DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Aztec Mummy Collection
Aztec Mummy Collection
BCI Eclipse // Unrated // December 26, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted November 21, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movies:

When one thinks of horror movies and mummies, it's easy to automatically think of Boris Karloff and his output for Universal Studios or maybe even Christopher Lee and the film he did for Hammer but in Mexico, things are a little different. The mummies that populate their horror films aren't of Egyptian descent like the Universal or Hammer films but are instead based on Aztec legends and regional folk tales that are unique to their country. As such, Mexican mummy movies are a completely different animal than their English or American counterparts (and the less said about the Italian Dawn Of The Mummy, also based on Egyptian ideas, the better).

BCI Eclipse follows up their recent Mexican horror movie offerings of Night Of The Bloody Apes/Curse Of The Doll People and Cemetery Of Terror/The Grave Robbers with a boxed set compiling the three original Mexican mummy movies aptly titled The Aztec Mummy Collection.

The Aztec Mummy (La Momia Azteca) - 1957:

In the first film, Ramon Gay plays Dr. Eduardo Almada, a scientist who decides to hypnotize his foxy fiancé, Flora (Rosa Arenas), when he finds out that in a past life she was an Aztecan princess who, after being caught fooling around with a man from the warrior class named Popoca (Angel Di Stefani), was executed. After she was killed, she and the warrior who she had her fling with, were buried together but not before the warrior was mummified. The logic behind this was that he had to remain alive forever to protect her and to hide the secret location of some valuable treasure.

After the hypnosis, Flora wakes up and finds that she's had a revelation of sorts – she now knows where the burial place of the princess and the mummy is and so she takes Eduardo, his colleague Pinacate (Crox Alvarado) and her father (Jorge Mondragón) to the very spot. The uncover the tomb and remove the breast place that hangs around Popoca's neck, not realizing that by doing so they've awakened him from his slumber. If a resurrected mummy weren't enough to deal with, a competing doctor named Krupp (Luis Aceves Castaneda) is running around in a costume calling himself The Bat and trying to swipe the ancient treasure for himself.

The first film in the series, thought to be lost until recently, is actually a fairly atmospheric little film. The scenes that take place in and around the burial ground have some nice atmosphere and the mummy gets a fair bit of screen time in this entry (something that we can't say about the two sequels, unfortunately). The direction is decent and the story moves along at a good pace, with the hypnosis scene standing out as particularly well done. The effects aren't top notch even by the standards of the era but they do add some charm to the picture, as does the acting which can be a bit on the hammy side but which works well in the context of the film.

The Curse Of The Aztec Mummy (La Maldicion De La Momia Azteca) - 1957:

Picking up where the first film left off (and using a fair bit of footage from the first film to fill us in and pad out the running time by way of some flashbacks to get us up to speed), the second movie begins with The Bat busting out of his prison transport and making a break for it – no jail can hold him when he's got Aztec gold fever! He tracks down the members of the gang that helped him out the first time around and before you know it they're back on the trail of Flora, knowing that if they kidnap her, which they do, that she'll either spill the whereabouts the treasure to them or send her fiancé, Dr. Almada, running to save her. Either way, it's a win-win for them.

The Bat hypnotizes poor Flora and ascertains the location of the treasure that he's after but when he shows up to swipe it, he accidentally wakes up Popoca the Aztec mummy who goes on the rampage once again! Dr. Almada shows up at The Bat's hideout to save his beloved but once he gets there they force him to translate the arcane inscriptions on the treasure that they stole. What The Bat and his cronies didn't count on is the surprise appearance of Angel, a masked wrestler who looks a fair bit like Santo, who arrives just in time to save the day thanks to Almada's little brother, who happens to be good buddies with the masked avenger.

While the reliance on inserts from the first movie in the beginning of the film is a little annoying, once this movie picks up it's a blast. Throwing in a masked wrestler always makes for a good time and seeing Angel square off against the bad buys is not only unexpected but also a whole lot of fun. Somehow the effects manage to be even more low rent in this second film than they were in the first movie and the acting is just as hammy, but it works fairly well and the movie plays more like an adventure story than as a horror film.

BCI has included the original Spanish language version and on the opposite side of this flipper disc, the English dubbed version of the film as well.

