La Maldición de la Momia Azteca (1957)

K. Gordon Murray seems like the perfect person — if Jerry Warren wasn’t going to do it — to bring this movie to the U.S. as The Curse of the Aztec Mummy. None of the voices seem like they fit the characters — which if you know the world of Murray’s films — makes perfect sense.

The evil gangster Dr. Krupp escapes from the police and hypnotizes Flor into telling him where the mummy’s tomb is. But didn’t the tomb and the mummy himself get blown up real good in the last movie? Why should we let common sense get in the way of things when there’s a masked wrestler named The Angel showing up to help the forces of good?

You know what Krupp gets for his trouble? Popoca comes back, kills every one of his men and then throws the baddy into a pit of snakes. Watching that, Flor and her leading man say, “Let’s get married.” That seems to make sense after you’ve seen an undead version of your past life lover kill everyone and everything just. to get a gold breastplate back.

You can watch this on Tubi.

La Momia Azteca (1957)

Across three movies all shot at the same time, Popoca the Aztec Mummy wreaked havoc across Mexico before his adventures were remixed by — you guessed it — Jerry Warren and retitled Attack of the Mayan Mummy. His version ends with the mummy killed by a car off-camera in one of the most anti-climactic scenes I’ve seen in a horror film.

Popoca was buried alive after being caught having an affair with Xochitl, who was put to death for her sin. Popoca must forever guard her remains within the Great Pyramid of Yucatán for his sins.

As we move into modern times, Dr. Eduardo Almada uses hypnosis to get his fiancee Flor Sepúlveda to go back to her past lives. You guessed it, she’s really Xochitl. They use her memories to find the pyramid and take a gold breastplate, which brings Popoca back from the dead. As things happen, some gangsters get involved as well, as they want the treasures protected by the mummy.

Obviously, this movie is incredibly influenced by the Universal series of films, down to the lighting and music.

This film is 80 minutes, but the net two films are much shorter while filled with flashbacks to this movie.

Secta Satanica el Enviado del Senor (1989)

This Arturo Martinez-directed film — he also made Macabre Legends of the Colony and The Mummies of San Angel — is quite literally an all-star team-up of two of Mexico’s most well-known horror actors.

Joaquin Cordero, who played Dr. Satan in two films, as well as appearing in los peliculas de terror like The Book of StoneThe Hell of FrankensteinLa Loba and Vacaciones del Terror 2, is Father Esteban, a Catholic priest who is losing his congregation.

He must deal with German Robles character, who is the dark leader of a Satanic church. Robles is perhaps best known for playing Count Karol de Lavud in El Vampiro and Nostradamus in the serial that gave birth to four different vampire films. He also played Satan in 1970’s El Pistolera Fantasma.

It doesn’t help that Robles’ character can help the blind see and the lame walk. How can the church keep up with that? Well, this being Mexican film, the Satanic priest also starts making his way through the wives and daughters of the village of San Andres, who are left mumbling, “The word of the envoy has penetrated my mind.”

After a Black Mass where Robles eats a girl’s heart and then nearly kills the older priest, there’s only one way to fix everything. Cordero must put on a crown of thrones and carrying a cross through the streets of his city.

My favorite part of this movie that was even after reducing the evil priest to a quivering mass of guts and bones, he keeps laughing. If you ever wanted to see the Mexican version of Needful Things mixed with the right parts of The Devil’s Rain!, this movie is the spicy recipe you’re after.

You can watch this on YouTube.

El Trono de Infierno (1994)

The title of this film is The Throne of Hell and madre de dios do I have a story to tell you about it. This movie is quite literally everything you want a 1994 cheaply made Mexican movie about possession to be, and by that, I mean it’s packed with gore and bad taste. That’s pretty much the description for nearly every movie that I love.

A group of archeologists excavating some Aztec ruins in Mexico City uncover a bizarre jar that has fumes that come out of it and before you can say Pazuzu, the main one has been possessed and begins wiping out people in all sorts of creative ways, like crucifying a woman upside down with a crown of thorns.

If you wonder, “Will they slowly take the nails out and have blood spray everywhere?” you have been watching too many Mexican horror films just like me.

A Catholic bishop figures out the solution: call for the Angel, who can walk on water and already has a demon-killing sword which may be Excalibur and the Seven Seals. Luckily, they also have a giant attache case with a gleaming gold shield, too. He’s some kind of Templar Knight. The big bad turns into a rubber-suited monster and they do battle.

