This week marks the otherwise unsung 50th anniversary of the absolutely terrible film Las luchadoras vs el robot asesino, or Wrestling Women versus the Robot Assassin. I know I have to finish Idiocracy, but I wanted to pause to share this with you here on its anniversary. It’s a Mexican B-movie from 1969, it has an AI of sorts, and it is brain-explodingly bad with a handful of simple, evil interfaces to review.
Release Date: 9 January 1969 (USA)
The mad scientist Dr. Orlak has created a robot assassin, which he programs to punch through cheaply constructed set walls and capture scientists to enact his nefarious world domination plan.
Gaby, a popular luchadora, is visiting her scientist uncle when the assassin breaks into his home and knocks the two of them out and kidnaps the uncle.
In his laboratory, Dr. Orlak demands that the kidnapped scientists help him build the “trivium bracelet,” which turns the wearer into a mindless, obedient automaton, that can be controlled by a handheld wireless device. (Note that “trivium” is YouTube’s auto-translation of the spoken Spanish to English, so may completely wrong. If you know the correct term, please comment.)
Orlak’s plan is apparently to manufacture these at scale to enslave the world, which is stupid for all the reasons that it is stupid. Still, Gaby’s uncle refuses to help, and is killed as an example to the others. The body is found on the outskirts of town. Distraught, Gaby, along with her detective boyfriend Arturo, her luchadora friend Gemma, and Arturo’s assistant Chava, follows clues and tracks the assassin down.
The scoobies find Orlak’s lab, where a henchman slaps a bracelet on Gemma and Orlak demonstrates its power to the others. Then, in a plodding burst of action, Gaby…
- Karate chops a henchman
- Snatches the bracelet off of the robot
- Pulls Gemma from out of the path of a henchman’s gun (undeterred, he fires anyway, scaring one of the kidnapped scientists into a prop that explodes and kills him)
- Removes Gemma’s bracelet
The robot, whose impulses were…held in check by the bracelet (? maybe?…) bear hugs the nearest available scientist. (Wait. What? Didn’t the robot kidnap the scientists to make the bracelet? What was controlling it before? Was this plot randomly generated?)
A nearby henchman tries to…save the scientist? Kill the scientist? Punch around the scientist at the robot? Something. It’s hard to tell and exhausting trying to figure it out.
Next, Arturo punches Orlak, Chava punches a henchman, and the robot hugs the scientist to death. Gaby kicks the remote control, and this causes the robot (who had not been controlled by this device for the entirety of the movie and is pointedly no longer wearing the bracelet that the remote control affects) to explode in a shower of sparks. The various explosions cause the laboratory to, in turn, explode.
The next day, in the somehow-rebuilt laboratory, Orlak frees a strange feral “zombie” creature named Carfax (I am not kidding) from his basement and instructs him to kidnap Bethe, another luchadora we had not heard about until now. Carfax enters her home, and, because she is either a very deep sleeper or conked out on valium and booze, he is able to roughly hoist her out of there without disturbing her sleep one. little. bit.
Back at the lab, Orlak uses science! to transfer Carfax’ strength to Berthe’s body and snap a trivium bracelet on her. He has a (…new? rebuilt? not really destroyed in the exploring laboratory?) remote control. He renames Berthe to Black Electra and somehow arranges for her to fight Gaby in the ring.
Orlak sits in the audience in a disguise that would make Clark Kent proud, and controls Black Electra with his remote. She nearly defeats Gaby, but then Gemma jumps in the ring to help. While in a headlock, Gemma shouts a warning to Arturo and Chava, who identify Orlak in the audience and chase him. Gaby rouses and rejoins the fight with Electra, but Electra overcomes them and runs to join Orlak. Arturo chases them up into a catwalk high above the ring. There’s a catwalk fight with an angry, angry extradiegetic trumpet blaring throughout, so you know it’s tense. Chava shoots the remote out of Orlak’s hands, and Electra falls to her death on the ring. Orlak throws himself—or maybe just trips, it’s hard to say for sure—behind her, to his death.
Where to watch this masterpiece
Nobody bothered to reinstate the copyright on this thing, so it’s public domain and you can watch it on YouTube. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you can use the auto-translated closed captions. These translations are awful, but don’t worry. I’m not certain that, if they were perfect, this movie would make much more sense.
Note that the conversion has some very weird transfer (?) and stabilization (?) artifacting, and the background wobbles around a lot, especially during fast action scenes, and the effect is like that stamp you licked was not for postage, and just now kicking in. Someone should figure out how to replicate this effect in modern film because it is tripping balls intense.
But we have interfaces to discuss and miles to go before we sleep, so microdose yourselves and let’s continue.