Caperucita y Pulgarcito contra los Monstruos –- aka Tom Thumb and Little Red Riding Hood vs. The Monsters –- stands as proof that, in the Mexican popular cinema of the 60s, any series that ran long enough would eventually see its protagonists face off against shoddy versions of classic movie monsters. The extent to which Peliculas Rodriguez’s Little Red Riding Hood films are known at all north of the border is largely due to huckster/entrepreneur K. Gordon Murray’s imported versions of them, which were made to seem even more alien by dint of their eccentric dubbing and tuneless approximations of the originals’ songs. Not surprisingly, watching the original Spanish versions shows them to be much more accomplished then those bastardized US cuts might lead you believe, without absolving them in the least of being bafflingly strange.
Santo vs las Mujeres Vampiro or Benito Alazraki’s adaptation of The Monkey’s Paw, Espiritismo. Tasked with penning a fairy tale adaptation aimed at children, Travesi appears to have fallen back upon what he knew best. Thus the picturesque alpine village that Little Red Riding Hood calls home is depicted as being one that is just barely keeping the forces of darkness at bay. Early in the film, one of the town’s elders intones ominously about a “prophecy” that dooms the town to being visited upon by “fear, destruction, and death”, with the only hope of breaking the curse being a “good, innocent soul” who is capable of “facing the horrors” of the “Devil’s Cave”. Said innocent is, of course, Little Red Riding Hood (Maria Gracia), who will indeed –- and quite literally -- confront Satan himself before the picture runs its course.
With Caperucita y Pulgarcito contra los Monstruos, we see something that is already weird going completely off the rails. I’m not sure whether its creators felt contempt for the series by this point, but had they been motivated by a desire to destroy it in the most spectacular manner possible, I don’t think they could have come up with a better way. This time around, much of the action centers around the “Kingdom of Evil”, a dark realm overseen by the Queen Witch (Ofelia Guilmain), who is an undisguised appropriation of the witch from Disney’s Snow White. As we join the film, the Queen is putting on trial both the Wolf and the Ogre from Tom Thumb, both for the crime of going against their evil natures and falling in league with the annoying juvenile do-gooders whom they were meant to kill. The queen, who is on a first name basis with Satan, hates these holier-than-thou little urchins, Little Red Riding Hood especially, and doesn’t beat around the bush in saying that she wants to see them killed.
The film then proceeds in much the same shrill and off-balance manner, as Red and her companions make their way across the hellish nightmare landscape that is the Kingdom of Evil, encountering various beasts and a fire-breathing suitmation dragon along the way. Ultimately, the captives are rescued just as they are about to be cleaved in two by a buzz saw, only for Red herself to be captured, leading to a particularly harrowing scene in which the Queen threatens to gouge the child’s eyeballs out with her long, talon-like fingernails. Finally she gets pushed into a furnace.