El Signo de la Muerte (1939)

The SIgn of Death comes from way back in the past of Mexican genre cinema, yet director Chano Urueta would make movies the whole way up to 1974, including Blue Demon vs. the Satanic Power and the amazing El Baron del Terror (he’s also in Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia).

Here, he’s putting Cantinflas* against several murders that seem to be Aztec in nature and all about sacrificing four virgins to Quetzalcoatl. What’s pretty crazy about this movie is that despite it being made in 1939 — a time when filmmakers north of the border were dealing with the Hayes Code and the feeling that cinema was destroying morals — this goes full on with topless women being murdered, like some forty years early slasher. Well, it doesn’t get that much into the gore, but you get my point.

*The actor is one of the biggest stars in Mexican film history, a comedian and hero of the people whose name as a noun meant lovable clown and as a verb means to talk too much but say little. He only made one movie that most Americans would know — Around the World in 80 Days — but he still has a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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