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Film / Samson vs. the Vampire Women

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The (first) one where El Santo wrestles vampires.

Samson vs. the Vampire Women ("Santo Contra Las Mujeres Vampiros") is a 1962 Action Horror film starring the wrestling Mexican superhero El Santo/Samson.

The vampire women in Mexico have awakened from their sleep, commanded by their master, The Evil One, to find him a bride. They choose as their target the beautiful daughter (Maria Duval) of a local professor (Augusto Benedico). To rescue his daughter, the professor calls El Santo, a silver-masked wrestler. But even El Santo may have trouble with these vampires; their mooks act like thugs and know Kung Fu.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Samson vs. the Vampire Women has examples of:

  • Airplane Arms: The vampire mooks do this while holding their capes. Tandra also does it, but to a lesser extent (she doesn't hold her arms straight out as do the mooks). We don't see Zorina do it.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Samson has difficulty defeating a vampire in the ring because the vampire uses karate — and can kill with a single blow! His style of karate sure looks like an elementary school slap fight, though.
  • Bat Phone: Professor Orloff has a phone line to El Santo, plus a weird... rotating-antenna radio thing for video communication.
  • Big Bad: Zorina the queen of vampires and high priestess of The Evil One.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The vampires finally have El Santo in their power, tied up and helpless, but decide to remove his mask first, giving time for the sun to shine in and burn them up. One would imagine vampires would keep better track of the time.
  • Bowdlerise: The English dub censors all references to Hell and Satan, so we're left with the vampire women serving "The Dark One" who rules over "The Dark Dominion".
  • Blofeld Ploy: When Tandra's first attempt to kidnap Diana fails, Queen Zorina doesn't take it well. She threatens to reduce Tandra to dust should she fail again—then to show she means business, she turns around and dusts two other vampire women, who hadn't done anything.
  • The Chosen One: The same prophecy that warns about the vampires foretells a young warrior for justice wearing a silver mask who will fight them.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: It's El Santo fighting vampires. What more need be said?
  • Gaslighting: The professor inadvertently does this to his own daughter by telling her that all the vampires she keeps seeing and who keep whispering into her mind and controlling her are just figments of her imagination, even though he knows that they're not. She starts thinking she's either going crazy or that she's alone against real monsters (when neither is the case).
  • Green Aesop: There's an out-of-nowhere exchange where Samson and the professor note that the use of nuclear energy is indicative of mankind's inherent desire to destroy the world, and is causing monsters to return into the world.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Evil One, AKA Satan, is worshipped by the vampires but doesn't take part in the events of the movie.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Okay, not an actual guard but a wrestling manager/cornerman. When one vampire mook pulls a Kill and Replace on Santo's wrestling opponent, said cornerman doesn't notice the substitution. Sure, the wrestler is masked, but their body shapes are vastly different.
  • Haunted Castle: The vampires make their lair in a castle on the outskirts of town, that very much resembles the standard gothic vampire castle, rather than any type of architecture - colonial or indigenous - you might expect to find in Mexico.
  • Heroic Willpower: Diana's father invokes God to break free of Tandra's Hypnotic Eyes and drive her away when it looked like he was about to fall under her control.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Quite literally when one of Tandra's minions comes face to face with a church cross and bursts into flames before Santo can get to him.
  • Homage: A few other works have picked up on this movie's premise of Masked Luchador fighting vampires.
    • There's a good chance that El Santos from Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter is a spoof of this movie's hero.
    • Likewise, in The Strain series of vampire novels, a retired luchador who used to perform as "Angel de la Plata" ("The Silver Angel") appears as one of the good guys.
    • In the foreword to Hellboy in Mexico, Mike Mignola confesses that he's never actually seen any of the El Santo films but he likes the idea of them. This precedes a story about Hellboy teaming up with a trio of luchadors to - what else? - hunt vampires.
  • Honor Before Reason: Once it becomes clear that Santo's opponent has been replaced with an impostor trying to kill him, Santo's cornerman tries to have the match called off, but Santo would rather die than send his fans home disappointed.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: The vampire women have this power. Tandra uses it at the dance to hypnotize Diana's fiancé Jorge into dancing with her, and Diana into dancing with her mook, so that Diana can be quietly abducted.
  • Kill and Replace: One of the vampires murders another wrestler and impersonates him in an attempt to kill Santo during a match.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the vampires finally die.
  • Masked Luchador: El Santo
  • Mask Power: El Santo. During the wrestling matches, and especially at the climax, it's made very clear that removing his mask would be a great defeat for him.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: The lady vampires in this movie do cast reflections, but the mirror shows them as ancient crones with a bad skin condition.
  • Mooks: The vampire thugs.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Seems like a fairly traditional stately Gothic Horror vampire film until the Masked Luchador protagonist shows up, nearly halfway through the movie.
  • Police Are Useless: The entire police force is less capable than a single professional wrestler when it comes to defeating vampires whose only tactic is to run away in a straight line with their arms extended airplane-style.
  • The Prophecy: Which states that 1) Zorina and her followers will seek revenge on the descendants of the woman who stopped them long ago, 2) that a silver masked man will be able to stop them, and 3) the silver masked man may not in fact be able to stop them.
    Mike: It's a vague prophecy.
  • Reduced to Dust: Queen Zorina threatens to do this to Tandra as punishment for failure, and she actually does it to two other vampires, for no real reason.
  • Serious Business: Since the movie keeps up the same kayfabe that El Santo and other luchadors displayed in the ring, Santo doesn't call the match when he realizes his opponent's literally trying to kill him in the ring; instead, he does the noble thing and decides to see it through anyway, risking his life for the honor of the sport. It would be a little more justified if Santo somehow sensed that the impostor was one of the vampire henchmen (since he knows he must fight them eventually anyway, and there's no point in running now), but no such thing is indicated; in fact, Santo appears just as surprised as everyone else when the monster is unmasked, and apparently just assumed the other guy had lost his mind.
  • Shirtless Scene: Anytime Samson/El Santo appears in the film.
  • Superhero: El Santo is a superhero of The Cape variety.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The vampires. Blocking the windows from the sun never occurred to them?
  • Translation Train Wreck: The English dub... flubs a few times. "Bat" is always translated as "vampire", for one. And then there's the scene where the professor begs the police inspector's help then immediately refuses to specify what he needs help with and then asks him to leave. Repeatedly.
    • The professor tries to explain away the bat fluttering outside at the window as a "butterfly" attracted by the light. If only there were a more fitting nocturnal creature that looked like a butterfly, he might've sounded halfway convincing.
  • Unseen Evil: The Dark One only ever appears as a shadow on the wall, and never speaks, but from his silhouette he appears to be the classic Big Red Devil you would expect, with horns and a pointy beard.
  • Villains: Tandra is The Dragon and The Heavy; outgoing Queen Zorina is the Big Bad, and Satan is The Man Behind the Man who only appears as a voiceless shadow on the wall.