Doctor of Doom (1963)

Doctor of Doom_(1963)‘Tremble, Gloria Venus! Vendetta, who I created for my use, is your destruction!’

A mad scientist experiments with human brain transplants, having already successfully transferred a gorilla’s brain into a man. He uses the ape man to kidnap a series of women, who inevitably die on the operating table. However, his latest choice of subject is the sister of wrestler Gloria Venus. This turns out to be a serious tactical error on his part as Gloria has just teamed up in a tag team with the Golden Rubi and together they take no shit from anyone…

Good afternoon, grapple fans!  More wonderfully insane action from south of the border with our favourite athletes of the square circle; the Mexican Wrestling Women. Here we get to see the first meeting of ‘Arizona Cyclone’ The Golden Rubi (the lovely Elizabeth Campbell) and Gloria Venus (the even lovelier Lorena Velazquez, here with a great hairdo). They’re BFF’s almost immediately, moving in together within 5 minutes of being introduced. And, no, it’s not like that! Gloria is soon cozying up to the handsome detective that’s investigating her sister’s disappearance while Rubi apparently likes his short, balding partner!

The villain of the piece is Roberto Cañedo. To begin with, he appears to be a serious, sober scientist, albeit with some rather dubious and obscure goals. However, he doesn’t just get a little bit testy when his plans are thwarted, he throws all the toys right out of the pram instead. In no time at all, he’s cackling like a madman and transferring his gorilla man’s strength into a new kidnap victim to create female wrestler Vendetta and he’s put just one thought in her head: kill Gloria! So the Doc pulls on a silver mask, becomes her manager and arranges the match!

Although the pace is fast and action plentiful, to be fair the story is a little hackneyed. But any shortfalls in that department are more than made up for by our feisty heroines. They go toe to toe with the Doctor’s goons at every opportunity and Velazquez certainly has a mean right. There’s no flashy martial arts combat here; the girls are just plain hard! Mess with them at your peril!

Doctor of Doom_(1963)

Girl power!

Of course this might not seem remarkable now; but fighting women didn’t appear on US screens until the 1970s and they were heroines in the Blaxploitation genre, not mainstream cinema and most were using firearms rather than fists. But there’s no such qualification here; our heroines work out at the local gym and when some muscle-bound lunkhead tries to lift their training equipment, all the other girls simply beat the crap out of him!

This is one of those rare instances where a sequel is better than the first movie; ‘Wrestling Women Vs. The Aztec Mummy’ (1964) surpassing this one in every department, but even so this is a highly enjoyable romp down Mexico way.

There were three more movies in the series, although only the first two featured Gloria and Rubi and the second of those had someone else playing Gloria (completely unacceptable!) The other was ‘Las Lobas Del Ring’ (1965) and featured Campbell and Velazquez squaring up against a cadre of villainous female wrestlers, rather than monsters or mad scientists. Rather a shame, if you ask me…

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