La Nave de los Monstruos (Ship of Monsters) (1960)

Howdy folkses! Since I’ve been working for Million Monkey Theater I’ve had the opportunity to view and dissect a few of the most dreadfully inept films ever made and I’ve tried my best to live up to the high standards CEO and Grand Poobah Nate has set for exceptional achievement in comedic bad-movie reviews. It’s tough work, but it’s rewarding in a non-conventional, money-accolades-basic-human-decency-free sort of way. All the while I’ve pledged to stay positive, stay focused and stay off the booze. I find I cry less when I’m sober. After several months and three reviews, however I’ve been feeling a kind of weary disquiet in the center of my being, an angst-filled, creeping sense that something fundamental has been lacking in my MMT employment experience. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but one morning recently, during a brief illness, I woke from a long night of intense fever-dreams to find my cats huddled around me, warming themselves contentedly in the heat radiating from my burning body. That’s when it hit me like an icy herring flung from a Norwegian fishing boat: what I need is an intern! I immediately rang up Nate to make my request. Astonishingly the official MMT Employee Handbook states that I am entitled to hire an intern of my choice after exactly three published reviews!

It’s right there on page 926 between “Indigenous Peoples" and “Internal Organs"

It just so happens that about this time, through no fault of my own mind you, it became expeditious that I “disappear" from the country for awhile. Canada would naturally have been my first choice, but sadly they know me up there. I was forced, therefore to turn my attention to our neighbors to the south. Unfortunately I had no specific knowledge of Mexican culture, no native connections and didn’t speak a lick of the language. That’s when Sparky stepped in.

“Do I habla espanol? Does the pope shit fish during lent??"

Sparky is a ponderous hunk-a burnin’ feline love—a successful plus-size underwear model and budding entrepreneur in the legally dubious importation and sale of “medicinal" catnip—who’s always looking to make an extra buck. Coincidentally an extra buck is exactly the stipend Nate gave me to hire an intern. So stealthily, in the middle of winter and by dead of night, Sparky and I lit out for sunny Mexico.

Well, as stealthily as possible while carrying a cat the size of a mountain lion.

It turns out Sparky knows a guy who knows a guy who’s married to a guy who knows a guy who knows a pilot named Luis with a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza. He makes frequent flights transporting Sparky’s catnip shipments between Chihuahua, Mexico and Lancaster, PA. As I approached the aging, rusty, six-seat puddle-jumper I began to question if this was the best or safest way to get to Mexico, but Sparky and Luis assured me they’d made this flight dozens of times and had never had so much as a wheel, stabilizer or panel of fuselage fall off the plane.

“It’s very safe and up-to-date, amigo! It’s even got the Wi-Fi!"

I’m not Catholic, but as we began to taxi towards the runway Luis handed me a well-worn rosary, a set of headphones and a cheap knock-off iPad. “Use the beads now, senor, switch to the tablet once we’re in the air." Little did I realize that not only would I survive the flight, I was also about to see the most profound, moving and thought-provoking film ever made for the Mexican equivalent of fifteen dollars and eighty-seven cents.

I’ll be completely honest…I’ve felt a little beaten down by the sheer soul-ravaging awfulness of the last couple of films I’ve reviewed here. I mean there’s good-bad, there’s bad-bad, then there are films so toxically horrendous they should come with a label warning about spontaneous internal hemorrhaging. Thankfully La Nave de los Monstruos is very good-bad. In fact it’s so very good-bad it serendipitously becomes a sort of pseudo-spiritual, life-affirming cinematic experience. Movies like this are why I seek out bad movies in the first place. It’s completely restored my faith in bargain-basement, shit-house cinema.

We open with a delightful dissertation on the difference between an atom and the universe, because so many of us laymen are apt to confuse the two. The atom, we are told is infinitely small:

Yep, that’s an atom, by crikey.

The universe, by contrast, is infinitely large:

I’m no astronomer, but by crikey that appears to be the moon.

The narrator pontificates about man’s quest for atomic power and our desire to leave our “seed" elsewhere in the universe. That’s some foreshadowing, right there, folkses. This movie, as it turns out, is all about leaving man’s “seed" elsewhere in the universe. Cut to “a typically dark night on Venus" and some rather nice spacewalk footage that was clearly cribbed from a film with a much bigger budget. The Venusians, it seems, are staging a vital interplanetary gambit to save themselves from extinction. For this they have prepared an impressively vast array of typical b-movie shark-finned rocket ships, of which they’ll inexplicably only be sending up one, piloted by two women, one of whom isn’t even Venusian and has no vested interest in the outcome of the mission despite that its success is an existential necessity for the survival of their civilization. If you think none of that makes sense, people just you wait. The rest of the movie makes this opening gambit look like a textbook example Bertrand Russell-esque logical philosophy.

