Batwoman (1968)

Remember the Santo movies Nate's reviewed? Today we'll be reviewing another luchador movie, except that this one's about a woman wrestler, not a man. Yes, a female Mexican wrestler. I had no idea they even existed before I saw this movie, but as a matter of fact, Mexico has a long history of women who wrestle professionally. However, I use the term "professionally" loosely -- any sport where the participants make a big deal of always wearing masks in public has to be at least as much about entertainment as it is about skill. But considering the kind of wrestling popular in the United States, I guess it doesn't befit an American to criticize other countries' wrestling quirks. What is the deal with wrestling, anyway? Why does it need the nutty trappings? You don't see pro football players choosing mysterious names and taking the field in colorful masks, so why do wrestlers have to?

If this doesn't make your pants explode with pure awesomeness then you are not a man I wish to converse with. Now I said good day, sir!

To make this movie even better, it not only explores a little-known aspect of Mexican wrestling (and who isn't dying to know more about that?), but it also plagiarizes a short-lived American craze of the late 1960s. I'm talking about Batman. Yes, the heroine of this movie not only is an expert wrestler, she also lives like Batman and dresses like Batman -- to some extent. She might be Bruce Wayne's long-lost twin who was abducted to Mexico in infancy, because she's a multimillionaire who has dedicated her life to fighting crime. In order to better catch criminals, like Bruce Wayne she has chosen to wear a black mask and hood with little pointy ears, black gloves, and black boots. However, possibly to save money, she wears a skimpy bikini instead of the Batman leotard. Too bad her vigilante methods only encourage more crime by an ever more cartoonishly violent band of villains.

Call a cop instead.

Maura Monti, the actress who plays Batwoman, was actually born in Italy in 1942 but moved to Venezuela when she was five, then to Mexico sometime in the early 1960s. It seems she was a well-known Mexican actress during the 1960s and 1970s, although according to IMDB her acting career lasted only a little over ten years and was over by 1978. Judging by the titles, most of the movies she acted in were about the level of this one. She was a model in the early 1960s but is built along Raquel Welch lines instead of Twiggy lines, and it's quite obvious why she was picked for the part. Although admittedly she's good-looking, her overall style is a little outdated for 1968. When she's not in her bikini and mask, she tends to wear beehive hairdos and tight-waisted long-skirted dresses instead of the mod styles that were more fashionable at the time the movie was made, but I imagine this outdated look was more appealing to the target audience anyway.

She kicks ass at ping pong.

Nice publicity shot of Maura Monti.

In addition to Miss Monti, the costar of the movie is the spectacular scenery of Acapulco, where the movie was filmed. Even in the fuzzy washed-out subtitled version I'm watching on Youtube, the scenery is breathtaking. The opening shot introduces the scenery. Oh, and also a murder victim, a Mexican wrestler two fishermen spot in the ocean.

Tourists love Acapulco.

This is the fifth wrestler found murdered in a short time, and the Acapulco police are under considerable pressure to stop this threat to the sport. The trouble is that whoever killed the wrestlers left no clues at all, and the police are at a loss to know what to do. They mention that similar crimes were recently committed in Macao and Hong Kong, and they believe that all these crimes are related. In an effort to stop the murders, the "FBI" (that's what it says in the subtitles, but I assume they mean a Mexican organization, not the American FBI) has sent a special agent, the handsome and perpetually-smiling Mario Robles. It's unclear if Mr. Robles possesses special skills that the regular policemen don't, but he does have something they don't, namely connections. He just happens to know a woman who can help them, an experienced crimefighter who has solved many a mystery, namely -- Batwoman! Like Bruce Wayne, she's rich and a terrific athlete. She goes him one better, though, because she's also a champion wrestler. Because of this, she has something of a handicap, because if anybody sees her without her mask, HAMPA (the Mexican wrestling association?) will disqualify her. Only Mario Robles and one other unnamed person know her true identity.

Hello to you, too, office full of policemen.

