Lego Shop of Horrors

I am not a card-toting Lego nut. Honest. Not me. But events have conspired to induct me into Legodom in a big (and somewhat expensive) way. It’s called Lego Monster Fighters and it’s damn cool. Finally, after Star Wars, superheroes, and Lord of the Rings, Lego turned its attention to the most enduring pop culture there is: Horror.

Let me go back a bit. As a pre-teen I was a Lego nut. Admittedly. Back in the day (this would be the early 80s) there were no elaborate Lego kits. The one I recall was this moon lander kit. Mostly I just jimmied parts together to make interesting things

Why did I stop with the tiny plastic bricks. Basically life. I could mark the official end as the year I got my driver’s license. With freedom came girls and traveling. Legos didn’t fit in very well.

Fast forward twenty-five years and I now have a five-year-old daughter. True, she’s been playing with Duplos since she was one or two, but things really took off this year. First she created her own Lego Hulk. Then I bought her the Lego Avenger’s kit (which took me hours to assemble). Finally her birthday was only a short time later. When I saw that Lego had gone to the monsters, I had to bite. You see everyone in my family (daughter, wife, myself) are unabashed monster nuts. So here you go, the assembled Lego kits for three of the Monster Fighter sets.

Here’s the long view of “The Vampyre Castle”. Lego has come a long way since the moon lander series. This has a trap door, a secret room concealed with moveable stairs, and a Lego coffin.

Here’s a view of all the monsters. The werewolf comes from a different set (“The Werewolf”) where he launches out of a tree at one of the monster hunters. Check out the front of that car. The monster hunters have all the cool rides.

Finally we have “The Crazy Scientist and His Monster”. It has a “glow brick” that lights up with a Lego gear system (how very Steampunk). The figures for all the sets are astounding. I’m told that these sets aren’t available everywhere just yet. But they’re coming.

Tim Kane

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Lucha Libre and Monsters

One of my favorite restaurants I frequent is Lucha Libre near the airport in San Diego. They make a mean chocolate mole sauce and astounding salsa. The theme of this tiny taco shop is lucha libre (thus the name). If you’re not familiar with this odd Spanish term it means “free fighting” or basically Mexican wresting.

The wrestlers of Mexico often don masks when they fight. Remember Nacho Libre, that movie with Jack Black? Same deal. However, the history of this “sport” involves secret agents, musicals, aliens, and monsters.

The first famous masked wrestler was El Santo (The Saint). Way back in 1942, El Santo changed wresting by wearing his trademark silver mask. Yet he was not constrained by the limitations of the ring. By 1958, El Santo branched out to make movies. He rode the wave of Hammer horror films as well as the James Bond films.

You can view many of El Santo’s movie posters at El Año de El Santo (The Year of El Santo). I’ve included some favorites here.

Santo against the Bad Brain was Santo’s first film.

Santo is only referred to as El Enmascarado (the masked man) and has nearly no lines in this film.

Santo and Dracula’s Treasure

This 1968 “classic” features El Santo inventing a time machine. (He was a man of many talents). They travel back in time to face of with Dracula. This movie is most famous for the version you can’t find: Santo en El vampiro y el sexo. That was the same film but with an overabundance of nude scenes.

El Santo is teamed up with Blue Demon. They fight all the monsters (from left to right): Vampire Woman, Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, and Cyclops.

Here’s the complicated plot to “Los Montruos” (1969), see if you can follow it. A mad scientist takes control of the monsters and sics them on the wrestlers. That’s pretty much it.

I sense some copyright infringement here with Marvel. Too bad the movie was made almost 40 years ago in Turkey.

El Santo teamed up with Captain America (which I could totally see, by the way) to take on Spider-man (who is apparently a villain). This gem came out in 1973 in Turkey. Completely unlicensed, the Turks felt they could lift any character to use in their films.

For a full list of Santo’s exploits and reviews of his films, check out The Films of El Santo.

Tim Kane