The Ship of Monsters (1960)

The Ship of Monsters (1960)‘This is the universe. An atom is infinitely small.’

Two sexy alien space babes in swimsuits land their rocket on earth accompanied by a cardboard box robot and some monsters. The first man they meet demonstrates ‘this Earth thing called kissing’ and they both fall for him. Unfortunately, he only likes one of them so the other turns into a vampire and lets the monsters loose on the local countryside.

Mildly deranged Mexican Science Fiction Romantic Musical Comedy (!) that’s only available in the original Spanish. If you don’t know the language, inevitably the story is a little confusing, but there’s still plenty of cheap fun to be had along the way. There’s wonderfully cheesy SFX, incredible monster makeups, silly costumes and a retro-fit spacecraft with big levers. And let’s not forget our alien visitors – they’re certainly not hard to look at!

The film opens with our space babes getting their mission briefing outside their rocket. It would appear they come from a ‘women only’ society and I’m guessing their intentions toward mankind are not very nice, but then I’m just filling in the gaps as best I can. The gorgeous girls are played by Ana Bertha Lepe and Lorena Velazquez and both have beauty and screen presence in abundance, particularly Velazquez. She went on to a long career in Mexican cinema (she’s still active as of 2014) and her credits include the Queen of the Vampires in ‘Santo Vs The Vampire Women (1962) and one of the title characters in the ‘Wrestling Women’ series, which, lest we forget, included the amazing ‘Wrestling Women Meet the Aztec Mummy’ (1964)!

First contact is a bit confusing for the girls as they run into Eulalio Gonzalez who rides a horse and has already given us one lusty song. One too many, if you ask me. Luckily, the babes manage to ‘freeze’ him with a ray gun, which shuts him up. Briefly. Later on, when Lepe and Gonzalez begin making goo-goo eyes at each other, Velasquez gets in a right huff and frees the monsters from a cave. She also becomes a vampire with joke shop teeth. All of this is deliriously silly of course, the monster design being especially wonderful. We get a gnarly Cyclops (who does most of the heavy lifting), a large brain (complete with pulsing veins), a moth-eaten Bigfoot type spider thing and a living skeleton that talks in a very deep voice. The skeleton in particular is an absolute triumph of SFX!

The Ship of Monsters (1960)

🎵 When your day is long / And the night, the night is yours alone 🎵

There are other delights along the way; Gonzalez and Velasquez strut their funky stuff in the ‘big’ dance number, the Cyclops eats a cow (leaving its skeleton behind), Gonzalez sings a drinking song (ok, so that’s not a delight) and the girls have a big cardboard box robot that resembles Bender from the animated TV show ‘Futurama’. The robot falls in love with a jukebox (I think!) and the two sing us to the final credits with a duet proclaiming their eternal devotion! Presumably!

Mexican cinema of the 1960s didn’t boast high production values, complex storylines, subtext or gritty realism. What it did have was a glorious sense of the surreal and the audacity to put it up on the screen without apology or qualification. Whether it was the horrors of the Aztec undead, masked wrestlers fighting werewolves, or reincarnated warlocks with 6 foot tongues; it was all in the name of entertainment. Pure and simple. This film isn’t the silliest example I’ve ever seen (take a bow ‘Anatomy of a Ghost’ (1967)!), but it certainly comes close.

Camino a seguir!

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