For somebody who needs to keep her identity secret, Batwoman chooses a remarkably conspicuous way to arrive in Acapulco. She parachutes from an airplane onto a populated beach, wearing her Batman getup, which as you'll recall includes a very revealing bikini. Nope, no way anybody will notice or remember a bikini-clad woman wearing a mask, hood, and cape arriving by parachute. I leave it to any paratroopers who may be reading this to determine whether those boots she's wearing are adequate protection for skydiving. She's met by Mario and somebody else, hustled into a car, and taken to a morgue. She's ambushed outside the autopsy room by several reporters who seem to have already heard of Batwoman. So if she's so famous, why didn't the police call her in before? Why did they have to go through Mario?

Only in movies can you park right at the front steps of a public building, on the sidewalk, no less.

Batwoman is informed that like all the other wrestlers, this one has had his pineal juice extracted surgically, so it appears that the murderer must be a doctor. However, this doesn't get them anywhere. But not to leave us in suspense, the movie now takes us to the good ship Reptilicus, where a mad scientist has set up his lab. We know for sure he's a mad scientist because he has an assistant named Igor, who, however, is quite short but not a dwarf and doesn't have a hunchback. The doctor is doing a very odd experiment which appears to involve placing a small plastic figure into a fish tank that contains a large orange fish. Igor then pressurizes the tank to a stated 20 atmospheres, although to me it looks as though all he's doing is pumping enough air into the tank to make a lot of bubbles. Whatever he's doing doesn't seem to get the job done, though, because after Igor turns off the bubbles, the scientist inspects the tank, looks downcast, and says that there was no reaction and they'll have to try again to create their fish-man. I don't see how even the maddest of scientists could have thought that there was any way to create a fish-man out of a plastic figure, a six-inch-long goldfish, and a lot of bubbles, but I'm sure whoever made this movie knew that the audience would be too preoccupied with wanting to see Maura Monti in her bikini again to even notice what was going on in the fish tank. However, the doctor isn't going to let this setback stop him, he's going to find another wrestler and extract his pineal fluid so he can try again. Why a wrestler, you may be asking? Because people came to this movie to see wrestlers -- I mean, because wrestlers are the only people who are strong enough to make the perfect fish-man, according to the doctor. Incidentally, the doctor's name is Eric Williams, which suggests he's an American, although his accent sounds like everybody else's in the movie.

Yes, Igor, turn off this movie.

Next we go to a gym where a number of wrestlers are training. Although all the wrestlers we see in action are male, there are several women sitting in the background who also appear to be wrestlers. One of the male wrestlers, improbably named "Swedish" according to the subtitle, is arranging to buy a motorboat, using a blind man named Jose as an intermediary. Batwoman, now wearing a leotard instead of her bikini, does some wrestling, and we learn that the other women wrestlers have a lot of respect for her. After she finishes, she takes her mask off in the locker room and uses a small box to contact Mario, who's in a car outside, to let him know that she hasn't seen anything suspicious. I don't know if this little box was inspired by the high-tech devices Batman used. It couldn't have been a cell phone in 1968 and doesn't look like any walkie-talkie I've ever seen. Does anybody know if it was real or if they just made it up so Batwoman would have an easy way to contact Mario? And isn't it a bad idea for Batwoman to wrestle in her Bat hood and mask? It appears that she's not allowed to take them off in public, but other wrestlers could have seen her in the locker room, and they could easily connect her with the mysterious crime-fighting figure Batwoman.

Batwoman strikes a pose.

After showering, Batwoman goes to the gym basement where the police are tapping the phone lines. Jose, it seems, is a lot more than he appeared to be, and he's calling the doctor to let him know that he's found another specimen who will be delivered to the doctor shortly. And indeed we see poor Swedish abducted from his new fishing boat by several divers, who promptly convey him to the doctor, who equally quickly does something to him that results in his head being bandaged. Hmm...if this operation kills the patient, why bother to bandage his head? This time the banks of mysterious equipment and the enormous number of bubbles in the fish tank seem to do their job, and the doctor looks into the fish tank with a big smile on his face and laughs maniacally, which the subtitle obediently renders as "HA HA HA HA!" I think we've now got a fish-man.