Also that’s the brightest “typically dark night" I’ve ever seen.

We now see an impressively vast array of shapely Venusian ladies lining up at the base of a rocket to see off the brave heroines whom they hope will save their world. Wait a minute…is this gonna be a planet-of-women-desperately-seeking-sexually-viable-men-to-help-repopulate-their-planet movie? Fuck yeah, it is!

Let’s meet the two lovely women who are about to undertake this bold and dangerous assignment, shall we? The first is commander Gamma, played by Ana Bertha Lepe, a former Miss Mexico and a popular actress during the 1950’s-1960’s “golden age" of Mexican cinema.

Gamma. You can tell she’s the “good alien" by her serious mien and conservative haircut.

The Venusians have chosen Beta, “foreigner to Venus, daughter of Ur, planet of shadows," as Gamma’s companion and navigator because apparently none of the women of Venus know how to steer the spaceships they’ve just built. Beta is played by another former Miss Mexico, Lorena Velazquez, who was known at the time for her sexy femme fatale roles and later as a regular on various telenovelas.

You can tell she’s the “bad alien" by her serious mane and sultry gaze.

We also meet the leader of Venus who is called Alpha. Gamma, Beta and Alpha—because as every sci-fi fan knows the ancient Greek alphabet is the universal alphabet.

Gamma and Beta enter their craft and prepare to take off. The control room is a pretty impressive set for a movie this cheap, but like so many films of this kind there’s a serious issue of scale between the practical set and the special effects footage. Unless it’s a Tardis there’s no way that cavernous room could fit inside that tiny rocket.

Also that’s fully 2/3 of the budget shown onscreen in the first five minutes.

The ship begins lift-off and we see Gamma and Beta lean back in their chairs pretending to be pushed back by the pressure of the g-force. One can’t help but notice that the chairs lack both arm rests and seatbelts. Let’s hope they don’t hit any serious turbulence or they’ll be tossed around like a pair of slippers in a spin dryer.

The opening credits play over a montage of landings and take-offs on various worlds as the intrepid adventurers ostensibly pursue fertile male specimens to help preserve their race. These shots are all from different (and probably better) movies, as the design of the rocket is just a wee bit different in each clip. It’s a trend that will continue throughout the film whenever exteriors of the ship are shown. When the credits are over we cut back to Gamma and Beta in their control room, joined now by a big, clunky robot named Torr. It took me two viewings to realize they had picked him up on one of their planetary sojourns. He’s listed in the credits in a group with the titular monsters, all of whom are supposedly the fertile male specimens the Venusian ladies have picked up in their travels. This is the first of many indications that these ladies simply do not understand the biological realities of procreation.

This is Torr. He’s made of cheap sheet metal and recycled from another Mexican crap-fest called The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy (1958). He’s been modified between movies with a pair of shiny man-boobs surrounded by a little Vegas marquee of blinking lights. I’m gonna call him “Twinkle-tits."

Twinkle-tits warns the ladies that there’s something wrong with one of the engines, but they just exchange condescending winks and “oh that silly little man" smiles and completely ignore him. Well, wouldn’t you know it! Something in the engine snaps and they’re suddenly losing power and navigation control. Twinkle-Tits takes this opportunity to throw a little shade towards them, saying “I told you" as they struggle to bring the power back online.

It turns out Tor is a cheeky comedy robot. You know the kind.

Gamma orders Beta to “freeze the males" while they deal with this problem. We now get some more stolen spacewalk footage that’s supposed to be Beta fixing something outside the ship, and once again we see just how screwed up the scale issue is between the rocket model from the pilfered footage and the enormous interior set.

Twinkle-tits warns that they must land on the nearest planet to make repairs. Of course the nearest planet is Earth. Gamma bafflingly states “I don’t recognize that planet." You mean the one that is orbitally speaking right next to Venus? The closest planet in the entire fucking universe to your own? Twinkle-tits calls Earth “Antarsis 135-sub-2, planetoid of the 4th order" and goes on to explain that his people were going to explore it but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. He says the people there “do not know what they want and enjoy destroying each other." Sci-fi b-movie social commentary…not notable for its subtlety.

Gamma notices with seeming shock that Earth has an atmosphere and worries that the friction of entry will set their craft on fire. As they descend, in fact, they worry that the rising temperature will compromise the structure of their ship. Did the engineers of Venus not actually design this ship to land on planets with viable atmospheres? Never mind that a viable atmosphere is an absolute necessity for sustaining the kind of life they must find to save their people, meaning they were only ever going to be landing on planets with viable atmospheres. Why is this suddenly an issue after all those landings and take-offs we saw during the credits? Additionally the planet Venus, being rather closer to the Sun than Earth, is to put it mildly hot as fuck. They would absolutely have to design extreme heat resistance into their vessels just to keep them from melting on their own fucking launch pads. In reality Venus’ atmosphere is actually made up of sulfuric acid, though so maybe I’m over-thinking this a bit.

