Dr. Satan and the Black Magic – Mexico, 1968

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Doctor Satan and the Black Magic (Doctor Satan y la Magia Negra) is a 1968 Mexican horror feature film directed by Rogelio A. González (Ship of Monsters) and starring Joaquin Cordero (Doctor Satan; The Hell of Frankenstein; The Terrible Giant of the Snow), Sonia Furió and Noe Murayama (Blue Demon Versus the Infernal Brains).

The film is a sequel to Doctor Satan (1966) and retains the character and actor of the titular physician but changes director and transfers from black and white to colour.

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Deep in the bowels of Hell, the notorious yet suave Doctor Satan (Cordero) is being given a thorough dressing-down by his employer, Lucifer. He is given one last chance to avoid Earthly punishment by doing his master’s bidding; he must return to Earth and steal the evil sorcerer, Lei Yin’s (Murayama) secret of turning base metals into gold. Preferring action and violence to an eternity in Purgatory, the doctor accepts.

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Back on the Earth’s crust we meet Lei Yin, a somewhat Fu Manchu-like character who, alongside having a brilliant scientific mind, also happens to be a vampire of the old school changing-into-a-bat variety. Yin has come into possession of ‘the Sorenson Formula’ (by virtue of murdering Doctor Sorenson), which grants him alchemy via the use of an elaborate set-up involving a large ray-gun. Like any arch-villain worth his weight in recently transformed gold, he is always accompanied by his minions played by Aurora Clavel (The Wild Bunch) and Nathanael León (Hellish Spiders; Night of the Bloody Apes; many Santo films).

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Meanwhile, Doctor Satan is busy interviewing young ladies in his office, the lucky candidates rewarded by being transformed into super-strong go-go zombies, doomed to do whatever the good doctor decides. In a thoughtful touch, he dubs them Medusa (Furió) and Erata (Luz Maria Aguilar) and they sleep alongside him in coffins in his crypt. Whilst Doctor Satan and his slaves attempt to track down Lei Yin, the evil mastermind is attempting to relocate to Hong Kong but is rumbled by the police; luckily for him, his able assistant uses her desk-cum-tank the riddle to interferers with bullet-holes.

An early attempt to slay Yin is foiled when the doctor realises his bullets are useless and he can only kill him via the usual stake to the heart. Now aware of his pursuers, Yin makes the first of his regular transformations into a bat, a metamorphosis which only confirms moviesandmania’s regular assertion that the manufacture of realistic fake flying mammals will forever remain out of Man’s reach.

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In true Satanik/Diabolik fashion, it now becomes a battle of wits, with the permanently fog-greeted Lin maniacally laughing, as Dr Satan and his zombladies chase him in a red sports car, eager to please Lucifer. The doctor’s quick wits shift the advantage, as do Lin’s futile attempts to suck the blood of the zombies (“Ugh, zombies! Disgusting!”) but when The Infernal One checks in, will the doctor have succeeded in sparing his own life from an eternity in limbo?

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Doctor Satan was considered a strong enough character to bring back for another crack at box office success, the advent of colour giving a whole host of new opportunities to exploit one of the more bizarre genre mash-ups from Mexico. The titular character is something of a novelty in himself, following in the footsteps of the likes of Italian characters Satanik and Kriminal but with an even closer bond to evil and Hell itself. Handsome and debonair, Cordero is a difficult villain/hero to either despise or root for, a little bland in himself and only of any real interest at all due to his winsome companions. Murayama, however, clearly relishes his role, cackling and cape wafting like it’s going out of fashion, equally diabolical when in his laboratory of bubbling vials or transforming into a bat in a flash of magnesium light.

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The film is of the shaky sets kind but enjoyably so, the lurid, psychedelic colours redolent of some of the more trippy of Coffin Joe’s films, whilst retaining a cartoon innocence and throw-the-kitchen-sink-at-it fireworks mentality.

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Somehow, the film conspires to drag its heels on occasion, the pay-off being that when the action does hit, it’s with kaleidoscopic fervor, both visually and aurally, the blips of the lab combining with berserk electronic barrages to assault the senses.

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Zombies, vampires, coffins, a mad scientist and his lab, bats, a stunning appearance by the Devil himself and fatal femmes and foes, this is Mexican fantasy horror at its most enjoyable, as you’d expect from the director of the jaw-dropping Ship of Monsters.

Daz Lawrence, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

” … this priceless camp thriller from Mexico comes complete with a vampire, rubber bats, zombie women in tight sweaters, and a cameo by a Doré-like Prince of Darkness. It’s an epic battle between sorcerers.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia

Buy: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“What stood out for me were the sound effects, especially in Dr Satan’s Laboratory and Yei Lin’s ray gun device. These sounds are a psychedelic smorgasboard of freakin’ weirdness… The two buxom zombie girls are great and look more like zombie go-go dancers. This could only be a product of the 1960’s and is recommended to any fans of Mexican horror movies.” Psychotic Cinema

 

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