Caperucita y Pulgarcito Contra Los Monstruos (1962)

Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb vs. the Monsters is another nightmare film unleashed on children by K. Gordon Murray, the man who went from the carnivals of America to the King of the Kiddie Matinee, releasing sixty movies in fifteen years. So many of the classic Mexican horror films that I obsess over were originally brought to the U.S. by Murray, who chopped them into oblivion, but hey — how else would the kids of the 50’s and 60’s — and the 70’s, he kept these in circulation forever — have seen things like Las Luchadoras Contra La Momia AztecaEl Baron del Terror and Rene Cardona’s Santa Claus?

Little Red Riding Hood (Maria Gracia) and Tom Thumb (Cesáreo Quezadas, also known as Pulgarcito*) aren’t content to live out the fairy tales that we know them from (or in Tom Thumb’s case, being a member of P.T. Barnum’s circus). No, they seek out and battle the La Reina Bruja — the Queen Witch — who has an army full of monsters.

They find all of the bad guys in her castle in the Haunted Forest, where they are already fighting amongst one another, with a vampire accusing the big bad wolf and an ogre of treason and demands their execution. Yes, this is a kids’ movie.

As for the Queen of Badness — as Murray’s dub calls her — and her older witch sister have started turning the people of the village into monkeys and mice. Luckily, our heroes have an insider, Stinky the Skunk. They’re going to need it, because the bad guys also have a carrot-headed creature, Frankenstein’s monster, robots and Satan himself on their side.

This is the sequel to 1960’s La Caperucita Roja and 1961’s Caperucita y Sus Tres Amigo (Little Red Riding Hood and Her Three Friends) and is directed by Roberto Rodríguez, who also wrote El Latigo contra Satanas. You don’t need to see that movie to watch this one.

While today we watch this and may be astounded by just how strange it was, imagine if you were a very young child dropped off at an unfamiliar theater and kept inside to watch this in the inky blackness while your parents were God knows where. Watch it with that mindset.

*Pulgarcito lived the life of a child star before we ever knew what that was, robbing a bank at one point when his career started slowing down. He eventually settled down with his first wife, who he eventually divorced to marry his secretary. I’d like to say that he lived happily ever, but his second wife eventually found a video of him molesting a daughter from his first marriage.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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