Luchador films are Mexican professional wrestling/action/science-fiction/horror films starring some of the most popular masked luchadores in Lucha Libre. The luchadores are portrayed as superheroes engaging in battles against a range of characters from spies, to vampires and Martians. These films were low-budget and produced quickly. Nearly all lucha films included fist-fighting and wrestling action sequences which were choreographed and performed by the stars without the aid of stunt doubles. The genre's popularity peaked during the mid-1960s to early-1970s. At least 150 luchador films were produced starting with the 1952 film Huracán Ramírez.
One of the most well-known Mexican luchador film stars was El Santo (Rodolfo Guzman Huerta), who starred in 52 films. Luis Enrique Vergara, the producer of the Santo movies and Mil Máscaras films, also created a Blue Demon series, similar to weekly comic book stories. Blue Demon starred in 25 lucha films. Vergara produced and at times wrote the scripts. He would cast beautiful, sensuous and well-built actresses into the movies, such as Altia Michel and Isela Vega as a foil to complement the masculinity of the superheroes.
In 1965, Santo walked out on producer Vergara over a contractual dispute, and Blue Demon suffered injuries and was thus unable to work. Vergara discovered Aaron Rodriguez, a young judo martial arts enthusiast, and offered him to star as Mil Máscaras. Máscaras was the first superhero/lucha libre personality created specifically for the movies, and he starred in 20 lucha films, including Enigma de muerte with John Carradine and Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy with El Hijo del Santo, Blue Demon Jr., and Huracan Ramirez Jr..
Lucha films also starred other masked luchadores including Tinieblas (The Darkness), Rayo de Jalisco, Sr. (Lightning from Jalisco), El Medico Asesino (The Killer Doctor), El Fantasma Blanco (The White Ghost) and Superzan. The most successful luchador film in Mexico was Las Momias de Guanajuato ("The Mummies of Guanajuato"). In that 1970 film, El Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras team up to battle a group of re-animated mummies.
When American producer K. Gordon Murray bought the rights to three of Santo’s lucha libre films, he dubbed them into English for domestic release and changed the name of the wrestling hero to "Samson". The best known luchador film made outside of Mexico is 1962's Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro ("Samson vs. the Vampire Women"), which was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Las Luchadoras ("The Wrestling Women") appeared in six films, the most famous being The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy (1964) and Doctor of Doom (1962). The popularity of lucha films started to decline by the mid-1970s and essentially came to the end by 1976. However, such films are still being created including the trilogy of Mil Mascaras films beginning with 2007's Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy and followed by Academy of Doom and Aztec Revenge.
Alejandro Muñoz Moreno (April 24, 1922 – December 16, 2000), better known by the ring name Blue Demon (Demonio Azul in Spanish), was a Mexican film actor and luchador enmascarado (Spanish for masked professional wrestler). Blue Demon was one of the original "big three" of the lucha libre tradition in Mexico (the other two being El Santo and Mil Máscaras). He was affectionately referred to as "Blue" and was known for his signature blue mask.Cinema of Mexico
The history of Mexican cinema goes back to the ending of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when several enthusiasts of the new medium documented historical events – most particularly the Mexican Revolution – and produced some movies that have only recently been rediscovered. During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Mexico all but dominated the Latin American film industry.
The Guadalajara International Film Festival is the most prestigious Latin American film festival and is held annually In Guadalajara, Mexico. Mexico has twice won the highest honor at the Cannes Film Festival, having won the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film for Maria Candelaria in 1946 and the Palme d'Or in 1961 for Viridiana, more than any other Latin American nation.
Mexico City is the fourth largest film and television production center in North America, as well as the largest in Latin America.
in 2019, Roma became the first Mexican film and third Latin American film winning the Oscar for best Foreign language film.Firpo Segura
Francisco Segura García (November 10, 1907 – January 15, 1968) was a Mexican Boxer, Movie actor and Luchador, or professional wrestler best known under the ring name Firpo Segura, given the name after the Argentine boxer Luis Ángel Firpo. As a boxer he held both the Mexican Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Championship and as a luchador he won the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship on four occasions and the Mexican National Middleweight Championship once. Segura became one of the first Mexican born stars of Lucha Libre and is at times referred to as the "First Idol of Lucha Libre" being one of the first Mexican born wrestlers to receive top billing in lucha libre.K. Gordon Murray
K. Gordon Murray (1922–1979) was an American producer, most notable for his redubbing and re-releasing of foreign fairy tale films for U.S. audiences. He is often cited as the "King of the Kiddie Matinee." Murray also marketed many of the Mexploitation luchador films, such as Santo films popular in Mexico, changing Santo's name to Samson and dubbing them in English.