Yeah, that's not going to backfire on you.

Unfortunately we're going to have to wait a little longer to see what a fish-man looks like. Short, would be my guess, if he fit into that fish tank, but otherwise I have no idea. Instead we get to see something the audience probably liked better, which is Batwoman in a very low-cut dress, at a restaurant with Mario. I'm pretty sure I see her sticking out her chest several times to show her boobs off better, although I'll be kind and say it's possible the heavy-duty underwiring that must be in that dress was digging into her. She has a little trouble keeping her dress straps in place but manages to not let anything X-rated show. In any case, the camera keeps a reasonable distance away from her, so any kiddies in the audience won't be too scarred. Mario is going to ask the police's international agent, Tony Roca, to find out more information about Dr. Williams, and we learn that Tony is the other person who knows Batwoman's true identity.

Really, mister director guy, sticking with this medium-range wide-angle master shot when you could give us a tight close-up on her boo...I mean her face? Do you not realize that your audience consists almost entirely of horny men?

But Batwoman doesn't intend to sit around twiddling her thumbs while others investigate. She tries the direct route, puts on street clothes, goes out to Reptilicus in a motorboat and asks to see Dr. Williams. One of the crew tells her the doctor doesn't want to see any visitors, apparently not thinking there's anything peculiar about a strange young woman in a motorboat dropping by for a casual visit. She gives up and goes home, and any discouragement she feels is mitigated by the arrival of Tony and Mario. Tony addresses her as "Gloria," the first hint we have of her real name. Tony has found that Dr. Williams has been in Macao and Hong Kong recently, but they still have nothing to connect him with the murders, so the police can't go aboard the Reptilicus to investigate. To make matters worse, Mario gets a phone call to let him know that the Reptilicus is leaving Acapulco tomorrow.

Batwoman meets the lustful guys.

Batwoman now swings into action. Slipping back into her Batwoman outfit, she swims out to the Reptilicus. In contrast to what we saw before, there are no crewmembers or guards around as she climbs up the ship's ladder, giving us a good look down her bikini top as she does.

Took me ten minutes to isolate this screen cap...

In fact, she sees nobody at all as she walks down the corridors, finally coming to an office, where she casually turns on a light and rummages through a desk, finding a book about the pineal gland. (A closeup of her face shows that her eyeliner, eyeshadow, and long, long, long false eyelashes survived her underwater swim intact.) She puts the book away and proceeds to explore further. Wow, the Reptilicus is big! Dr. Williams must be rich to be able to afford such a big ship for his private use. She comes to a door, kneels to look through the large old-fashioned keyhole, and sees...What does she see, Nate?

Perhaps a lawyer from DC Comics with a subpoena?

Well, Pam, she sees two up-to-no-good old guys in white lab coats (Doctor Williams and Igor) and the bubbling tank with the baby Fish-man in it. Batwoman doesn't have much time to investigate further, however, as she's captured by a couple of henchmen who take advantage of the complete utter lack of peripheral vision in her bat-hat. She's taken in to meet the doctor and they trade some barbs before she kicks free and starts punching. She then holds them down until...wait, what? She just runs away? But she had them all contained, all the evidence she was looking for was right there in her hands, she could have just called in the cops on her walkie talkie and this whole movie could have ended right here and I could have gone back to bed. Batwoman is the pansy-est super heroine ever.

And she wears too much pink

Up on the quarterdeck "she" "fights" off three villainous henchmen. I put "she" in quotes because in most of the physical fight scenes it's clearly a husky Guatemalan stuntwoman and I put "fight" in quotes because it's more like "the guys walk slowly towards her one at a time and then crumple to the ground seconds before her weak, flailing, my-grandmother-could-take-her punches whiff by their heads". Maura Monti, while indeed heart-stoppingly pretty in a bikini, has the muscle mass of a wet paper towel and the hand-eye coordination of toddler and her "fight scenes" are laughably bad for everyone concerned. She escapes eventually and swims away to safety (not totally convinced that the swimming scenes, especially the underwater stuff, aren't also a stuntwoman).

