La Invasión de los muertos

[Invasion of the Dead]

(Productor Filmica Re-Al/Prods. Nova, 1971)

Prod: René Cardona Jr., Enrique Rosas G.; Director/Scr: René Cardona Sr; Story: René Cardona Jr.; Photo: José Ortiz Ramos; Music: Raúl Lavista; Prod Chief: Fidel Pizarro; Asst Dir: Winfield Sánchez; Film Ed: Alfredo Rosas Priego; Art Dir: Alberto de Guevara; Decor: Carlos Arjona; Lighting: Fernando Calvillo; Camera Op: Manuel González; Makeup: Ana Ma. Soriano; Sound Op: Manuel Topete; Sound Ed: Abraham Cruz; Re-rec: Salvador Topete; Union: STPC

CAST: Zovek (himself), Blue Demon (himself), Christa Linder (Erika), Raúl Ramírez (Professor Bruno Volpi), Carlos Cardán (rancher), Polo Ortín (Blue Demon's ass't.), Angel Paniagua, Gonzalo García, Roberto Y. Palacios (cemetary watchman), Armando Acosta (police official), Ramón Menéndez (helicopter pilot), Guillermo Ayala, Eduardo Bonada, Francisco Fernández, Gerardo Zepeda ("wolfman"), René Barrera (man who found headless body)

NOTES: this film has a better reputation (in some quarters) than it deserves. While it had the potential to be a decent picture--the first Zovek movie was fairly entertaining--La invasión de los muertos is rather disjointed and not very good. Part (much?) of this can be attributed to the radical revisions required after the death of Zovek in a non-film related accident (oddly enough, García Riera says production began on the film in November 1971, yet Zovek did not die until March 1972; there is no way the movie took three months to shoot: even three weeks would be a stretch). While the Zovek sections of the movie (the majority of the film) are fairly good, the added scenes with Blue Demon and Polo Ortín are awful: mostly shot in some kind of factory (masquerading as Blue's secret crime lab, I guess), they are static and boring. People come to report odd happenings to Blue Demon (a flying saucer, a headless corpse), and he proceeds to lecture them about the historical precedents of such events! Sometimes Blue will "talk" to Zovek on the phone, to try and link up the two threads of the plot, but not even the "monsters"are the same: in the Zovek scenes, the walking dead are the revived (if slightly decayed) corpses of normal people (in one scene there must be at least 75 of these zombies chasing Zovek, a very impressive sight), while Blue Demon has to face a handful of Hollywood-style monsters (such as a wolfman, a vampire, and a burly black guy with fangs who also appeared in the first Zovek movie). At least these latter scenes have some movement, unlike the boring "lab" sequences where people just stand around and talk.

Christa and Zovek.

La invasión de los muertos begins with a pre-credits sequence in which a narrator rambles on about life in the universe, yadda yadda. The sequence concludes with a quote from the Bible (Genesis 22). Then we see Zovek, speeding down the highway on a motorcycle. A few miles ahead of him, two policemen watch a huge fireball disappear over a hill; they get out of their car to investigate. When Zovek sees the abandoned police car, he stops, hears several shots, and discovers the dead bodies of the cops. This sequence leads nowhere: what was the fireball? The real alien device (a large black globe) doesn't land until later in the picture.

A cattle rancher, pursuing a cougar that killed one of his cows, spots some odd paintings on the side of a cliff. He reports his discovery to visiting scientist Professor Volpi and his daughter Erika (Raúl Ramírez, without his usual moustache, and Christa Linder, looking good as always). They make plans to visit the site in a few days. For some reason, Erika thinks Zovek can help, and she and the Professor go to the city to see him.

A portion of Zovek's act is then shown: he's put into a strait jacket and locked in a mummy case, which is then set on fire. He escapes at the last moment. This sequence takes place on the same set and with the same cast (including Zovek's hooded assistants, among them three attractive women) as the water escape in El increíble Professor Zovek.

Intercut with the Zovek sequences are the Blue Demon scenes. A pilot reports seeing a UFO, another man says he found a headless body but it later vanished. Blue's assistant Polo Ortín makes wisecracks and mugs for the camera (Blue keeps telling him to shut up, the audience's sentiments exactly).

Zovek, the Professor, and Erika are dropped in the wilderness by a helicopter (ironic, given that in real-life Zovek died in a fall from a helicopter); they hike the rest of the way to the cliff with the paintings on it. Zovek, who learned mystic powers (like mind-reading) in Tibet, says he believes the paintings are a warning to humanity from a Tibetan lama. Sure enough, a big black sphere lands on earth and its mysterious powers cause the dead to rise from their graves during a rainstorm (one of the film's best sequences).

The zombies in La invasión de los muertos are murderous, and they also retain some of their pre-death abilities (they can fly helicopters, drive trucks, and so forth). Zovek and the others are chased around by the dead; in one scene, Zovek fights the zombies in a cavern, falls into an underground river, and swims out, narrowly avoiding being swept over a waterfall. In the Blue Demon sequences, a handful of monsters attack some soldiers. The soldiers come back as zombies and Blue Demon has to fight them and the monsters (Polo Ortín fools them by pretending to be a zombie himself).

The Professor is killed by the zombies and returns to life as one of them (a not-very surprising "shock" scene). Zovek and Erika are chased by a lot of zombies (including a zombie flying a helicopter). Finally, Zovek crashes a pickup truck into a electric-line pylon, causing the high-tension wires to fall on the black sphere (which, as we saw earlier, only comes up to Zovek's waist). It blows up real good, and the walking dead all stop walking (in fact, they fall down). However, Zovek tells Erika he's afraid the same thing will happen elsewhere on earth (a reassuring conclusion).

The Zovek part of La invasión de los muertos is more or less complete: that is to say, the Blue Demon scenes do not fill in any gaps in the plot, they only expand the running time. It's a shame the filmmakers couldn't have done a better job matching the style of the original footage, and an even greater shame that Zovek didn't live to finish the picture.


Back to the Christa Linder Page.

Review posted 21 May 2000 by D. Wilt (dw45@umail.umd.edu), new photo added 30 May.