“Yes, Bradley Lyndon, I believe you are over-thinking this."

Thanks, Bertrand Russell, Logician, Mathematician and Nobel Laureate. I needed that. Didn’t know you were an MMT fan, by the way. I hope you enjoy the rest of the review.

Meanwhile on Earth, somewhere outside the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, a lonely horseman looks up at the sky and sees what looks like a falling star…

Our hero…he’s the Mexican Gene Autry.

This is Lauriano, played by Lalo “Pipporo" Gonzalez, a charismatic and popular star of dozens of action, comedy and romance films. He’s a genuine legend of Mexican cinema whose career spanned over four decades. He’s also the best thing in the film and seems to be the only person on either side of the camera who knows exactly what kind of movie he’s making. He’s clearly determined to have as much fun as he can to make up for what must have been a pretty paltry paycheck.

So Lauriano sees this “falling star" and decides to make a wish on it in the form of a jaunty mariachi song. What’s that? Did I not mention La Nave de los Monstruos is also a musical? Sorry folkses. I know it’s hard to keep up with all the crazy, but hold on to your sombreros because this shit is just getting started. Anyway, Lauriano sings of his hopes and dreams and how he is misunderstood by the locals as being something of a coward and liar. He assures us his horse would tell us that he’s really quite a stand up guy. He longs for a “divine love" one that would see what a terrific fella he is beneath his roguish exterior and devil-may-care swagger. He finishes his little ditty and hitches his horse in front of a local cantina. Meanwhile the Venusian spaceship lands in a secluded copse of woods and our aliens take their first steps onto the terra firma of Chihuahua Province, Mexico.

The first thing Gamma mentions when they exit the ship—without the precaution of environment suits, by the way—is the “breathable atmosphere," which gives the women both a surprise and a sensual thrill. They seem to have a rather bipolar relationship with air. A few minutes ago they were afraid it was going to burn them to a cinder, now they’re getting all wiggly over it.

Looks like Gamma and the “breathable atmosphere" need to get a room.

Meanwhile Lauriano is drinking in the crowded cantina, spinning a tall tale that starts with his being ambushed by bandits, continues with him being set upon by dinosaurs (that may or may not be birds), sees him stave off the advance of a blue-eyed French bear using a handful of feces and then shoot a sixteen point buck in the hoof, wrist and cheek with a single shot.

Yes, that old chestnut.

It’s actually quite a good scene, and taken with the song he sang previously sets up a genuinely likeable character with a mischievous and romantic nature. The patrons of the cantina find Lauriano entertaining—with the exception of the ill-tempered blow hard Sheriff Ruberto who calls him out as a liar and tries to make him draw his gun. It’s obvious Ruberto is jealous of all the attention Lauriano gets by telling his stories. Lauriano delicately defuses the situation with a few diplomatic compliments, however and ends up treating his would-be nemesis to a friendly drink. As Michael Jackson once told Paul McCartney, he’s “a lover, not a fighter."

Riding home from the bar Lauriano whistles a little tune through his teeth and that invisible mariachi band once again back him up. Gamma and Beta observe him from some trees and are surprised and delighted to see a being ostensibly like them. In a couple of minutes we’ll get a good look at the other males they’ve picked up in their travels and you’ll understand why they’re so excited. Lauriano’s horse, perhaps sensing something eerie is afoot, gets spooked and throws him to the ground. The ladies step out of the woods to meet him as he dusts himself off and scrambles to his feet.

Lauriano does a lot of talking to the sky.

There’s a bit of “humor" now as the ladies try a few different languages on him before finally discovering he speaks Spanish. There are a million ways to deal with the issue of aliens understanding Earth-speak in science fiction, but when you’ve already explicitly stated that your aliens know somewhere between zilch and fuck-it-all about our planet it’s just a bridge too far to believe they can somehow speak every language on it. Bertrand Russell…please…help me out here.

“Just take a few puffs of this and you simply will not give a fuck."

The ladies ask him where they are and he explains that they’re in Chihuahua, Republic of Mexico. Gamma has a little flashing gadget that can halt him mid-sentence, and while he’s stuck in a trance she calls Twinkle-tits on her little control box to have him fill her in on pertinent information about the “hospitable and gracious but hot-blooded" Mexicans. I’m sure contemporary domestic audiences howled with mirth at this pigeon-hole analysis of the shallowness of their national character. Lauriano eventually asks if they’re from a circus and Twinkle-tits again draws on the vast and insightful knowledge of all things Earth which he somehow possesses despite his people never having visited here.

