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 Velásquez, 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 Velásquez 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 Velásquez squaring up against a cadre of villainous female wrestlers, rather than monsters or mad scientists. Rather a shame, if you ask me…

Wrestling Women Vs The Aztec Mummy (1963)

Wrestling_Women_Vs._The_Aztec_Mummy_(1963)‘Watch out, it might be a Limburger cheese that they sent to poison us!’

Good afternoon, grapple fans! Some nosey archaeologists have discovered an Aztec Codex, which provides clues as to the location of a fabulous hidden treasure. Unfortunately, the Black Dragon and his gang are after the scroll and will stop at nothing to get their greedy paws on it.

We open with several dummies being thrown from moving cars. These, we are reliably informed, are various archaeologists meeting their end in a wave of mysterious slayings that are sweeping across the city. One of the remaining boffins decides to involve a local hotshot police detective who also happens to be the lesser half of one of our Wrestling Women; Gloria Venus and the Golden Rubi. The boffin takes refuge in the girl’s dressing room (a reasonable tactic if you ask me) but is shot with a poison arrow as he’s about to reveal some important information (wouldn’t you just know it?) Anyway, hot shot copper knows Dr Tracy, head of the aforementioned expedition, so they all decamp to his flat and he explains what’s going on.

With one part of the Codex already in the hands of the Black Dragon, our heroes decide to split the remaining 3 between them, thus making the gang’s task much harder. In the next breath, they all decide to move in together, thus making the gang’s task much easier. Eventually, after some hypnotism, spying by close circuit TV and a clue hidden in a large sombrero, the two sides decide to resolve the ownership of the Codex by the most logical means available; a public wrestling match between our lovely heroines and the Kung Fu sisters of the Black Dragon. It’s a plot twist so staggeringly brilliant that it should be part of every screenwriting workshop ever held.

The bout itself is fairly endless and mostly executed by stunt players (dig the fright wigs on the two ‘oriental’ girls!) but truth, justice and the Mexican way win out and we move on to part 2 of the film. With the Codex translated, our heroes find their way to the Aztec Mummy’s tomb and make the usual mistake of waking him up by removing the Holy Breastplate. This time around, Tezomoc actually looks quite scary rather than just an ugly vagrant who spent the night before in his own wrestling bout with a bottle of hooch. He can also turn himself into a bat and fly backwards!

'That's the last time you forget our anniversary!'

‘That’s the last time you forget our anniversary!’

Sadly, the girls never fight the monster but there are several versions of this film around (including one from the early 1980s with a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack!) so maybe the footage is out there somewhere. But the girls do trade kicks and punches with the Black Dragon’s henchmen and kick some serious ass. Not very remarkable now perhaps but this is 1963; Doris Day was still the world’s top female box office attraction and ‘progressive’ women on screen were sex objects like Jayne Mansfield.

We have to thank legendary U.S. distributor K. Gordon Murray for bringing us this classic from south of the border along with many others of a similar stamp. Yes, it may not be great moviemaking by any stretch of the imagination but, what it lacks in almost every technical department, it makes up for in attitude and chutzpah.

You go, girls! Oh, god, that made me sound soooo ‘90’s…

Buy ‘Wrestling Women Vs The Aztec Mummy’ here