The Robot Versus The Aztec Mummy (La Momia Azteca Contra El Robot Humano) - 1958:

The third and final film also uses inserts not only from the first movie in the trilogy but from the second one as well – again, presumably this was to get new viewers up to speed on what had happened previously and possibly to pad out the fairly short running time of the film to something closer to feature length. While The Bat was presumed finished at the end of the last film, Dr. Almada starts to think that maybe they spoke too soon – and Almada's suspicions soon prove to be correct when it turns out that The Bat has used his evil mind to construct a giant metal robot with a human brain that he hopes to use to destroy Popoca the Aztec mummy, who has been hanging out at a nearby cemetery since the events in the last movie, once and for all in hopes of owning his treasure. He also hypnotizes poor Flora again, enlisting her aid in helping him find the cemetery

This third film is a mixed bag, the main problem with it being that roughly half the film is made up of 'flashback' material (read: inserts from the earlier entries) and only thirty-five minutes or so of the movie is actually new material. Once we get moving and the robot plot gets underway the film is a kick but it sure takes a while to get there. Speaking of the robot, he's got to be one of the worst looking robots ever made – he's got a bucket with a window cut into it and light bulbs sticking out of it for a head and his body looks like it was made out of metal garbage cans. Seeing this 'robot' cruising around trying to do The Bat's evil bidding does make for some quality entertainment. The opening credits for the film are also pretty interesting, though the acting is even hammier here than it was in the first two films with The Bat going completely over the top pretty much any time he's on screen.

BCI has included the original Spanish language version and on the opposite side of this flipper disc, the English dubbed version of the film as well.

Note: This set does not include the two knock off films, Rene Cardona's Wrestling Women Versus The Aztec Mummy from 1964 or Jerry Warren's Attack Of The Mayan Mummy (the later of which uses inserts taken from the first film in this trilogy) also from 1964. While it would have been nice to see them here for the sake of completion, they don't really belong to the trilogy the way that the three official entries do so their omission is completely understandable.

Video:

Each of the movies in this set was presumably meant to be seen fullframe, which is how they are presented here, as there are no obvious problems with cropping or compromising of the image to be scene. The first film, the most elusive of the bunch until now, looks the worst of the bunch but it's perfectly watchable. The dark scenes are a little too murky and there are moments where some moderate print-damage surfaces as does some heavy grain but again, you won't have any problems following anything. The other two movies, in either their Spanish or in their English versions, look noticeably better with the Spanish versions having the edge in terms of clarity and detail. Contrast levels look good and while some mild print damage and grain can be scene, it's nothing to get too worked up about – the movies look fine, though each one shows combing indicating that these transfers are not flagged for progressive scan playback (something BCI really does need to get better at).

Sound:

Each of the three movies in this set contains its original Spanish language track, and the two later films contain the optional English track on the opposite side of their respective discs – each track is presented in Dolby Digital Mono and optional English subtitles have been provided for the three Spanish tracks. In terms of quality, the first film, which is Spanish language only, sounds a little rough in that there's some audible hiss in the background of the movie. As far as the two later movies go, both tracks sound quite nice with the Spanish tracks sounding just a little bit cleaner than their English dubbed counterparts.

Extras:

While this set isn't exactly stacked with extra features, there are a few interesting treats to be found in here for fans of Mexican horror movies. On the first disc you'll find a nice still gallery of promotional artwork and still photographs from all three of the films in this set. Other than that, the only digital supplements come in the form of menus and chapter stops for the three features.

Inside the packaging is an excellent eight page full color booklet featuring a great essay from David Wilt who does a great job of explaining the cultural and cinematic significance of the three movies in this set and which also goes into a fair bit of detail on other Mexican mummy films that might be of interest to fans. The booklet is illustrated with some excellent full color pictures from various one sheets and advertising pieces. Each of the three DVDs sits inside its own slim case, which contains its respective theatrical poster as cover art. The three discs in turn fit inside an attractive case that's made up to look like a tomb.

Final Thoughts:

The Aztec Mummy Collection doesn't represent the best of the Mexican horror movies made in the fifties and sixties, but it does offer up a trio of creative, culturally unique and fun horror films in a reasonably priced and fairly attractive package. The films aren't classics but they make for great entertainment regardless and this set comes recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

Popular Reviews
1. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Turkey Day Collection
2. Batman The Complete TV Series Limited Edition Blu-ray
3. The Bubble aka Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth (3-D)
4. The Jeffersons - The Complete Series: The Dee-Luxe Edition
5. Daniel Boone - The Complete Series: The Fiftieth Anniversary
6. The Killer Elite (1975)
7. Seven Wonders of the World
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
9. White Christmas: Diamond Anniversary Edition
10. Drunk History Seasons 1 and 2


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use