Suspension of disbelief must be earned.

The ladies figure “Yeah, what the fuck, let’s go with the circus thing," telling Lauriano the tents will be there in a few days. Having thus established a cover story they leave him hypnotized and scarper off back to their ship. A falling twig wakes Lauriano from his trance and he is both confused and disappointed by their sudden disappearance.

Back on the ship the ladies call Alpha to report that Twinkle-tits is making repairs and that they will soon be leaving to return to Venus with their plundered male specimens. A slow pan reveals three of these hibernating in blocks of ice. They’re a motley assortment of ludicrous and bizarre rubber-suit beasties and it’s immediately apparent that there’s no way in hell any of them are genetically compatible with the human-like Venusians. Speaking of humans, Gamma tells Alpha that they have discovered some on Earth and have targeted the most beautiful of them to capture and take back with them. As they sign off, one of the monsters—a big, hairy, spider-like thing—gets melted out of his ice block by a hot piece of equipment and Twinkle-tits uses his robotic powers to freeze him back up. Beta seems to want to punish the creature but Gamma feels that having deprived these males of their liberty they should not further terrorize them. They agree, however that the specimens should be removed from the ship until the repairs are complete and set off to find somewhere appropriate to store them.

Because giant blocks of ice will definitely stay safely frozen in the bitter cold wastes of central Mexico.

Meanwhile Lauriano returns home to his surprisingly expansive ranch and has a little chat with his cow Lolobrijida. He complains that she’s been dry lately but he’s going to expect plenty of milk from her in the morning.

*At this point in our flight Sparky suddenly reached over with his paw and paused the video.*

“I sure could use a little something myself about now. Any refreshments on this tub, Luis?" “Well there’s no milk, senor gato, but there’s this gallon of tequila I made at home in Chihuahua." “Well hand it over amigo! Shit ain’t gonna drink itself!"

So where were we? Ah yes…Lauriano is slightly drunk and talking shit to a cow. I am in no position to judge. I’m in a rickety commuter plane attempting illicit entry into a foreign country and trading shots of tequila with my cat.

Inside Lauriano’s house we see a boy of about ten asleep on a cot. We will discover later that this is Lauriano’s little brother Chuy. As Lauriano makes a stink-face and takes out Chuy’s chamber pot we cut to Twinkle-tits and the ladies moving their frozen captives into a cave. Gamma asks Twinkle-tits to unfreeze them so she can have a little palaver. First we have Tawal, Prince of Mars.

Big eyes, big feet, big brain…no trousers.

Next is Uk, King of the Fire Planet, which could possibly be Mercury, possibly not. Uk is a big fussy baby who spends most of his screen time emitting whiny growls and flaring his nostrils.

He also not talk good.

Crassius (which is what he calls himself despite being listed in the credits as “Utirr"), the hairy spider guy we saw aboard the ship, hails from “The Red Planet," which I would say is Mars except we already have a monster from that planet and it’s sort of implied that all of the beasts are from different worlds. He also refers to his world as “Utare" and mentions its “seven moons." Mars has only two moons, of course but that isn’t the sort of factual discrepancy that would have deterred this particular team of screenwriters.

Crassius. He enjoys moonlit walks, daffodils and feasting on the bloody entrails of his freshly slain enemies.

The fourth monster is Zok. We never find out exactly where he’s from and I suspect he was shoehorned into the movie at the last minute by a producer who thought just three monsters weren’t quite enough to justify the title. He mostly appears only in the handful of scenes that take place in and around this cave and is conspicuously absent during the big fight at the end. He claims his people have lost their physical form but still have great power from “the atom." He appears as a cheesy human/animal hybrid skeleton and dangles from a visible string. He doesn’t get much to do but he does chuckle a lot like a creepy custodian at an all-girls boarding school.

I suspect Venus had strict “abstinence-only" sex education since Gamma thinks she could potentially make a baby with this guy.

So this little chat is just to let the boys know they’re gonna be left frozen in the cave for a bit while Twinkle-tits repairs the ship. They could have just stayed encased in their giant ice cubes the whole time and been none the wiser, of course, but then the audience wouldn’t have had an opportunity to get to know them as people with names and feelings and shit. Naturally they’re none too happy at having been kidnapped and imprisoned, and they all vow various levels of revenge for the loss of their liberty. After each beastie has said his piece Tawal loudly demands his immediate release and the others start acting up like they’re about to go full riot. Twinkle-tits shuts them down with his secret freeze-ray powers and the ladies leave to go capture Lauriano, their “most agreeable prey."

