Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In short: Leyendas Macabras De La Colonia (1974)

Luchador Tinieblas has bought a cursed (and very ugly) painting from an antiques store, despite dire warnings from the owner - who probably shouldn't have paintings for sale he doesn't actually want to sell. When Tinieblas, his wrestling partner, the glorious Mil Mascaras, their buddy El Fantasma Blanco and two ladyfriends are celebrating a successful (and painfully long) match, the painting spews some magical fog and transports all five of them into the 16th Century.

There, they stumble into the conflict between a half-Aztec witch (Lorena Velasquez) who is trying to revive the mummy of her dead mother through lots and lots of human sacrifices, and the Inquisition. Well, mostly our heroes hide behind conveniently placed pillars and watch people in cheap costumes do nothing much of interest, or are imprisoned by the witch. From time to time, an organ playing guy with oatmeal pasted on his face recapitulates everything that happened just a second before he appeared while giggling a lot.

After some back and forth, Mil Mascaras and co are randomly sucked back into their time, only to have to fight some of the witch's Aztec warriors in their next ring fight, after which the film just stops.

Now, I know that it is important to go into the lucha movies churned out by Agrasanchez Productions with a positive attitude if one wants to derive any entertainment from them, but Leyendas Macabras might just be the film to drive even the most patient of positive thinkers into the strange and frightening realm of negativity.

It's not that I'm not used to the slap-dash production values of Agrasanchez films, or the way they seem to include more filler than actual movie or plot, or their typical air of just-not-giving-a-shit, but there's still a difference between their usual modus operandi of not even trying to produce something vaguely entertaining and this completely disinterested revue of barely connected scenes in that this one near magically manages to cause annoyance close to physical suffering in me.

Even Lorena Velazquez and Mil Mascaras, who were usually the sort of troopers elevating even the most bored of movies, just can't seemed to be arsed to do put any energy in at all; especially Velasquez looks in dire need of caffeine throughout the film.

It certainly doesn't improve the impression Leyendas Macabras makes that it starts out with the longest ring wrestling match I can remember to have seen in a lucha movie. Of course, in keeping with everything else, it's also an especially lackluster one (with some surprisingly unconvincing wrestling by Tinieblas) and thereby prepares the pitiable audience for the things to come. Not that there are many things to come.

The air of utter boredom and disinterest also manages to infect those elements of the movie that by all rights should be entertaining, like the random oatmeal-faced guy and the attacks of the mummy mummy. Not even the script's strange decision to cast Tinieblas as a comically womanizing jerk and Mil Mascaras as his straightman and have them bickering like the lucha version of an old married couple leads to as much hilarity as it should, coming as it does sandwiched between scenes of utter boredom and scenes in which characters without character explain the plot to each other or just right into the camera.

Well, at least Superzan's not in it.


Todd said...

I have nothing to add to this, except to say that, perversely, this movie appears to be almost ambitious in its awfulness. Like that cursed painting, it magically transports its viewer to a place where common sense is suspended, and passively watching masked wrestlers passively watching other things which aren't even remotely interesting passes for entertainment. Also, I'm sorry you had to see this.

(Word verification: Cryoglin. As in, "Leyendas Macabras De La Colonia made me emit cryoglin from every pore")

houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

I, too, am very sorry about that.

And here I thought to myself: "Well, Denis, you like the Campeones Justicieros movies, and look, it's even got subtitles, so how bad could this be?". I think the technical term for this way of thinking is "legendary stupidity".