(Santo vs. la Hija de Frankenstein)
Director – Miguel M. Delgado, Screenplay – Fernando Oses, Producers – Santo & Guillermo Calderon Stell, Photography – Raul Martinez Solares, Music – Gustavo C. Carrion. Production Company – Cinematografica Calderon S.A..
Santo (Himself), Gina Romand (Dr Freda Frankenstein), Ariel (Norma), Sonia Fuentes (Elsa), Roberto Canedo (Dr Yanco), Gerardo Zepeda (Ursus/Truxon), Carlos Suarez (One-Eyed), Carlos Agosti (Don Elias)
Dr Frankenstein’s daughter Freda has remained alive for over a hundred years thanks to a rejuvenation serum she has devised. She has used the serum to make a group of aging men young again and keeps them at her bidding. She is also conducting experiments mixing human and gorilla blood and has created a hybrid monster Ursus. However, the rejuvenation serum is no longer having the effect it used to on her and she realises her only hope is to use the superhuman blood of the masked wrestler Santo. To lure Santo, she has her men abduct Santo’s girlfriend Norma. Santo and Norma’s sister Elsa set out to rescue her but Freda and her men are waiting to capture him.
Mexico has a tradition of lucha libre wrestling in which the wrestlers appear in the ring with their face hidden behind masks. The most famous of these was El Santo (The Saint in English), more commonly just Santo – or to give him his birth name Rodolfo Guzman Huerta (1917-82). After great success in the ring, Santo developed a cinematic career in the late 1950s and was soon transformed into a screen superhero, playing himself and placing his masked brawn up against various criminals and fantastical nemeses. He appeared in 52 films between 1958 and 1982 (see below for a listing of these) and both his son and grandson went on to make their own films, not to mention spawned an industry of copycat wrestling superheroes such as Neutron, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras and Superzan.
Santo had met the Frankenstein monster before this in Santo and Blue Demon Meets the Monsters (1969) and subsequently Frankenstein himself in Invasion of the Dead (1972) and Santo and Blue Demon vs Dr Frankenstein (1973), although there is no indication that any of these are sequels to each other. Frankenstein’s daughter was popular around this period, also having appeared in the B movie Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958), which was disappointingly only about Frankenstein creating a female monster. Nor did she appear Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966), which was about Frankenstein’s grand-daughter played by Nada Onyx, although the real article was present in Lady Frankenstein (1971) starring Sara Bay.
Santo vs Frankenstein’s Daughter is one of the more enjoyable among the usually cheap and indifferently made Santo films. Frankenstein’s daughter (given an entertainingly mad airing by Gina Romand) has her fingers in a variety of madcap schemes, including preserving her own life (it is implied since the time of her father over a century ago) and using the serum to rejuvenate a group of old men and turn them into willing slaves. In between this, she has created a hybrid monster with a mix of gorilla and human blood, which invariably gets loose and Santo must fight. At one point, she hypnotises Santo’s girlfriend (Ariel) and gives her orders to gouge out Santo’s eye. She is seen using electricity on her creature in one scene. Although oddly in all of this, she never engages in any of her father’s experiments in resurrecting the dead.
Frankenstein’s daughter’s scheme involves harvesting Santo’s blood to extend the effectiveness of her waning rejuvenation serum where it is seen that he is of such superhuman capability that his blood is superior to ordinary blood. In all of the other films of the series, Santo was portrayed as just a muscular man with a penchant for superherodom but this film actually states that he is physically superior to the average person and his blood has the power to regenerate. Interestingly, this is also the only film in which Santo is unmasked – albeit with Gina Romand removing the mask from the imprisoned Santo while his back remains turned to the camera.
The exploits never get as colourful as they do in the Universal and Hammer Frankenstein films. The plot mostly seems to consist of running around between Frankenstein’s daughter’s cave laboratory, the nearby town, graveyard and the woods. Still it makes for an entertainingly vigorous mix.
The other Santo films (all being genre films unless stated) are:- The Evil Brain/Santo vs the Evil Brain (1958), The Infernal Men (1958), Santo vs the Zombies/Invasion of the Zombies (1961), Santo vs the King of Crime (non-genre, 1961), Santo in the Hotel of Death (1961), Santo vs the Diabolical Brain (1962), Santo vs the Vampire Women/Samson vs. the Vampire Women (1962), Santo in the Wax Museum (1963), Santo vs the Strangler (1963), Santo vs the Ghost of the Strangler (1963), a cameo appearance in Blue Demon vs Satanic Power (1964), Santo in the Attack of the Witches/The Witches Attack (1964), The Diabolical Axe (1964), Santo in Grave Robbers (1965), Baron Brakola (1965), Santo and the Villains of the Ring (non-genre, 1966), Operation 67 (1966), Santo in the Treasure of Moctezuma (1967), Santo vs the Martians (1967), Santo and the Treasure of Dracula (1968), Santo vs Capulia (1968), Santo vs the Headhunters (1969), Santo Faces Death/Santo vs the Mafia Killers (non-genre, 1969), The Mummies of Guanjuato (1970), Santo and Blue Demon vs the Monsters (1970), Santo and Blue Demon in the World of the Dead (1970), Santo and the Vengeance of the Vampire Women (1970), Santo vs Blue Demon in Atlantis (1970), Santo vs the Terror Riders (1970), Santo vs the Mafia of Vice (1970), Santo in the Vengeance of the Mummy (1970), The Royal Eagle (1971), Santo in “Killers from Other Worlds” (1971), Santo in the Mystery of the Black Pearl (1971), Suicide Mission (non-genre, 1971), Santo and Blue Demon vs Dracula and the Wolfman (1972), Santo vs the Kidnappers (1972), Santo vs Black Magic (1972), The Beasts of Terror (1972), Santo vs the She-Wolves (1972), Anonymous Death Threat (non-genre, 1972), Santo and Blue Demon vs Dr Frankenstein (1973), Santo vs Dr Death/Santo Strikes Again (1973), Santo in the Mystery of the Black Pearl (1974), Santo in the Revenge of the Crying Woman (1974), Santo in Black Gold (1975), The Bermuda Mystery (1977), Santo at the Border of Terror (1979), Santo vs the TV Killer (1981), a cameo appearance in Chanoc and Son of Santo vs the Vampire Killers (1981), The Fist of Death (1982) and Fury of the Karate Killers (1982). Son of Santo has also appeared in five films. (An excellent article detailing each of the films can be found here at (Re)search My Trash).
Clip from the film here