This movie moves slowly in points and at other times, it rewards you with scenes of priests being launched out of windows and cops exploding. There’s also a solar eclipse and an earthquake, if you’re into those kinds of things.

Sergio Goyri plays both the knight and directed this, so I’m kind of hoping that it was some kind of crazy passion project. Every time I was ready to check out, this movie would reward me with something off the wall.

La Verdadera Historia De La Llorona (2006)

Every few decades, we get another La Llorona movie. The description for this one could be the same for any of them: “A woman dreams every night that she wanders around the city screaming for her dead children and realizes that the old house where she lives is actually the tomb of murdered children.”

This telenovela title translates as The True Story of the Weeping Woman. I do not think that this one is anywhere near the truth. I just have a feeling.

This was directed by Aurora Martinez, whose credits stretch way back to 1989 as a director. His Bloody Tarot has been a movie I’ve been hunting for some time. But after this, I’m not so sure.

You can watch this on Tubi or on YouTube.

Viaje Directo Al Infiero (1990)

The title of this movie translates as Direct Trip to Hell, which is probably a good description of 90 some-odd minutes of an evil uncle abusing his niece (Daniela Castro) while also being obsessed by death.

He’s also upset because she has feelings for his limo driver, which is kind of a queasy thing, but not as bad as the fact that he has a basement filled with dead people that he makes her hang out in and touch corpses.

The uncle believes that he will soon die, so he asks Castro to bury him in a shallow grave and to keep his body above ground for two days so that he doesn’t wake up in a grave. She refuses, so he locks her in that basement I mentioned above and all the corpses begin to come to life.

I fear that I’ve made this movie sound way more exciting than it is. Because trust me, it was so memorable that I had to job my memory by watching it again before writing this and it wasn’t any better the second time around.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Pesadilla Fatale (1991)

Tatiana — a Mexican singer and actress who came to my attention for her magnificent rendition of “Chicos” in Vacation of Terror 2 — also made this film, where she plays a blind woman named Marisol whose father has been killed. Even worse, the killer is now after her.

Directed by René Cardona III (who made the original Vacation of Terror), this film features a killer with a Freddy-like glove of knives. He (or she) nearly kills Marisol with it in the beginning and continually uses it to get closer and closer to taking our heroine out.

There’s a lot of Marisol acting like she can’t see and stumbling around while the knife-gloved killer tries to end her life. She’s so perky and innocent and nice that you’ll be rooting for her — and this film — no matter what.

You can watch this on YouTube.

El Violador Infernal (1988)

Yes, every once in a while, I wonder — after watching movies like The New York RipperCannibal HolocaustLast House on Dead End Street and on and on — do I have the capacity to be shocked and upset any longer?

Happily, a steady diet of Mexican 1980’s VHS era films has proved that I still have the capacity to be upset by movies.

1988’s El Violador Infernal (The Infernal Rapist) is the kind of movie that saw Fulci’s roughest film and said, “Yeah, but what if the killer was the main character and he sniffed coke and we ripped off Shocker?”

Carlos (Noe Murayama, who came from Japan to Mexico with his dentist father and ended up being a character actor in tons of movies) is the main character, who is about to die in the electric chair when Satan herself (Ana Luisa Peluffo, who was in Vagabundo en la Lluvia and one of the first mainstream Mexican stars to appear nude in films; her career stretches from 1948 to 2014 and here, she was already sixty years old), who is a fabulous older woman dressed and shot in the way that only telenovela characters and the finest drag queens dream of being filmed.

She tells him that if he wants to live, he must sexually assault people, kill them and then carve 666 into their bodies. She seals the deal by firing laser beams out of her eyes and blasting his brain into the body of a drug dealer. These are the kinds of scenes that I keep rewinding and watching before sending them in the middle of the night to Bill from Groovy Doom like some kind of insomniac zombie fiend.

I mean, she promises him quite literally “all the drugs.”

His first kill is the drug dealer’s best friend, who he first overdoses on a bad batch of heroin, then, just when you’re thinking, “I hope he doesn’t have sex with that guy’s dead body,” that’s exactly what he does before repeatedly stabbing the man and carving the number of the beast into his freshly defiled ass. Seeing as how this is shot with wacky synths and with a lead who it’s difficult to tell if this scene is making him laugh, cry or come, this movie starts in a bewildering fashion and does not let up.

For some reason, the cops can’t catch a criminal who has come back from the dead, uses his real name and tells people what he is about to do and basically goes after every woman who works at the same beauty salon. He’s able to make them float, surround them in fog and kill them one by one, yet none of them say, “Girl, don’t go out with Carlos El Gato. He’s bad news.”

