With the campy Batman television series ending fourteen days before its March 28, 1968 release, The Batwoman (La Mujer Murcielago) hit the silver screen in Mexico. The film blended action, camp, and lucha libre into a science fiction/superhero film featuring the Batwoman, a crime fighter who is inspired by but not an official adaptation of the DC Comics title of the same name.
In the film, a string of murders occur in Acapulco. The local authorities can’t figure out who or what is killing a number of luchadores in the area. Desperate for help, the police call on the assistance of Mario Robles and his brilliant ally, the Batwoman. Together they attempt to thwart the plans of the evil Dr. Eric Williams. The doctor is tapping brains for pineal fluid that he combines with fish in order to create a Fish Man. Sound crazy, right? Well, it’s absolutely insane….and fun to watch.
The film starred the beautiful Maura Monti as Gloria/Batwoman, Roberto Canedo as the sinister Dr. Eric Williams, and Hector Godoy as Mario Robles, Gloria’s friend and fellow investigator. It also featured a number of professional luchadores and luchadoras who showed off their skills in the ring and in a number of training sessions. Surprisingly, the acting isn’t that bad. Canedo went over the top to glorious perfection and Monti and Godoy turned in solid performances as well.
The Fish Man creature looks as good as any other 1950’s or 1960’s monster from the seemingly endless string of creature features released during those two decades. The creature was designed and created by Alfonso Barcenas. Rene Cardona, who has 147 directing credits to his name, does a great job of keeping the story interesting despite its crazy plot. The action is fairly well done, too. Monti did her own stunts in the film and there is an extended underwater sequence in which she had a number of issues but managed to pull it off very well.
The film is bonkers…..but somehow works. Perhaps it’s Monti’s stunning beauty? Maybe it’s the action? Heck, it could be the whackadoo aquarium that Dr. Williams keeps his fish in with its boiling water? I don’t know, but it just clicks with wonderful campy perfection. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I believe that viewers should at least give it a chance. It’s currently available to stream for free on Tubi and is also available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray. On DVD and Blu-ray, it’s coupled up with The Panther Women, another film directed by Cardona.
I enjoyed this film. There’s just something extremely appealing about it. I plan on looking for more films by Cardona and also hope to see a few more films starring Monti. Sadly, her career on the big screen only lasted about six years. I found in an article that she decided to step away from film because more and more Mexican production companies demanded that female stars do nude scenes, which is something that Monti wasn’t willing to do no matter how much they paid her. Monti didn’t mind wearing skimpy outfits, but she drew the line at full frontal nudity.
Check out The Batwoman. It’s not a great movie but it is fun to watch. Monti is breathtaking and the scenery around Acapulco is beautiful.
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