It strikes me at this point that the entire premise of the Venusians’ mission is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic horniness of the human male. Men do not have to be lied to, kidnapped or cajoled to make them have sex—it’s kind of the raison d’etre of their entire existence. All they’d have to have done was print up a few fliers and within twenty-four hours they’d have had enough volunteers to repopulate the whole damned solar system. It seems like they went to way too much trouble for something that could more easily have been achieved with a nearby horizontal surface and maybe with some free beer.

A more effective approach to interplanetary copulation.

Back at the ranch Lauriano gets a visit from his new friends and is thrilled to find they were not just an alcohol-induced hallucination. They claim they need to find lodgings “until the rest of the circus arrives." Lauriano explains that there are no hotels or hostels in town but that they are welcome to sleep there while he and Chuy sleep in the barn. Throughout their conversation it is clear that both Gamma and Beta have the hots for Laureano, but he clearly has eyes only for Gamma.

Laureano worries that his meager accommodations won’t be suitable, but Gamma explains that they have a friend who can arrange everything for them. Enter Twinkle-tits with his shambling walk, clanging and tinkling like a set of leaky water-bells in a hail storm, swaying back and forth with each movement of his awkward, shiny limbs. He may be strong and capable but he sure ain’t stealthy. Laureano and Chuy are frightened at first, but Beta explains that Twinkle-tits is the star of the circus, very friendly and likes children. Next thing you know he’s holding Chuy in his arms and trying to sing him a lullaby.

Gamma tells Laureano that she finds him charming, and Laureano wastes no time in asking whether she’s married or single, a question which puzzles the two Venusians. Laureano explains that you get married when you’re in love. They are unfamiliar with this concept. Gamma mesmerizes Laureano and Chuy and asks Twinkle-tits what it means. For once Mr. Know-It-All has no idea. His people didn’t know the word “Love."

More incisive social commentary from the comedy robot.

Wait a minute…is this going to be an Earth-man-teaches-beautiful-alien-woman-how-to-love movie? Fuck yeah, it is! Gamma gives Laureano a post-hypnotic suggestion, commanding him to explain love when he awakens, though I have a feeling he was about to go there on his own without all the hocus-pocus. He just happens to have a jukebox right there in his house, so what better way to explain the concept of love than through another peppy musical number? It should be noted that Lauriano can’t afford an indoor toilet but he can afford a full size, well-stocked personal jukebox. He certainly has his priorities straight.

Lauriano croons—mainly and specifically to Gamma—about the mysteries of love and the proper, decent and socially acceptable ways to express it. Love, he sings, is always between two, because between three, “well that’s just French."

That’s the second snarky reference to the French. Was there some mid-century cultural animosity between France and Mexico I don’t know about?

After the song Gamma wants a little demonstration of affection and Lauriano gives her a chaste little peck on the lips. Beta decides she wants in on that action and plants a big, aggressive wet kiss on him, which he quickly rebuffs. He’s a proper, decent and socially acceptable fellow, after all—with a well-calibrated moral compass that points straight to Gamma and instinctively away from Beta. We just know that’s about to cause a rift between the two celestial traveling companions and right on cue the conflict begins. Beta grabs the hypno-widget out of Gamma’s hand, mesmerizes Lauriano and asks Gamma’s permission to keep him. We see that Gamma wants that very thing for herself at this point, but staying true to her mission she says they will bring him back to Venus and “let the council decide." Beta gets mighty cranky, insisting that one way or another she will have Lauriano for herself. Gamma orders her back to the ship and she storms out of the house.

Gamma awakens Lauriano and they have a charmingly awkward little chat, obviously smitten with one another and unsure how to proceed. They share another G-rated kiss and there’s a quick insert shot of Twinkle-tits making his little water-bell sound.

It may just be a glitch in the Matrix, but it looks for an instant like he’s ever-so-slightly jiggling his shiny metal crotch.

Lauriano, not wanting to miss this opportunity, brings up the subject of marriage, suggesting naively that Gamma can’t live the circus life forever. Gamma, but for her mission and the fact that she barely knows this man, would clearly say yes, but tells Lauriano that she is not at liberty to make such a decision now and cannot answer as she’d like. He begs her to give him some hope and she promises she will give him an answer soon. She turns to go, and Lauriano exits after her. Twinkle-tits lingers a moment to hit on the jukebox.

Yes, that old chestnut.

I’m sure this subsequent shot of the inside of the jukebox—showing a 45 record smoothly entering a vertical slit as Twinkle-tits emits a sultry wolf-whistle—was not meant to suggest anything beyond the normal mechanical functioning of a 1960 Mexican jukebox.

