El Hijo del Santo en Frontera sin Ley

[The Son of Santo in "Lawless Border"]

(Prods. Geminis--Cin. RA, 1983?) Prod/Dir/Scr Adapt: Rafael Pérez Grovas; Story: Carlos Suárez, Alfredo Uribe; Photo: Alfredo Uribe; Music Dir: Ricardo Carrión; Assoc Prod: Aaron Rodríguez, Alfredo Uribe; Prod Mgr: Fernando Uribe; Asst Dir: Carlos Durán; Film Ed: Alfredo Jacome; Camera Op: Guillermo Bravo; Makeup: Estela Sánchez; Sound Op: Rogelio Pichardo; Re-recording: Ricardo Saldívar; Union: STIC

Cast: El Hijo del Santo aka Marcos Vargas (himself/Marcos Vargas), Mil Máscaras (himself), Carmen del Valle (Jacinta), Carlos Suárez (Carlitos), Marcko de Carlo (Johnny), Eleazar García "Chelelo" (Father José Cruz), Los Dorados de Villa, Nelson Velázquez (Jorge), Mariachi Bengala, Los Regiomontaños, Sarita Gómez (Peque), Raúl Salcedo Cascarita" (Cascarita), Pedro Rodríguez "El Fufurufo" (Fufurufo), Iris DeCarlo (Rosa), Johnny Barahona, José Luis Moran, Ismael Ramírez, César Gómez, Baltazar Ramos, Jorge Gutiérrez; boys: Carlos Suárez, Alejandro Suárez, Israel Ramos; wrestlers: Kun-Fu, Naurkalif, Bello David, Centurion Negro, Playboy Buddy Rose, Charles Bronson Mexicano, Hara-Kiry, Halcón D, El Brillante, Cori Medina

After sharing the screen in his first movie with comic book character "Chanoc," El Hijo del Santo was teamed with another legendary figure in his second film: wrestler Mil Máscaras. Mil, El Santo, and Blue Demon constituted the "big three" of superhero-wrestlers in Mexican cinema.

Mil Máscaras began his professional wrestling career in the mid-1960s. In 1966, he was hired by Luis Enrique Vergara to replace Santo and Blue Demon as the star of the producer's wrestling films. After four movies in 1966-1968, including two with Hollywood horror star John Carradine, Mil appeared in just over a dozen additional movies over the next 22 years, most with multi-wrestler casts. The Mummies of Guanajuato (1970) and Mystery in Bermuda (1977) starred El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Máscaras, for example.

Mil also starred in two of the three "Champions of Justice" films alongside Blue Demon and lesser-known masked wrestlers like Tinieblas and El Rayo de Jalisco, and was teamed up with Superzán in The Vampires of Coyoacán (1973). Mil Máscaras himself, i.e. "Aaron Rodríguez," was an associate producer of "Lawless Border", and also co-produced his final two movies, The Truth About Professional Wrestling (1988) and The Deadly Wrestling Hold (1990).

In El Hijo del Santo in "Lawless Border", Mil Máscaras's scenes are set in the USA, where he was a popular wrestler in real life (he was also very well-known in Japan, having first appeared there in 1971). Although El Hijo del Santo was in the early stages of his professional career when this movie was made, he too would later wrestle in the USA and Japan. In the scenes they share together, Mil's long hours in the weight room are obvious--El Hijo del Santo would bulk up as time went by, but Mil Máscaras has the distinction of being one of the most muscular wrestlers in the business, and looks huge compared to El Hijo (who, in this movie, displays a predilection for athletic, martial arts-style fighting).

Another familiar face in "Lawless Border" is Eleazar García "Chelelo." Chelelo, a genial norteño comic most comfortable in rancheras and pictures with rural settings, was Antonio Aguilar's sidekick many times and also worked frequently with Gerardo Reyes, El Santo's co-star in Santo on the Border of Terror and Santo vs. the Television Killer. As "Father José Cruz," the town priest in "Lawless Border," Chelelo demonstrates another facet of his talent--in a sequence which has to be seen to be believed, he performs a humorous rendition of the song "Pistol Packin' Mama."

"Lawless Border" was shot in Reynosa, in the state of Tamaulipas. Sources indicate the film went into production in May 1983-- considering that the crew and even some of the cast are as that of Chanoc and El Hijo del Santo vs. the Killer Vampires, allegedly made in 1981, this 1983 date may seem a little suspicious. El Hijo del Santo, "Marcos Vargas" (his alter ego), Carlos Suárez and Nelson Velázquez look much the same in both movies, which may or may not prove anything. It's possible the two films were shot two years apart, as references indicate, or that both were shot in 1981 or 1983!

Near U.S. border, the construction of a dam has flooded the small town of Pueblo Viejo. The residents were paid for their land and relocated, but Italian-stereotype gangster Johnny (Marcko D'Carlo) and his mob --in league with the corrupt municipal president--swindled the locals, leaving them nothing. Those who resist are beaten and even killed by the crooks. Young Peque (played by Sarita Gómez, the "little blind girl" from Santa on the Border of Terror) witnesses one such murder. Jorge (Nelson Velázquez, "Chanoc" from Chanoc and El Hijo del Santo vs. the Killer Vampires) is one of the only farmers remaining who resists the Mafia and he is in hiding.

To the consternation of his manager Carlitos, El Hijo del Santo agrees to teach self-defense to the children of the town, at the request of Father José Cruz. El Hijo also promises to help defeat the criminals preying on the region. W hile he's away, his "friend" Marcos Vargas ("I don't like violence") will do his part. El Hijo takes Jorge to Los Angeles so he'll be safe. Coincidentally, also in Los Angeles, Mil Máscaras refuses to throw a match and is abducted at gunpoint by Johnny's minions, but turns the tables on the Mafioso and escapes. El Hijo del Santo and Mil Máscaras steal some incriminating papers from Johnny, so the townspeople can recover their money and land. In Mexico, Marcos, Rosa, and Jacinta are kidnaped, but Father José Cruz and the town's children come to the rescue. After a humorous battle, the thugs get the drop on the youthful attackers, but Marcos changes into El Hijo del Santo to finish off the kidnapers. Back in LA, Mil Máscaras and Jorge capture Johnny, wrapping up the loose ends.

One of the biggest differences between Chanoc and El Hijo del Santo vs. the Killer Vampires and "Lawless Border" is the character of El Hijo del Santo, who had practically no dialogue in the first movie but displays much more personality in the second film. "Marcos Vargas" has correspondingly less footage, but does get to kiss Carmen del Valle in one scene. The production values are adequate (but no time for retakes-- notice Marcos losing the cap of a tequila bottle in one scene!) and the presence of Mil Máscaras adds an extra point of interest.

Posted 9 July 2018 by dwilt@ umd.edu, html errors corrected 9 Sept 2021 é