, because I simply don't live on the scale that these guys do. None of the opposing forces that I encounter in my life could without irony be called "infernal" or "diabolical". If Santo and Blue Demon were forced to live in my world, their movies would have titles like Blue Demon vs. the Condescending Waiter or Santo versus the Stubborn Screwcap. And, to be honest, while I might be able to relate more to one of those films on a personal level, I'd really rather watch something called Aranas Infernales - which, happily, happens to be the title of the Blue Demon entry that I will be considering here.

Probably the one thing that I could relate that would most succinctly sum up Aranas Infernales is the fact that it steals its special effects footage from Plan Nine from Outer Space and Teenagers from Outer Space. As much as this is equivalent to copying the slow kid's homework, it still guarantees that Aranas Infernales' special effects are immeasurably better than those of Blue Demon contra las Invasoras. Still, for the viewer (or, at least, this viewer) there's nothing like the sudden recognition of, not just the fact that you're watching a movie that aspires to pass off footage from what is popularly considered one of the worst films of all time as its own, but that you immediately recognized that footage as such, to make you most acutely feel the corresponding, rapid draining of the sands of time from your mortal hourglass.

This, combined with the fact that all of the scenes in Aranas Infernales that aren't filmed outside or set in a wrestling arena look like they were filmed inside a really small box, could really send me into a funk. But then here comes Fernando Oses, challenging Blue Demon in the ring with a ridiculous looking spider puppet on his hand, and all is forgiven. A sublime moment like this, occurring in a film's final minutes, is enough for me to see the total time invested, no matter how freighted with inanity, as well spent.

On top of all the aforementioned pilfering and claustrophopia, Aranas Infernales has a really extraordinary number of wrestling sequences (I honestly lost count). Fortunately, due to Blue Demon's typically spirited commitment to his role's physical demands, these are all pretty good, as are all of the plot-related brawls.

As for the spiders, they're not all that infernal. And, dovetailing fortuitously with the film's obviously limited effects budget, they're not all that spidery, either. It seems that the aliens' choice to assume human form was for the purpose of blending in, so that they could walk among their intended prey undetected. But they kind of defeat that purpose with their insistence on wearing sparkly capes with big pointy collars. Their vanity is their ultimate undoing.

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