Back at the ship Gamma is having a crisis of conscience, knowing she must betray her own growing feelings and kidnap Laureano to fulfill her mission. She confides to Twinkle-tits how unhappy she is that they are almost ready to return home to Venus. She attempts to call Beta from the main console and finds her standing outside a small house. She pleads with Beta “return to the ship or I’ll have to punish you!" but Beta, her back to the camera, does not acknowledge her. A drunken peasant comes stumbling out of the house in the distance and Beta turns to reveal…

Sweet Jesus…now it’s a vampire movie!

So what we have here is a romance/comedy/sci-fi/western/musical/horror film. I believe we have reached maximum density on how many genres can be crammed into a single production.

Beta transforms into what’s supposed to be a bat but looks suspiciously like a kite running down a zip line. She swoops onto the unfortunate inebriate and drinks his blood. The portentous music and Gamma’s devastated reaction tell us that Beta has just stirred herself up a deep vat of shit. Once Twinkle-tits teleports her back to the ship a seriously pissed-off commander Alpha confirms it: drinking human blood is a high crime punishable by disintegration!

“Dancing the Macarena naked and drinking directly out of the orange juice carton are, of course a very close second and third respectively."

Beta pretends at first to accept her fate, asking Gamma for pity’s sake to carry out the sentence immediately, but she suddenly lunges forward, steals the little radio-toaster carry-on bag thing that controls Twinkle-tits and throws Gamma into the brig where the monsters had previously been imprisoned. We now learn that Beta is from Uranus, the planet of Vampires, and that she wants to establish dominion over the Earth and use it as a feasting ground for her people. She high-tails it back to the cave to thaw out the beasts and hatch a little extraterrestrial coup-de-grace. She convinces the four monsters that since Gamma has chosen the men of Earth to be her interplanetary paramours she now has no further need for them and will have them all killed. If they will help her to take over Earth, however she will allow them to rule it with her. Tawal takes a vote from his fellow captives and they all agree to trust and obey her.

He also tries to feel her up a bit and frankly she doesn’t seem to mind.

Beta sends Crassius out to eat the children, Zok to ravage the women and Uk to kill all the animals. Tawal doesn’t get a specific job but it’s kind of implied that he and Beta are going to go into business together. By which I mean interspecies sexy times.

Next we see Uk breaking into Loreano’s barn to attack Lolobrijida. Loreano and Chuy are riding through the forest nearby and hear the distant cries, but they assume it’s the sound of the circus animals arriving in town. By the time they get back home poor Lolobrijida is nothing but bones.

You can clearly see the metal armature holding the bones in place.

Between shots some genius put a handful of hay between the jaws.

Laureano decides to track down the culprit, failing to consider that a creature capable of stripping a cow of every last scrap of hide, flesh and organs might be something you’d rather not meet alone in the forest at night. He follows the prints to a little gulch near the monster cave and suddenly Uk announces his presence by knocking over a tree. Laureano cracks wise a bit, not realizing the danger he’s in until Uk kills his horse with one swipe. After emptying his gun into Uk and being knocked to the ground by him a few times he finally realizes he’s way outmatched and tries to escape. Suddenly Tawal, Crassius and Zok appear atop the ridge and come down to gang up on him. He manages to escape these four super-intelligent extraterrestrials by crawling through a hollow log.

You can briefly see the actor playing Uk carrying Zok during the fight and accidentally dropping the prop as he bends down to pick up the end of the log. A few shots later he drops the log directly onto it.

It’s worth noting that this is, with the exception of one subsequent shot inside the rocket, the last we see of Zok onscreen. Perhaps he gave up dominating the Earth and got a job teaching anatomy, perhaps he was injured beyond repair while filming the riveting log escape sequence, or perhaps he’s still stalking the streets of Chihuahua Province to this day looking to unleash “the atom" on some unsuspecting senorita.

Laureano, like any great rural hero in a crisis, runs to town and directly to the bar, looking for fortify himself before the looming monster apocalypse arrives. He tries to warn the townsfolk of the coming danger, but sadly his reputation for tall tales has preceded him and no one believes him.

We cut to Beta watching this scene unfold on her monitor in the rocket. Of course she still wants Laureano to be her special boy-toy so she orders Twinkle-tits to go fetch him. What follows is a scene that’s the perfect encapsulation of the batshit insanity at the heart of La Nave de los Monstruos.

First Uk has a little scuffle with Twinkle-tits just before the latter teleports away to fetch Lauriano. Uk then lopes over into the brig and scoops up an unconscious Gamma, literally drooling on her in his cycloptic carnal desire.

“Uk want n’Ukkie!"

Tawal pokes Beta with a stinky finger or two, gushing all the while about how proud he is to be by her side for their conquest of Earth.