Eventually, El Gato screws up and doesn’t carve seis seis seis into an asscheek quick enough, which leads to Satan flinging him off a roof after he shrugs off numerous cops shooting him.

Wow. Obviously, Mexican films of this era had no budget to go with their utter lack of morality. It’s amazing to me that this movie even exists. I learned of it by wanting to see what other films that Princess Lea, who is also in Intrepidos Punks and La Vangaza de los Punks, was in. I can only imagine what other indignities she would suffer in her other films after this one.

Note: Just because I wrote about the Herschell Gordon Lewis goes to Mexico direct to video sleazefest doesn’t mean that I condone sexual violence toward men and women. Obviously, if you know me or have read any of my writing, you know where I stand on these issues. Yet in today’s society, I feel like I have to make some form of disclaimer to let you know that I find the behavior in this film — as well as others I’ve mentioned — abhorrent. Now let’s all treat each other with respect and empathy while loving really bad movies.

Mary Mary Bloody Mary (1975)

Juan López Moctezuma only directed six films. La Mansión de la Locura, known in the U.S. as Dr. Tarr’s Horror Dungeon, To Kill a StrangerEl Alimento del Miedo, Welcome Maria, the mind-destroying Alucarda and this film. Some people are able to make a legacy with very few films. In my book, Moctezuma is one of them.

Mary Gilmore (Cristina Ferrera, who was once married to John DeLorean and a model before her acting career; she’s since become a TV host and cooking expert on other talk shows) is an American artist searching for something in Mexico. Her van breaks down on the way and she’s surprised by a homeless guy named Ben (David Young, NightbreedPoor Devil), who offers to help her in the morning. She agrees and while she sleeps, she dreams of the last man she murdered.

Yes, Mary is something like a vampire, but she must use drugs to slow her victim down as she gains no real powers from her vampirism. In fact, unlike the typical movie vampire, she can move freely in the day. I was reminded of Martin here, as the only magic of this curse is the overwhelming need to destroy and kill. Often, the people that Mary destroys have given her kindness, like the art dealer (Helena Rojo, Más Negro Que la Noche) who she seduces or the old fisherman who offers to teach her. They get drugged and slashed and stabbed instead of what they expected.

Meanwhile, a bandaged man is stalking Mary, killing other women and trying to run her down with his car. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ben is wanted for the murder of the fisherman. No one would suspect our heroine, after all.

Things come to a head when the masked man attacks Mary at a party,  which leads to a chase with the police behind them. One of the inspectors is killed and just as Mary is about to devour Ben — who she had earlier drugged for just such a purpose — the masked man (John Carradine) reveals that he is her father. His face has rotted away and he explains that this is what the disease does. He must kill her before she is taken the same way that he is.

Ben wakes up and kills the father with the dead policeman’s gun. Mary begins him to leave and he keeps embracing her. As the camera moves above the scene, we see that she has consumed both of the men’s blood.

At the close, the police believe that the dead masked man is the one responsible for all the killing. This leaves Mary free to drive away and continue her travels.

There’s so much to love here. The painting that Mary has done of her father is a portrait of him as Dracula. There’s also something interesting about how she is the destroyer of so many lives, yet creates with her artwork.

This is the kind of movie that plays with the paradigm I’ve discussed so much: the difference between grindhouse and art house. A scene that should be pure exploitation, like the lesbian bubblebath scene, transforms into sheer artistic bliss (and bloody murder). Carradine feels like he stepped straight out of an Italian giallo. And the young lovers on the run in a foreign country film feels New Hollywood. It is all of those things and more.

Moctezuma has never failed to surprise and delight me.

La Llorona (1991)

I found this one on Tubi and it’s directed by Cesar Miguel Rondon. Honestly, there’s not much info on this one, which came out 28 years before The Curse of La Llorona.

It’s shot on video and looks like a telenovela — not a bad thing — and concerns a fishing village named La Vela. There, Ismael lives with his wife Cayita and their son, but his weakness as a man finds him in bed with Carmelina, who has the power of witchcraft.

Not a single one of the three featured actors in this movie claim it on their IMDB pages. You have to love this simple description that Pongalo gives to this movie, totally spoiling so much of it: “One day, Ismael decides to return to the side of his wife and son. Carmelina invokes her powers and begins her revenge … Ismael dies.”

Whew. This isn’t the worst movie I’ve watched as of late, but it’s close.

You can watch this on Tubi.