Among his more famous contributions are Little Red Riding Hood (1960), Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters (1962), Rumpelstiltskin (1955), The Golden Goose (1964) and Santa Claus (1959), which he also narrated under the pseudonym "Ken Smith."Los Straitjackets
Los Straitjackets is an American instrumental rock band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, in 1988. Originally comprising guitarists Danny Amis (formerly of the Raybeats), Eddie Angel and drummer L. J. "Jimmy" Lester under the name The Straitjackets, the band split up soon after forming, but reunited as Los Straitjackets in 1994 with the addition of bassist E. Scott Esbeck. Esbeck left the band in 1998 and was replaced by Pete Curry. The current lineup also features Greg Townson on guitar and Chris Sprague on drums.
The band has released fourteen studio albums, four collaboration albums and eight live albums.Mil Máscaras
Mil Máscaras (born Aarón Rodríguez Arellano, July 15, 1942) is a Mexican luchador.
Máscaras is one of the original "Big Three" of the lucha libre tradition in Mexico (the other two being El Santo and Blue Demon). He is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all time for enhancing and popularizing the lucha libre style around the world both in the ring and as the star of 20 films. He is also an accomplished artist and cultural ambassador from his native country and has appeared on three of its postage stamps. He is a member of one of Mexico's most prominent wrestling families—his brothers José and Pablo respectively wrestle as Dos Caras and Sicodélico, José's older son Alberto wrestles as Alberto El Patron, José's younger son Guillermo wrestles as El Hijo de Dos Caras (an identity that Alberto had once used), and Pablo's son Aaron is better known as Sicodelico Jr.. Máscaras was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010, and the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012. His ring name is Spanish for "Thousand Masks".Murciélago Velázquez
Jesús Velázquez Quintero (February 22, 1910 – May 26, 1972), better known under the ring names El Murciélago Enmascarado ("The Masked Bat" in Spanish) and Murciélago Velázquez ("Bat Velázquez"), was a Mexican luchador or professional wrestler who was active from 1938 until 1956. Velázquez was the fourth wrestler in Mexico to wear a wrestling mask and the second Mexican to work as an enmascarado ("masked wrestler") in the history of lucha libre. He became the first wrestler in Mexico to be forced to unmask, losing a lucha de apuestas, or "Bet match" to Octavio Gaona, creating the most prestigious match type in lucha libre. He once held the Mexican National Middleweight Championship and after his retirement was the head of the Mexico City boxing and wrestling commission for a while.
Near the end of his in ring career Velázquez began acting in various Mexican films, including several Luchador films, working both with El Santo and Blue Demon. He also became involved in the creative aspects of movie making, writing several screenplays and stories over the years. The last movie he wrote the story for, La mujer del diablo, opened two years after his death.Nuevo Cine Mexicano
Nuevo Cine Mexicano, also referred to as New Mexican Cinema is a Mexican film movement started in the early 1990s. Filmmakers, critics, and scholars consider Nuevo Cine Mexicano a "rebirth" of Mexican cinema because of the production of higher-quality films. This rebirth led to high international praise as well as box-office success, unseen since the golden age of Mexican cinema of the 1930s to 1960s. The quality of Mexican films suffered in the decades following the golden age due in part to Mexican audiences watching more overseas films, especially Hollywood productions. This resulted in the rise of infamous Mexican genres such as Luchador films, sexicomedias and ultimately the low-budget direct-to-video Mexploitation film.Many themes addressed in Nuevo Cine Mexicano include the roles of gender, identity, tradition, and socio-political conflicts within Mexico itself. The movement has achieved international success with films such as director Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mamá También (2001), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and at the Golden Globes for Best Foreign Film, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Amores Perros (2000), which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.
There is debate over when this “new wave” of Mexican cinema began and whether there are any clear parameters as to how it differs from other Mexican film movements other than "newfound audience enthusiasm". Some cite the actual rejuvenation of Mexican cinema as starting in 1998 in a Post-NAFTA Mexico, beginning with the film Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears). Others believe it began because of the international acclaim of the films such as Like Water for Chocolate (1992) and its nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. The definition of Nuevo Cine Mexicano also leads to the question, "What is a Mexican film?"—is it Mexican film because of who makes or stars in it, or because it takes place in Mexico.Rayo de Jalisco Sr.
Máximino Linares Moreno (November 22, 1932 – July 19, 2018) was a Mexican luchador (professional wrestler) and lucha film star, better known under the ring name Rayo de Jalisco ("The Lightning Bolt from Jalisco"). He is considered to be one of the best wrestlers of his generation. Linares' son followed in his footsteps and is working under the name Rayo de Jalisco Jr., wearing the same distinctive black mask with silver lightning bolt on it when wrestling. One of Linares' grandsons is also a wrestler, known as "Rayman".
During his career, Linares held the NWA World Middleweight Championship on three occasions as well as the Mexican National Tag Team Championship with lucha libre icon El Santo. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996 and the AAA Hall of Fame in 2014. Linares worked for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre for a large part of his career and was honored by them in 2013 as part of their annual Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show.Rosa Carmina
Rosa Carmina Riverón Jiménez (born November 19, 1929 in Havana, Cuba), better known as Rosa Carmina, is a Cuban-born Mexican dancer, singer, rumbera, vedette and film and television actress.
