Column: From Strange and Distant Shores: The Aztec Mummy Trilogy (Part 3)

by Orrin Grey

aztec mummy vs robotThe Aztec Mummy Trilogy Director: Rafael Portillo Cast: Ramon Gay, Rosa Arenas, Crox Alvarado, Luis Aceves Castaneda. Country: Mexico

As with the first movie, The Aztec Mummy vs. the Robot opens with an assurance of the legitimacy of past-life regression, as if that’s the aspect of the subsequent story that the audience is most likely to question the veracity of.

Unlike with The Curse of the Aztec Mummy, this movie begins five years after the events of the previous installment, though no one looks to have aged much, given that the movies were all filmed within about a year of each other. Dr. Almada and Flor are finally married, but most everything else is more-or-less the same.

Unfortunately, during the first half-hour of The Aztec Mummy vs. the Robot, we are treated to a flashback of the events of the past five years and, of course, the events of the previous two movies along with them. In these first thirty minutes, there are less than ten of new footage. About the only new thing we learn is that The Bat can apparently psychically command Flor while she’s not hypnotized and he’s nowhere near her. He plans to use this power to, once again, track down the resting place of the mummy and, through him, the Aztec treasure. (The Bat gets a gold star for perseverance.) Perhaps as an apology for all the recycled footage, in some of the rare new scenes, we get The Bat saying things like, “I order you to pick up the mind waves of the Aztec mummy,” which is a real treat.

The mummy’s resting place is in a mausoleum in the middle of an absolutely wonderful cemetery set that is probably the highlight of whole film, full of fake headstones and outdoor cobwebs and leaning crosses. It’s also where a large portion of the movie takes place.

The Bat’s only remaining henchman of any note seems to be the guy whose face got burned by acid during a scuffle with the mummy in the last movie. Really, he probably deserves a raise for his unwavering loyalty, although the film also gives him a motive of wanting revenge on the mummy for disfiguring him. He spends most of the movie wandering around with his coat collar held up in front of his face.

The gist of The Bat’s plot is to use the mind-controlled Flor to find the mummy, then use his “human robot” to destroy it. Said “human robot” looks basically like a kid’s Halloween costume of a robot. Its construction apparently necessitated the theft of both a corpse and, separately, a brain and we’re told that it is “loaded with radium.” Enough, we are assured, to “disintegrate anything.” This ability is demonstrated on a hapless cemetery caretaker, who, after one touch from the robot, runs shrieking and steaming off into the distance, presumably there to disintegrate. (Why the radium only works on contact isn’t clear.)

Dr. Almada and Pinacate are once again involved, of course, though the filmmakers seem to have largely forgotten that Pinacate was revealed to be The Angel in the last movie. While his cowardly act is mostly absent, he never puts on the mask and the only reference to it we get is when The Bat calls him by that name during one of his gloating speeches.

The best part of The Aztec Mummy vs. the Robot is a sequence in which The Bat, his deformed sidekick and the robot walk through the aforementioned cemetery on their way to the mummy’s mausoleum. It’s out-of-context greatness of the kind destined to show up in a Rob Zombie music video, and I can just imagine flipping through channels at two in the morning and catching just that scene and having to watch the rest of the movie to figure out what the heck it even was.

Unfortunately, when we get to the titular throw-down between the mummy and the robot, it’s less than awe-inspiring. Essentially, the mummy just hugs the robot until it falls apart, and then proceeds to hug The Bat and his sidekick, presumably to death, though the credits roll too abruptly to be certain.

When I sat down to watch all three Aztec Mummy movies in a row, I was expecting certain problems, but the ones I got weren’t always the ones I expected. They’re certainly weird and goofy, but weird and goofy is what you’re signing on for, especially with a movie called The Aztec Mummy vs. the Robot. In the end, the chief problem was all the recycled footage. The structure of the movies is already repetitive enough and the recycled footage makes it almost interminable. There’s basically enough material here for one long movie (or, better yet, one old-fashioned movie serial) and if that’s what we’d gotten instead, it would’ve been a lot better.

You can purchase the The Aztec Mummy Trilogy through Amazon.com