CALGARY, Alberta – There are numerous lists of all-time bad movies. My specialty is science fiction and this genre includes classics like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Robot Monster that are so very bad they’re good. Others, like Night of the Lepus, wherein the world is imperiled by giant bunny rabbits, were simply ridiculous. In today’s world of elaborate computer-generated special effects, science fiction movies from the 50’s and 60’s usually come across as laughably crude. With the exception of a few major studio movies like Forbidden Planet and This Island Earth, most had a special effects budget of $1.98 and the use of a surplus World War II diving helmet and a gorilla suit in Robot Monster could be forgiven.
But let me tell you about Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy. The title alone tells you that it is a must-see movie. It had everything. Made in Mexico. Bad dubbing from Spanish to English. Quasi-Chinese Fu Manchu villain, The Black Dragon, who inexplicably is identified as Prince Fujiyata, a Japanese name. Noble heroines (Lorena Venus and Golden Rubi) and their bumbling police detective boyfriends. Brilliant but naïve scientists. Nefarious henchmen who kill with a blowgun. Large-breasted women wrestlers (las luchadoras) who against all odds valiantly defeat the villain’s small-breasted kung fu henchwomen. Oh, and best of all, a mummy who could turn into a tarantula or a bat, a la Dracula.
Then we get to Mars Needs Women. It starred Tommy Kirk, a former Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show and who acted in several Disney movies. It also had Yvonne Craig who went on to be Batgirl in the 60’s Batman TV show. The premise is that Martians are dying out because only males are being born and they need fertile Earth females to save their civilization. The Martians wanted to ask for volunteers but wound up kidnapping a bunch of Earth women. It’s a terrible movie that has no redeeming qualities like the Wrestling Women. I wonder how many kids were sucked in by the title.
P. S. Ever watch one of those jungle explorer movies where the safari gets to a decrepit-looking rope and wooden plank suspension bridge over a bottomless chasm? The intrepid bwana bravely walks out onto the bridge by himself and stomps on a few boards to see if it’s safe. He signals it’s OK and then everyone starts across. Since it will support one person then obviously it will support dozens. Right?