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Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, The

Entry updated 15 May 2023. Tagged: Film.

Mexican film (1957); original title La Momia Azteca contra el Robot Humano; vt The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot. Cinematográfica Calderón S.A. Directed by Rafel Portillo. Written by Alfredo Salazar. Cast includes Crox Alvarado, Rosita Arenas, Luis Aceves Castañeda, Ángel Di Stefani and Ramón Gay. 64 minutes. Black and white.

Scientist Dr Eduardo Almada (Gay), joined by his wife Flor (Arenas) and friend Pinacate (Alvarado), has invited two colleagues to his house. He spends 20 minutes summarizing his conflict with the villainous Dr Krupp (Castañeda) some years ago; the viewer sees clips from the trilogy's previous two films – the Aztec Mummy (1957) and Curse of the Aztec Mummy (1957) – as he does so. Eduardo then explains how, the day after the latter film's final scenes, he had taken the police to Krupp's home but was dismayed to find the laboratory equipment and corpses had been removed, whilst Krupp's body was no longer in the pit of snakes where it was thrown by the Aztec mummy (Di Stefani).

Eduardo continues: Krupp had previously Hypnotized Flor, which gives him the ability to summon her: he had done so. By reading its "mind waves" she was able to locate the mummy for Krupp: its tomb destroyed, it had moved into the mausoleum of the last descendant of the Aztec kings. Though Flor remembered nothing of this, Eduardo had deduced what happened from her dirty night clothes, whilst Pinacate suggested having the mud on her slippers analysed. An expert duly found marble dust, of a quality used for mausoleums: checking the area's cemeteries they had eventually found the right one and seen the breastplate and bracelet – whose inscriptions tell of an Aztec treasure, thus Krupp's interest – which are untouched, guarded by the mummy. Back in the present, Eduardo explains this happened five years ago, with Krupp lying low since then: but recent thefts of a corpse, human brain and radium equipment suggests he is about to make his move. The radium connection led Eduardo to investigate recent sales of lead sheets, enabling him to locate Krupp's new hideout. He and Pinacate plan to confront him tonight and are briefing the scientists in case they are murdered.

Arriving at the lead sheets' delivery address, the pair are immediately caught and taken to the building's laboratory, where the now caped Dr Krull, in full Mad Scientist mode, boasts of the success of his research: he can now create life! His speech culminates – as a thunderstorm roars outside – with his dramatic revealing of "my masterpiece ... the Human Robot!". A human head can be seen behind the Robot's glass face (see Cyborgs); it is radium-powered and remotely controlled by Dr Krull. Leaving Dr Almada and Pinacate under guard, Krull brings the human robot to the cemetery to kill the mummy, so he can take the relics: battle commences, with the robot winning ... but Dr Almada and Pinacate, having escaped with surprising ease, now arrive with the police and Flor – and grab the remote control from Krull, enabling the mummy to destroy the robot, then kill Krull. Flor now hands the relics to the mummy – who recognizes her as the Reincarnation of his fifteenth-century lover – and orders it to kill no more but to rest in peace.

If this had been an episode of a television series it would have made an entertaining half hour, but movie-goers must have felt short-changed by the extent of the flashbacks. Dr Almada's and Pinacate's detection is reasonable (and likely inspired by Sherlock Holmes), whilst Dr Krull's performance and his creation owes a huge debt to Frankenstein (1931): sadly the clunky design of the human robot is laughably bad. These three Aztec Mummy films were derivative (see Clichés) but use different styles: the first is traditional Horror, the second inserts a masked wrestling hero (who is Pinacate – his alter ego is mentioned but does not appear in this movie) and the third crams in both a competent detective and a shambolic sf plot, making its second half schizophrenic. [SP]


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