She was discovered in Cuba by the Spanish filmmaker Juan Orol, and made her debut in Mexican cinema in Orol's film A Woman from the East in 1946. She quickly achieved great popularity in the Mexico thanks to her talent, demeanor, and unconventional stature (being very tall for an actresses of the time). For several years, she was part of the film crew of Juan Orol in his best Gangster films. Among these are the classic Gangsters Versus Cowboys (1948), considered one of the best Mexican films and considered a Cult film in several film clubs around the world. Additionally, Rosa Carmina was one of the principal stars of the Rumberas film of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. Among her principal Rumberas films are Tania, the Beautiful Wild Girl (1947), Wild Love (1949), In the Flesh (1951), Voyager (1952) and Sandra, the Woman of Fire (1954), among others. In her versatile career, Rosa Carmina has worked in various film genres, as well as theater and television. In the 1980s and 1990s she appeared in some Mexican telenovelas. Thanks to her film collaboration with Orol, she was known as The Queen of the Gangsters of Mexican cinema. She is also known under the name Her Majesty The Rumba.Rumberas film
The Rumberas film (in Spanish Cine de rumberas) was a film genre that flourished in Mexico, in the so-called Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. Its main stars were the so-called rumberas, dancers of Afro-Caribbean musical rhythms. The genre is a film curiosity, one of the most fascinating hybrids of the international cinema.Today, thanks to their unique characteristics, they are considered cult films. The Rumberas film as well luchador films, is one of the contributions of Mexican cinema to international cinema. The Rumberas film represented a social view of the Mexico of the 1940s and 1950s, specifically of those women considered as sinners and prostitutes, who confronted the moral and social conventions of their time. The genre was a more realistic approach to the Mexican society of that time. It was melodramas about the lives of these women, who were redeemed through exotic dances.Tinieblas
Manuel Leal (born June 8, 1939), better known as Tinieblas ("Darkness"), is a Mexican luchador.Triplemanía III-A
Triplemanía III-A was the first of three parts of the third Triplemanía professional wrestling show series promoted by Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). 1995 was second year to feature the "Triplemanía Series" of shows with 3, referred to as III-A, III-B and III-C. The show took place on June 10, 1995 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The Main event featured a 13-wrestler Steel Cage Elimination match, Lucha de Apuestas "Mask vs. Mask" match featuring the "Mini-Estrellas" division. The participants included Ninjita, Espectrito I, Espectrito II, Jerrito Estrada, Fuercita Guerrera, Mascarita Sagrada, Mini Calo, Octagoncito, La Parkita, Payasito Rojo, Payasito Azul, Super Muñequito, and Torerito. This marked the first and so far only time that the "Minis division" was featured in the main event of a Triplemanía. The show also featured the first of three Lucha de Apuestas, mask vs. mask match series for the Triplemanía III shows as the culmination of a storyline feud between the tecnico team (faces, those that portray the good guys) of Super Caló and Winners against the Rudo (heels, those that portray the bad guys) team known as Los Diabolicos ("The Diabolical Ones"; Ángel Mortal and Marabunta). Six of the eight matches were later shown on AAA's weekly Televisa show.Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling hall of fame that recognizes people who make significant contributions to the sport. It was founded in 1996 by Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Like other wrestling halls of fame, such as the WWE, TNA, and WCW hall of fames, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is not contained in a building, and there are no ceremonies for inductions other than a highly detailed biographical documentation of their career in the newsletter. Inductees include wrestlers, managers, promoters, trainers, and commentators. On eight occasions, tag teams have been inducted rather than the individual members of the team. This first occurred in 1996, when The Dusek family, The Fabulous Kangaroos, and The Road Warriors entered the hall. The Fabulous Freebirds, The Midnight Express, The Rock 'n' Roll Express, The Assassins and The Sharpe Brothers have also been inducted as a group.
Meltzer began the Hall of Fame by choosing a list of 122 inaugural inductees in 1996. Since then, wrestlers from past and present, others employed in the professional wrestling industry, and wrestling journalists and historians have been selected by Meltzer to cast secret ballots to determine annual groups of inductees. Voting criteria include the length of time spent in wrestling, historical significance, ability to attract viewers, and wrestling ability. Inductees must have at least 15 years of experience in the wrestling business or be over 35 years old and have 10 years of experience. To gain membership in the hall, potential inductees must receive 60% support on the ballots from their geographic region. Any person that gets less than 10% of the vote is eliminated from the ballot. If a person fails to get inducted 15 years after being put on the ballot, they must get 50% of the vote or be eliminated. There are 223 inductees, including the eight tag teams.
In 2008, a recall vote was held asking if 2003 inductee Chris Benoit, who killed his wife and son before committing suicide in June 2007, should remain in the hall. To have Benoit removed, Meltzer required that 60% of voters must agree with the proposal. Although the majority voted for Benoit's removal, they only represented 53.6% of the votes, falling short of the number required. Benoit remains on the list of inductees.
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