Thanks to his lack of trousers we can assume those fingers are pretty much all he’s got.

Crassius sends a long, hairy, phallic tentacle over and pulls Beta away from Tawal and into his arms. He doesn’t say a word but it’s pretty clear he wants a piece of that particular pie for himself.

Beta apparently likes ‘em lumpy and hirsute.

Beta notices Uk trying to cop a feel on Gamma and runs over to berate him. He wanders out, head bowed down like a whipped gimp and Beta gives them all a condescending little pep talk to keep up their team spirit. It’s clear these guys are all submissives and Beta is just the right mistress to bring them all to heel.

Hail, hail, the gangbang’s all here.

I’ve done very little in terms of analysis of this film as compared to my previous reviews because most of La Nave de los Monstruos is so downright silly it defies any attempt at serious critique. I was a bit surprised, however at how sexually charged this scene was and it’s worth briefly exploring the psychosexual dynamics behind it. Most films of this type made at this time do have a subtext of sexuality, but it’s generally subtle enough to fly under the radar of the casual viewer. The producers here took a chance that by framing strong, blatant sexual desire within the framework of a sci-fi fantasy they could get away with a great deal more than the cinematic standards of 1960 would normally allow. A clumsy robot chatting up a jukebox endowed with what appears to be a mechanical vagina is a sly bit of blue humor that could easily be dismissed as unintentional, but in this scene the sexual subtext actually supercedes the text itself. Awkward and ugly monsters stand in for the young men in the audience who are at an age where they worry that they themselves may be awkward and ugly. As they see these creatures cavorting with an intensely desirable woman—who not only does not shrink from their advances but actively encourages them—the audience can enjoy a vicarious moment of sexual confidence they have not yet experienced in their own lives. Meanwhile the producers get to pull the wool over the censors by saying “look how silly all of this is…space monsters, indeed!" It’s quite an impressive sleight-of-hand for what was obviously meant as an utterly disposable entertainment and goes a long way towards justifying the fond place La Nave de los Monstruous holds in the annals of Mexican cinema.

Meanwhile, back in town, Lauriano is drunkenly stumbling out of the cantina and regaling us with a surprisingly perky and upbeat tune about how the crazy monsters are coming and everyone in the town is going to die. He comments on the nature of the creatures in the bridges between verses.

“They were like some juiced-up, steroid-filled monkeys on pro-vitamins." *Actual dialog*

Twinkle-tits shows up and zaps himself and Laureano back to the rocket. Beta explains that she and Gamma are from another world, that she’s taken over their ship and that if he behaves she will allow him to rule the Earth by her side. He explains that he doesn’t feel that way about her and that his heart is no longer his own. She tries to intimidate him but he is too pure to be corrupted. Frustrated, Beta has Twinkle-tits transport him into the brig with with Gamma.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Gamma explains that Beta has stolen the all-powerful “command belt," that little radio-toaster thing that controls Twinkle-tits. So long as Beta has it, she explains, they can never defeat her. Laureano says if he can sweet talk Beta and get her to let her guard down he can swipe it from her. When she comes in and offers him his freedom if he will help her he decides to go along and see if he can make good on his boast.

Meanwhile Chuy has found the spaceship and is poking around outside. When Laureano and Beta leave to go to the monster cave Chuy slips inside. He accidentally starts the engines and gets himself locked in the brig with Gamma.

The cavalry.

Back at the cave the Monsters are waiting for Beta to return. Well, Tawal, Crassius and Uk are waiting but Zok is nowhere to be seen. Beta takes Laureano into a private cavern and makes him sing to her about love. They do a poorly choreographed dance throughout the number during which Laureano repeatedly attempts to steal the command belt, but Beta is too distracted by his deftly manicured moustache to notice. As the song ends Laureano finally manages to grab the belt—and his hat—before escaping from the cave with Beta in hot pursuit.

She bares her pointy vampire teeth and magically changes back into her black cat suit for the chase.

Laureano runs back to the rocket and manages to get inside. Twinkle-tits has reappeared but isn’t switched on, so he’s of no help to Laureano as he tries to switch the engines off. In fact, he accidentally launches the ship into space just as Beta and her slightly depleted crew of monsters arrives.

There’s a rather pointless sequence now where the ship takes off, orbits the Earth a few times and ultimately lands back in the same spot by a newly-liberated Gamma. The effects are once again taken from a number of different sources and it’s fun to spot the differences between the models.

First up is this bizarre shot representing multiple Earth orbits with a visible ring and with a latitude and longitude grid painted on the globe…

…then there’s a skinny rocket with a needle on the end of the cone…

…a three-engine rocket with longer fins, a ball on the end of the needle and a couple of nosecone stabilizers…

…a stocky, squat rocket with an angled cone and squared-off fins…

…and finally a full-sized set featuring eight engine exhausts and a big central tube with a hatch going down to the ground.