No stuntmen were harmed in the making of this movie.

Batwoman immediately contacts the police about the boat full of armed bad guys doing nefarious things right in the middle of Acapulco's harbor and they send in the SWAT teams to...wait, no? She just sorta goes back to her normal routine of wrestling sparring and strutting around in designer pantsuits? Really? Isn't she supposed to be "fighting crime" and "avenging the innocent" and all that? Did I miss something? Seriously, she was just on a boat full of people shooting at her and she doesn't even think to mention it to the police (not that they would do anything about it, the police in this movie are less than professional).

Wresting girls is more important than crime.

In fact, she's so busy with her wrestling and looking hot and stuff, that it doesn't occur to her to deviate her normal daytime routine enough to keep the Mad Scientist's henchmen from trying to kill her. She goes to a house on the beach (who's house is this?) and the bad guys wait outside for her to leave (not obvious at all). Much hay is made over the fact that no one can identify Batwoman when she's out of her costume, but since it only covers her face above her eyes and does nothing to disguise her body size and shape, I think that pretty much anyone could pick her out of a line-up. If only she would put on a pair of reading glasses like Clark Kent or Diana Prince, she'd have better luck remaining undetected.

Really? "impossible to know"? You must not see a lot of women.

Because it's Acapulco in a Mexican b-movie it must be beach party time! Batwoman (now dressed down in a "civilian" swimsuit) goes down to the sandbar with a bunch of other babes in bikinis and the soundtrack pops with a Jan and Dean knock-off instrumental number. Amusingly, they all form a loose circle and twitch like beached marlins, which was apparently what "dancing" was back in 1968. I've been to beaches on three coasts a hundred times in my life and never, not once, have I ever seen any group of young people dancing on the sand for any reason whatsoever. Movies are indeed a fantasy world.

OMG, is that a 45rpm record player built into the arm of a beach chair? I so want that!

She meets up with Mario and Tony on the beach and they talk about the Fish-man she saw and such. The two cops don't think much of Batwoman's claims, telling her she must be imagining things because she's just a silly girl and she backs off her claims. Can you imagine anyone telling Christian Bale's Batman that he's wrong about anything? At the end of the scene, she kisses Mario cutely and Tony looks like he was just punched in the gut with a steamshovel, and she has to give him a courtesy "best friend smootch" to soothe him. Clearly there's some sexual tension between these three and I'm guessing that Tony is going to be the odd man out. Is Batwoman single? It's never said, but you'd think her swinging lifestyle of wrestling and crime fighting wouldn't leave much downtime for traditional relationships. Just once I'd like to see a "superhero movie" where the lead was married with kids (I know, I know, The Incredibles).

A Batwoman sandwich!

So after stoking the fires of jealous love in the men, she takes her leave, puts her bat outfit back on, and drives away from the beach house. The bad guys follow her in two cars along the strangely deserted coastal highway. Not sure why, but in the point-of-view driving shots, Batwoman seems to be driving all over the road like a drunken hillbilly after a NASCAR race while screeching tire noises are foley in (I hate bad editing). They then attempt to box her in and run her off the road in what surely must be the lamest car chase in all of recorded cinema, one in which everyone drives 15 miles per hour and makes sure to keep twenty feet in between them and the other vehicles at all times. It's like these three cars actually belonged to the film's director's wife and he damn sure didn't want anyone to dent anything or he'd be sleeping in the back yard again.

And she's not wearing her seat belt.

Eventually, they corner Batwoman and she gives up without a hassle. For a superhero crime fighter, she sure doesn't put up much of a fight here (and she never should have pulled over to the side of the road to begin with, what did she expect?). Of course, the bad guys can't seem to make up their minds what they want to do with her either. Half the time they are actively trying to kill her and the other half they are trying to capture her alive, and this indecision gives Batwoman a chance to convert her make-up compact into a gun! Now, all twelve bad guys are pointing guns at her, the very definition of "Mexican stand-off", so you'd think they'd ignore her request to "Drop your guns and raise your hands!". But they do, because that's what it says in the Official Henchman Handbook in the chapter on "Proper ways to handle unequal gunfights with heroes/heroines".

