Santo en el Tesoro de Drácula (1968)

The brightest scientific minds in all of Mexico have gathered at the home of nuclear physicist Dr. César Sepúlveda to learn of an invention that is going to change everything that we know. Out of the shadows steps El Santo.

You may feel like the scientists in this movie who leave the room laughing when you think about Santo changing the world. After all, isn’t he just a wrestler?

No, Santo is everything: a millionaire playboy, a superhero, a spy, an enemy of the occult and, yes, the man who has just invented a time machine.

You read that right. A time machine.

Don’t they know that Santo already invented Facetime decades before it was on your phone?

Well, to test his machine, which only can send you back in time to watch the actions of your relatives or past lives or whatever magical nonsense that this movie chooses to baffle us with, Santo chooses his girlfriend Luisa, who was — of course — hunted by Dracula at som point when she was Luisa Soler. Somehow, Santo and everyone in our time is able to watch the past as if it were a TV show.

Luckily for those in the past, vampire hunter Professor Van Roth has fought off Count Alucard with mistletoe, which until now I had not realized could defeat vampires and was only an aid to sexual harassment. However, Dracula keeps up on trying to convert our heroine — by showing off all of his gold! — and finally does turn her, just in time for Santo to bring her back to our time where she’s struck by the vampire’s curse.

Meanwhile, an evil criminal known as the Black Hood and his gigantic son Atlas have been watching all of this and plan to steal Dracula’s treasure, which really seems like both the best idea for a movie and the worst idea for reality.

Somehow, this all ends up in a battle between Santo and Atlas in the ring for the ring and medallion of the king of the vampires. Even though the man in the silver mask wins, the Black Hood has found Dracula’s grave and plans to pull the stake out of his heart. If you think that Dracula isn’t going to get a harem of evil women and do a Satanic ritual to win Luisa over for good, then you haven’t watched Mexican lucha vs. the occult cinema.

And that’s where the story would end, one assumes, but director René Cardona had a trick up his sleeve.

While the original 1969 release of Santo en el Tesoro de Drácula was shot in black and white, there was another version of the film in color made for European markets called El Vampiro y el Sexo. Instead of just gowns for all of Dracula’s women, they now appear completely and totally nude in several scenes where Dracula paws at them.

There’s an urban legend that there are six different Santo films that feature alternate nude scenes, while another that Santo made a deal with Cardona to keep this film locked up.

For years, the only evidence that this alternate film existed was posters and photos.

Decades after filming, three original copies of El Vampiro y el Sexo were discovered in a vault in the film’s original production facility Cinematographic Calderón. The film was restored by the Guadalajara International Film Festival, which planned to show it to the public as part of a vampire film series curated by Guillermo del Toro.

Sadly the premiere was canceled due to protests from El Hijo del Santo and Santo’s estate, who claimed that showing the film would damage Santo’s reputation. After some debate, the film was shown twice in 2011 with no issue or stain on the memory of El Santo.

You can get the restored version of this film on blu ray from VCI.

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