If there’s one thing I like best about La Nave de los Monstruos it’s the careful attention the filmmakers paid to visual continuity.

Once they land Laureano sends Chuy and Twinkle-tits outside for a moment while he sweet talks Gamma into staying with him on Earth.

I’ll bet he says that to all the sexy aliens.

Laureano and Gamma finally quit mooning long enough to remember they still have a vampire lady and a gang of creepy monsters to deal with. They arm themselves and go back to the cave, hoping to ambush and destroy the villains once and for all. Once there, however, Crassius manages to grab Laureano’s gun and engage him in a bit of very dangerous Greco-Roman wrestling. Gamma warns that Crassius’ fangs are full of deadly venom and that one bite will instantly kill!

“Smile you son of a bitch!"

Gamma calls Twinkle-tits who teleports in with Chuy. Out of nowhere come Tawal and Uk. The former attacks the boy while the latter tries to settle his grudge with the comedy robot who froze him in a block of just once too often.

Rumble in the jungle.

Beta, meanwhile has transformed herself back into a deadly kite and swoops down upon Gamma, who conveniently trips backwards directly underneath a fallen tree with a sharp, stake-like branch sticking out of it.

The majestic Uranusian Kite in her native habitat.

The majestic Uranusian Kite pretty much completely fucked.

Laureano finally gets the upper hand and manages to hoist Crassius on his own poisonous petard, forcing his venomous fangs into his hairy claw.

Yeah, that’s pretty much how poisonous fangs work, dumbass. You see, they’re hollow so the venom can…aw never mind.

Chuy breaks away, knocking Tawal to the ground. He pulls a slingshot from his pocket and sends a well-aimed shot directly into one of the Martian’s big, bulbous eyes.

His aim is true. Just like Elvis Costello.

The mighty Prince of Mars, defeated by a ten-year-old with a stone, a stick and a rubber band.

Finally Twinkle-tits lights Uk’s face on fire with his explodey metal claws and the intergalactic reign of terror is at an end.

The King of the Fire Planet dies by fire. Irony dies with a whimper.

There’s a bit of “comedy" now with Laureano trapped under the hairy spider-corpse and brick-headed Chuy thinking his big brother has been swallowed whole. They free Laureano, who runs around brandishing his gun and looking for a fight only to be told there’s no one left to shoot. All of the monsters, they tell him have been defeated. It seems to me they’ve completely forgotten about creepy old Zok, but apparently so did the director so no harm, no foul.

For no other discernable reason than to give a little extra pyrotechnics display for the adolescent audience they decide to shoot a few fireballs before they leave, sealing up the cave.

“We rented this fucking flamethrower and goddamn it we’re gonna use it!"

Back at the ship Gamma calls Alpha to tell her the mission has failed and she’s decided to stay on Earth with Laureano. The people of Earth, she explains, are good, decent people and should be left in peace.

Like that and 20 pesos will get you anything more than a cup of coffee.

Alpha tries to dissuade Gamma but her mind is made up. She and Laureano will stay behind to fuck themselves silly while the rest of the Venusians can just fuck themselves.

Twinkle-tits on the other hand will pilot the ship back to Venus and provide a full report to the council. We see that he is deliriously happy to do so. It turns out he is not traveling alone: the Juicy Jukebox with the saucy slit, now fully mobile, autonomous and ostensibly sentient, sings with him a sweet duet of love as they speed off into the depths of outer space.

God’s speed, Twinkle-tits! God’s speed, Juicy Jukebox!

The End!

This is the point where I would normally give you a list of “final observations" featuring little factoids about the film I’ve just reviewed, but honestly there’s not a whole lot of production information about this movie available. Just go forth and enjoy this delightful bucket of what-the-fuckery for yourself. If you can’t find something to love in La Nave de los Monstruous you probably don’t have a soul…and you’re definitely on the wrong website.

As for Sparky and I, we spent almost two months drinking bathtub tequila and soaking up the sun while the catnip farmers dragged their paws getting his shipment ready. It worked out perfectly for me—it was the best vacation I’ve ever had and took just enough time for the heat to die down in Lancaster. I think Sparky enjoyed it, too despite the seemingly endless delays. In fact he’s already been talking about planning another trip abroad and has been dropping cryptic hints about diversifying his business interests. He says there’s a serious catnip shortage right now in South Africa. I’ll bet there’s been some dreadful films made over there…I wonder if I can get Nate to approve a travel stipend.

As always, cheers and thanks for reading!

Watch this space!

Written in April 2018 by Bradley Lyndon

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