For no discernable reason the bad guys all put on Green Hornet masks.

For some reason I missed, Batwoman then loses her gun and they get into another wicked group fistfight on the beach (though I wonder why none of the twelve bad guys thought of picking up his own gun and shooting her dead during this three minute long furball). This fight is much like the others, with the stuntwoman kicking ass in her scenes and the star actress just going through the motions and trying to keep her breasts from popping out of her bikini top when she throws punches. It's clear that the extras were told to go easy on the actress as even when they are "dragging her along to her death" they are careful not to hold her arms too tightly as to cause bruises that might postpone her fashion shoot in Rio next week (one can imagine Maura Monti's frantic booking agent is right off-camera yelling at the extras and waiving her no-injury-clause contract at the director).

"Something worse"? Like maybe having to watch this movie a second time, that kind of "worse"?

So she escapes harm again when the cops show up and the bad guys bail. Batwoman and Mario then go down to the morgue to see the latest dead wrestler and there they talk about what all has happened. She's sure that all the athlete killings and the hitsquad are related to the lab coat-wearing guy on the boat with the Fish-man in the tank, but Mario, oddly, can't seem to connect the dots in his head and essentially tells her she's a hysterical woman who is seeing things (again). And Batwoman kicks him in the nuts and...wait, what? She just meekly says "ok" and sulks off? What the hell kind of Batwoman is she, why does she continuously defer to the men, even when she is supposedly the film's heroine? Is this a Mexican culture thing? Is this a 1968 thing? Is this a 1968 in Mexico thing? Because it's annoying.

"Not enough evidence"? Really? Because I'd think all that gunplay and attempted murder and stuff might be grounds for at the very least a courtesy call from the cops.

Back on the boat, the Mad Scientist Doctor Williams is downright giddy that they found a nearby spot on the ocean floor that is exactly 100 meters deep and 22 degrees Celsius (that's 328 feet and 71 F for all us 'Muricans). This will provide the perfect environmental conditions for their first field test (not sure water temperature stays that constant but whatever). The radiation unit is charged up, the underwater cameras are turned on, and the six-inch tall Barbie doll masquerading as the baby mutant fish monster is put in a plastic box and some henchmen scuba-dive it down to the bottom of the test area. The doll is radiated with a burst of megaxawesome rays or something, causing a bubble curtain to erupt on the seafloor (poor editing and my general lack of interest made this a very confusing scene for me). Suddenly, from behind the bubble curtain emerges a huge linebacker-sized half-fish/half-man, buggly-eyed, scaly, clawed, toothy abomination!

An awful lot of sunlight for 328 feet down.

The divers attempt to catch the writhing, angry creature in a flimsy fishing net, which goes about as well as you'd expect. We then get a few minutes of "underwater wrestling", which is pretty well done considering you can't really choreograph melee action scenes underwater very well without a green screen. There's a lot of rolling around and arm-grabbing and several of the divers make fairly passable attempts at ring-style back flips (humorously in slow-motion underwater). They eventually incapacitate the Fish-man with a device that makes a high-pitched noise and the divers can then bag and tag it.

You can't see it, but it's in there somewhere.

Back aboard the Reptilicus, they take the Fish-man to the "special room" with the "wet mattress" and "tie it down" (Intern Kelby tells me that he's been to that room before, except it was a Motel 6 in Tuscaloosa and her name was Tiffany...). A bit later two henchmen unwisely sneak in to get a look at the Fish-man and start poking at it like rednecks who've found some tasty roadkill. The Fish-man gets mad, breaks its straps, and proceeds to mauls the two men to death. Igor rushes in and tries to kill the beast with that high-pitched noise device thingie, but Doctor Williams stops him. You can already tell this is one of those movies where the Mad Scientist thinks of his creation as his own child and will protect it with his life regardless of how creepy that looks. Pam, is there any reason to believe that this isn't going to be a Frankenstein rip-off crossed with a Batman rip-off mutated with a Frankie Avalon beach party rip-off?

