Special thanks to Balladeer’s Blog’s Official Movie Hostess, the beautiful Casey James, as she helps present another look at a bad or weird superhero film. This time around the subject is the 1968 Mexican film Batwoman (La Mujer Murcielago).
For starters this should NOT be confused with the Jerry Warren film The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman, but often is because Warren was the stateside distributor for plenty of Mexican films in the 50s and 60s. This movie is purely a Luchadora film with Batwoman being a wrestler as well as a seasoned crime fighter.
It’s not quite fair to call this a “bad” film, but it is a bit of a weird one. In my view it’s much tighter and more entertaining than most of the El Santo movies from Mexico. And I’m not just saying that because of how incredibly sexy the star Maura Monti is. She has an arresting (see what I did there) figure that’s perfect for her version of the Batwoman outfit: a bikini, boots, mask and cape.
Like the Turkish movie Three Dev Adam, which features Spider-Man, Captain America and El Santo, this little honey did not pay for character rights but slipped under the radar long ago thanks to its south-of-the- border origins. Maura Monti has a certain screen presence that was lacking in other Luchadora flicks like Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy. And this movie is nowhere near the embarrassment that Halle Berry’s Catwoman was.
Acapulco is the gorgeous setting for this fun, campy movie. The beachside locale is exploited in a way that makes it kind of a “Batwoman Meets Baywatch” affair with bits of Raquel Welch’s movie Fathom thrown in. Our heroine is called in by international authorities to look into the abduction of multiple wrestlers who eventually wash ashore dead and with their pineal glands removed.
A mad scientist with the sinister name Dr Eric Williams (?) is the villain behind it all and is operating out of a yacht called Reptilicus. He and his incredibly short but otherwise normal-looking assistant Igor arrange for the kidnapping of wrestlers because they are supposedly “the perfect athletes” and thus the best human pineal gland donors. The mad doctor then injects the glands into fish in his aquarium.
The end result of these bizarre experiments is a walking fish-man (Uh. Sure. Makes sense. Yeah.) that can’t help but put viewers in mind of both The Creature from the Black Lagoon AND the amphibious monster from the Mexican horror film Swamp of Lost Monsters, previously reviewed here at Balladeer’s Blog. Needless to say Batwoman takes down all of the bad guys and the mad scientist’s creation.
Maura Monti handles the action scenes in a very capable manner. She’s believable enough (for a superhero/ Mexican wrestler flick that is) whether she’s taking down thugs, schooling sister Luchadoras on the wrestling mats or behind the wheel in a terrific car-chase around scenic Acapulco. This chase scene is at least as competently choreographed as the ones in the 1960s James Bond films.
The Creature Feature-level monster, the wrestling angle and the regulation oddball song in a Mexican Wrestling Film are the main reasons the movie Batwoman is so frequently found listed in the “so bad it’s good” category. Maura Monti herself is spectacular in all kinds of ways and bears no blame for this film’s poor reputation.
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