El Santo, Superstar from Mexico!
Pera Film is celebrating the cult star of Mexican Cinema: El Santo, the luchador, one of the most prolific monster fighters in the history of cinema. Presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Mexico and Cervantes Institute, the program El Santo Superstar, Mexico highlights five films exploring the cult and the imaginative from 1960s and 1970s, stories that surround one of Mexico's most treasured folk heroes.In addition to solving crimes and wooing beautiful women, Santo found the time to wrestle the Wolfman, Martians, mummies, and the Bermuda Triangle...over 50 movies.
El Santo (whose real name was Rodolfo Guzman Huerta) was born on Sept. 23, 1917 in Tulancigo, Hidalgo, Mexico. He began his professional wrestling career at the age of 16 under his own name in 1934. He first appeared in the ring under the name "El Santo” eight years later. He continued to wrestle until 1982. Santo started out as a "rudo" (bad guy) in the ring, but years later (in the early sixties) decided that becoming a technico (good guy) would greatly enhance his career. A publisher named Jose Cruz started a "fumetti"-style comic book in 1952, featuring Santo's adventures fighting crime and monsters on a weekly basis, which popularized Santo into a near-legendary figure in Mexico. The comic book series (4 volumes) ran continuously for about 35 years, and is probably the most famous superhero comic book in Mexico. It was only in 1961 when producer Alberto Lopez hired him to star as "El Santo" in the now classic "Santo Vs. The Zombies" that his actual film career began.
From 1958 to 1982, Santo starred in over 50 films. By 1977, the masked wrestler film craze had practically died off, but Santo continued to appear in more films over the next few years. His last film was "Fury Of The Karate Experts", shot in Florida in 1982, the same year he retired from the ring. He died from a heart attack a week later on Feb. 5, 1984. As per his wishes, he was buried wearing his famous silver mask.