Uh, yeah, that was the point.

None at all, Nate. In fact, it's also got a little of Revenge of Doctor X mixed in, too. There's a veritable epidemic of animal/plant/human hybrids being created under our very noses! Those of you who are planning vacations in Acapulco may want to reconsider.

Uh, well, considering that a google image search for "vacation" and "Acapulco" returned this...I'm still going, Pam.

But back to the action. Having recovered from her ordeal with not so much as a bruise, Batwoman drags Mario out to the Reptilicus. Batwoman, now dressed in civvies, straps on an air tank and jumps into the water, planning to sneak aboard the Reptilicus again while Mario waits in the motorboat. Unfortunately Igor and Dr. Williams are watching from the Reptilicus, and Dr. Williams assumes she's the same woman who came aboard before, in other words Batwoman. A reasonable enough assumption, I suppose, because how many women are going to want to sneak aboard the Reptilicus? But Dr. Williams doesn't intend to let her reach the ship on her own. He's going to send out the fish-man, who he's named "Pisces," to bring her in so she can be converted into a fish-woman, who will then be a suitable mate for Pisces.

One of the (surprisingly) very few close-up shots of Batwoman's face.

For all we know, Pisces might prefer to remain single, but he's not going to have a choice. The Doctor threatens to hurt him if he doesn't bring Batwoman back. After an extended underwater chase, Pisces catches up to her, and she promptly pulls a submarine flare from who-knows-where and lights it. It looks about as scary as a flashlight, but like all manmade monsters, Pisces is afraid of anything that even looks like fire, and he pulls back, allowing Batwoman to swim away. Once it burns out, Pisces is on the chase again, but Batwoman makes it to the motorboat in time to get aboard before Pisces gets there. After Mario helps her aboard, she collapses into helplessness as she tearfully tells him that Dr. Williams' fish-man is chasing her, and it's left to manly Mario to pour gasoline over Pisces and set it on fire. Pisces has to dive to get away from the fire, allowing Batwoman and Mario to zoom off in the motorboat.

"Monster"? I think you mean "movie critic".

Back on dry land, Batwoman regains her cool (and restyles her hair). This time it's Mario who wants the police to raid the Reptilicus, while Batwoman laughs contemptuously and tells him nobody will believe that he saw a fish-man, which I bet is true. (Batwoman is soothing her nerves with a glass of something, and may have had just a little too much of it.) Besides, Pisces didn't actually do anything to him or to Batwoman besides chase her and try to climb aboard the motorboat. Mario decides that all they can do is investigate further, but back on the Reptilicus, Dr. Williams has another idea. He's going to place a transmitter on Batwoman's cape, a transmitter that will send a signal Pisces can detect with a receiver Dr. Williams has planted in his brain. Not only Batwoman but also Mario will be converted to fish-people. And not only them, but Dr. Williams is planning to move to another country and make hundreds more fish-people! "HA HA HA HA HA!" he laughs again, according to the subtitle.

I thought watching this movie was my punishment.

But remember, in addition to fighting crime, Batwoman has another career as a wrestler, and life must go on, even if fish-men are chasing you. Probably reasoning that Pisces can't go too far from water, she decides that now is the time to enter a wrestling match, which she wins handily. (At first I wondered why she wore that unflattering Batman leotard in the ring, but then I realized that it was probably necessary to wear it to hide the fact that a stuntwoman was doing the actual wrestling.) Jose the Loyal Henchman is lurking around, holding the transmitter. We don't see him plant it, but when Batwoman gets home and throws her cape onto the bed, we can see it in the folds.

Even from this distance you can tell that Batwoman's stunt double has 60 pounds and five inches on her. And it's a guy.

