Santo vs. the Evil Brain

(Santo contra Cerebro del Mal)
Joselito Rodríguez | Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Classic

1961 | 73 minutes | Mexico, Cuba

In this cult classic from El Santo's saga, an undercover police officer is kidnapped by Dr. Campos who brainwashes him into becoming a member of his gang.



This newly restored Cuban-Mexican horror-action cult classic opens with three gangsters cornering El Santo in a deserted alley and knocking him out. He is then taken to the laboratory of a crazed Doctor Campos and turned into a docile servant through a series of injections and electric shocks. Filming was done in late '50s pre-Revolution Cuba and ended just the day before Fidel Castro entered Havana, and declared the victory of the revolution, forcing the filmmakers to flee prematurely (with the unprocessed 35mm negative smuggled inside a coffin).

Santo vs. the Evil Brain marks the cinematic debut of El Santo (Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta) and solidified his status as Mexico's quintessential masked luchador through a whole network of pop culture spinoffs, including a comic book series and, most notably, the 52 wrestling-themed films that cemented his legend on the silver screen. His acting career spanned four decades, dazzling audiences from all around the world with his skills and talent. He is considered to be one of Mexico's most legendary sporting figures and is said to have popularized professional wrestling in Mexico just as Rikidōzan did in Japan.

El Santo was buried wearing his silver mask, in one of the biggest funerals in Mexico. On 23 September 2016, to honor the 99th birthday of El Santo, Google ran a special El Santo Google daily doodle. A skeletal version of El Santo, complete with a silver mask and cape, appears briefly in the Pixar film Coco as a guest at a party in the Land of the Dead, with actress María Félix as his date.

Praised by Tarantino and B-cult movie lovers, Pragda’s El Santo film collection also includes Santo vs. the Riders of Terror (René Cardona, 1970) and Santo vs. the Infernal Men (Joselito Rodríguez, 1961), both in their newly restored versions. The films are part of The Permanencia Voluntaria Archives, whose main objective is to rescue, preserve, and restore the popular cinema of Mexico's cinematographic history.

Main credits

Refn, Nicolas Winding (film producer)
Zambrano, Enrique J. (screenwriter)
Zambrano, Enrique J. (film director)
Zambrano, Enrique J. (actor)
Osés, Fernando (screenwriter)
Rodríguez, Joselito (film director)
Guzmán Huerta, Rodolfo (actor)
Cordero, Joaquin (actor)
Suárez, Norma (actor)

Other credits

Cinematography, Carlos Nájera; editing, Jesús Echeverria; music, Salvador Espinosa.

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Berlinale World Forum

DIRECTOR: Joselito Rodríguez


YEAR: 1961

GENRE: Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure, Classic


COLOR / B&W: Black and white

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adult



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