Bat Woman. 1968. Spain.
Directed by René Cardona. :-) DVD. Region 0.
I now have to share with you, gentle reader, the unfortunate news that I have recently viewed a movie which deals with a crime so unspeakable, nameless and terrifying that it could only been pulled from the pages of true life.
In this movie a troubled scientist, or “evil medic” if the subtitles are to be trusted, is murdering wrestlers so he can extract the juice from their pineal glands and use it to create a half human, half aquatic “fish man”!
Why does he do this? Well apparently, and in his own words...
“We will go to another country and make a dozen; a hundred fish-men, we will control the seas and oceans. We will create HUNDREDS!”
Luckily for us, this infernal scientist, and his assistant Igor (honest guv, I’m not making this up), has on his trail the one and only Batwoman and her special agent friend. Oh... and her new Police Inspector friend.
She certainly has that Barbara Gordon look about her and Yvonne Craig might have been proud (she may even have been prouder if she’d had got to headline a Batgirl movie herself but one look at the quality of this one and she might have Bat-run in the other Bat-direction). She has an Adam West mask/hood, a cape, yellow utility belt, boots, gloves... and hardly anything else. Yes, this plagiaristic Spanish homage to the DC character rounds out her Bat-costume with a bikini top and bottom (see my handy artists impression above). Just so she can visibly jiggle in all the right places when she’s busting crime, beating up bad guys and deep sea diving... and yes, she does a lot of Thunderball inspired swimming in this movie and yes, she is wearing her cape while she’s swimming. Quality!
Ok... so anybody who’s ever seen a Santo movie will know exactly what to expect with this one. On the plus side, at least when you cut to the pointless wrestling and gym scenes predominant in this genre of movie, the female wrestlers have more interesting curves to show off.
I can’t say much for the acting or cinematography of this unparallelled masterpiece... but I have to mention the baffling complexities of the script because, if the subtitles are correct, the screenplay is far from acceptable in even the worst movie... you will be in fits of laughter with this one.
For example, when a few of the villains try to "make a pinch" and kidnap our plucky heroine, they make their intent implicit with the brilliant line... “You’re coming with us to an isolated place!” Now this is dialogue worthy of the great Hal Hartley*, but he would have written it for a much different reaction than is intended here.
After Batwoman throws acid in the face of the aforementioned evil medic on board his private yacht (a yacht named Reptilicus), he plots a terrible revenge... and spends the rest of the movie trying to nab her so he can turn her into a female fishmate for the fish-man he’s already created... which he affectionately named Pisces (no, really... I’m not making this up!). He is frustrated in his attempts time and time again and this prompts the memorable line... “I must grab this woman as soon as possible!”
Ultimately this is a terrible movie which delivers the goods for all the purposes you’d want to watch it for. Gather the beers and mates and try not to chuck things at your precious television. If you want to see a wrestling superhero movie done really well (relative to the genre confinements of that statement) then watch something like “Superargo Contra Diabolicus”... if you want to see one done right - that is with little consideration for continuity, lighting and perhaps even having the camera pointing in the right direction - then watch either this or one of the Santo movies.
*Hal Hartley is currently the world's greatest living director.