On the Reptilicus, Dr. Williams is planning to release Pisces at midnight. At Batwoman's house, Mario insists on spending the night there to protect her, although he virtuously plans to sleep downstairs in the living room while she sleeps in her bedroom. However, just as Batwoman has finished styling her hair (!) and is getting into bed, she spots the transmitter on her cape. Her little black box somehow tells her what it is, but, after looking thoughtful for a moment, she pins it to the strap of her emerald-green babydoll pajamas. Instead of telling Mario about the transmitter, she shuts her bedroom door and turns off the lights. You know, Batwoman, if Mario's going to protect you it might be helpful to let him know that Pisces is probably going to show up soon, so he can be prepared instead of being caught sleeping.

Sexy, even in Blur-o-Vision.

Pisces makes it ashore on schedule, while Batwoman is sleeping the sleep of the just, with the transmitter on her pajamas and her bedroom window wide open, neither one good decisions, in my opinion. If she's trying to lure Pisces in so he can be captured, why aren't she and Mario awake and waiting? And if I were her, I'd take the transmitter off and stick it someplace close by in a spot where Pisces can be easily trapped. Luckily for Pisces, her house seems to be close to the water, because he can't walk all that well. Is Acapulco really such a sleepy little place that nobody's on the streets after midnight? I'd expect that a lot of people would be out partying all night long, but maybe Batwoman's fortunate enough to live in a quiet neighborhood. Anyway, Pisces makes it to Batwoman's house undetected. Mario's asleep on the sofa downstairs, but somehow Pisces manages to get inside the house, climb the stairs, and enter Batwoman's bedroom without waking him. Doesn't anybody lock their doors in Acapulco?

Tracking the beast from afar.

Once he's at her bedside, Batwoman wakes up just long enough to scream and faint. (And this is the tough veteran crimefighter? I was thinking she'd laid a trap for Pisces, but now I'm wondering if she thought the transmitter was a piece of jewelry from a secret admirer and she pinned it to her pajamas because she thought it looked pretty.) Mario comes running, but Pisces grabs him around the neck and chokes him just enough to immobilize him for a couple of minutes. This gives Pisces enough time to pick up Batwoman and carry her out to the sea. Watch as Pisces walks down the stairs, the stuntman was having a hard time making it down with those flippers on.

Awww...Mario sleeps on the couch, how chaste of him.

As Pisces reaches the sea, Mario runs up at the same time Batwoman revives and throws away the transmitter. Pisces drops her into the water (Maura Monti looks less than pleased here, and her hair's getting wet for real) and turns to fight Mario. Batwoman tries to help Mario, but contrary to what we've seen her do before, when Pisces gives her a slight push, it's enough to make her give up and let Mario do all the fighting. This time it looks like it's really the actress, not a stuntwoman. Mario's getting his head pushed underwater a lot, and if it were a real fight I'd say he was in serious trouble, but just then Dr. Williams recalls Pisces, assuming that since the transmitter has gone silent, Pisces must have Batwoman in the water. As Pisces goes back to sea, Batwoman helps a staggering gasping Mario out of the water, and confesses that she kept the transmitter hoping that Dr. Williams' henchmen would show up but not expecting Pisces to come. Mario shows exemplary patience here and assures her that it's all right. The sight of Batwoman in soaking-wet flimsy babydoll pajamas might be helping his mood some. (Sorry, guys, there's nothing much to see, either the pajamas were lined with some opaque non-clingy material or the camera angles and lighting were chosen very carefully.)

Good thing she only weighs 84 pounds plus bangles.

Dr. Williams can't understand what could have gone wrong. He says he must catch Batwoman before she foils his plan to make a world full of fish-people. Igor, Jose, and two other nameless sidekicks are no help, but finally Dr. Williams comes up with an idea himself. He'll capture Mario, and Batwoman will come looking for him! No sooner said than done, and the next scene opens with Mario and another cop (Tony? I'm not sure.) pulling up to what appears to be a motorcycle accident with an unconscious victim. Uh-oh, as soon as they walk up to him the "victim" pulls a gun, and he and Dr. Williams' other goons appear and drag them off to a car. Dr. Williams chooses to notify Batwoman of their plight by leaving a note for her in her gym locker. Lucky for Mario she's so conscientious about working out! The note warns her not to tell the police, and our experienced crimefighter obediently comes to the boat without apparently letting the police know that one of their special investigators as well as another police officer have been kidnapped.

