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06 August 2012

Robots and rayguns at film festival London MexFest

IF you thought director Ed Wood hit the low watermark for hokey dialogue and non-existent continuity – think again. Mexico had its own era of outlandish sci-fi films during the mid 20th century.

While the US developed and exported visions of the future from Invaders from Mars to Forbidden Planet, Mexico glorified its own, albeit fertile, pre-Cortesian history. A robot battling an Aztec mummy, a wrestler rescuing the world from Martians, a big chested Venusian falling for a Chihuahuan cowboy, female aliens plotting to harvest human lungs.

Cultural centre Rich Mix is showing a selection of these films, plus more recent and realistic movies, at upcoming Mexican film festival London MexFest.

These earlier films – clumsily known as Mexploitation – were massively popular during the 1950s and 1960s due, quite simply, to being so entertaining. They are movies poor in budget, but rich in imagination.

And if you can overlook the machismo, xenophobia, sexism, wobbly sets and unnecessarily skimpy clothing, you’ll discover what filmmakers and audiences may have believed what the 21th Century could become.

Their future promised us ray-guns and spaceships, and space suits and robots that performed our every whim before trying to destroy us and scoop out our brains. Sadly, we’re still waiting for it.

The Aztec Mummy vs The Human Robot; The Planet of the Female Invaders; Santo Vs the Martian Invasion; The Ship of Monsters will be showing at Rich Mix as part of the London MexFest film festival from 17 to 19 August. For more info, call: 020 7613 7498; or visit: www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/festival/london-mexfest

 

Scene from The Ship of Monsters

Scene from The Ship of Monsters

Scene from The Ship of Monsters Scene from Santo Vs the Martian Invasion

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