You know that's a federal crime, right?

Batwoman races to the dock, although she takes time to slip out of her wrestling leotard and into her crimefighting bikini. She manages to get aboard the Reptilicus but is soon stopped by one of Dr. Williams' bunch and marched into his lab. Hey, what kind of a yacht is the Reptilicus, anyway? It's so big it has lifeboats! If I had Dr. Williams' kind of money, I'd be enjoying it, not making weird human-fish hybrids...Okay, back to work. Batwoman is not a total helpless idiot after all, it seems. She struggles enough to be able to get an arm free long enough to stick the transmitter onto Dr. Williams' back (and must have special mind powers that keep any of his henchmen from seeing it). Dr. Williams prepares to extract her pineal juice, considerately reminding Mario and the other cop that so far nobody has survived the operation. He tells Igor to remove her mask, which will --oh, no-- reveal her secret identity, like that's her main worry right now. Just then, guess who arrives. Yes, it's Pisces, crashing through the door like it's made of cardboard (HA HA HA!). He and Dr. Williams tussle, knocking over a bunch of chemicals and setting the lab on fire. Fortunately Mario and the cop manage to untie themselves, release Batwoman, and speed off in a handy motorboat before the yacht explodes. Dr. Williams, Igor, Pisces, and the rest of the crew presumably all perish.

"Commere! I just wanna kiss you!"

We close with Batwoman, Mario, and Tony back in the house. Batwoman is crowing over how she sneaked the transmitter onto Dr. Williams' back, knowing that Pisces would attack whoever was wearing it. But how would she know? All Pisces did to her when she was wearing it was pick her up and carry her off. But never mind. Lest the two cops or any man watching this are beginning to feel just a little inferior to a woman who's a champion wrestler and (sometimes) a quick thinker in a crisis, at this point Batwoman spots a mouse and is instantly reduced to quivering jelly, begging the two men to kill it. Mario and Tony laugh, and with everyone reassured that women are still inferior to men, the movie ends.

Gloria Steinem just spit out her coffee.

I'll give this movie some praise. Sure, it's dumb, but that's the way luchador movies were supposed to be. Nobody expected a complex plot or characterizations when they went to a luchador movie; what they wanted to see was wrestlers. The acting is adequate, although nobody's called upon to express anything very complicated. The thing I really had the most trouble with was how Batwoman tends to fall apart and defer to Mario and Tony which she's supposed to be an experienced crimefighter, but this movie was made in 1968, after all. Movies and TV shows made in the United States around 1968 also tended to depict the little woman as basically deferential to men in most circumstances, and usually in need of a man to rescue her in a crisis. Nate, what did you think of it?

Well, Pam, I kinda enjoyed it, though mostly for the funky disco vibe and the pointlessly amusing wrestling scenes. I don't feel like I expanded my knowledge of Chiropterology, though, that's a negative. I did learn about beach parties, however, and this movie did teach me the secret to summer fun...

Take one 1960s vintage Baird Emerson Wondergram portable 45rpm record player: a reasonable $75 on eBay.

Add a vintage-looking made-in-China wooden beach chair: $35 on sale at

Add one roll of duct tape to affix record player to arm of beach chair: free from my kitchen closet,

And finally add one early '80s New Wave pop album on 45 vinyl: $39.50 plus shipping on (fuck me, seriously!?!).

Drag it all down to the sand, mix in some sunscreen and some Ray-Bans, and sit back and watch as random groups of hot sexy beach babes spontaneously form dance groups and groove it, baby!

The End.

Written in April 2012 by Nathan Decker and Pam Burda.

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