Halloween Havoc!: THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY (1959)


I first saw this movie when I was maybe 12 or 13 at a second-and-third run neighborhood theater. I remember thinking, “Boy, does this suck!”  After watching it again recently on TCM, my opinion hasn’t changed. THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY is a terrible film. Fortunately, I’m a connoisseur of terrible films, so I enjoyed it!


The opening narration is Straight Outta Ed Wood (“How far can the human mind penetrate the mysteries of the great beyond…”) We meet Dr. Alamda (Roman Gay) and his wife Flora (Rosa Arenas, who’s kinda hot). They’ve gathered some scientists and the story unfolds in flashbacks. Actually, I think it’s more like stock footage from the previous two AZTEC MUMMY series entries (yes, this silliness was a series!) Flora is the reincarnation of Xochtl, an Aztec princess who had a forbidden love with a warrior. For this trespass, Xotchl had her heart cut out, and loverboy was doomed to spend eternity guarding her tomb, with the sacred “Aztec breastplate and bracelet”. If this sounds vaguely familiar, think Imhotep in THE MUMMY,  Kharis in the 40s Mummy series, or Chris Lee in Hammer’s The Mummy.


Then there’s Dr. Krupp aka The Bat (Luis Aceves Castaneda), an “unscrupulous villain” who wants that valuable breastplate and bracelet. Krupp is the best part of the film, wildly over the top. His facial expressions alone make it worth a look! He’s apparently spent the last two films trying to obtain these riches, including getting Almada to translate the “Aztec hieroglyphics”. Which is strange, because Aztecs didn’t use hieroglyphics. Oh well, logic isn’t the movies strong point.


After sitting through nearly an hour of rehashing, we get to the meat of the film. Unfortunately, the film only runs 65 minutes, so there’s not much meat left on this Aztec bone. Krupp has returned and, after capturing Almada and his pal, he explains his mad plot (like all good supervillains, Krupp talks too much). He’s crated a “human robot” to battle the Mummy and get that Aztec treasure. With the loot, he’ll assemble an army of robots (“Maybe a thousand!”) to conquer the world!! Finally, we get to the titanic battle between the robot and the mummy, as promised in the title. If you know anything about movies like this, the battle isn’t titanic at all, as the robot is vanquished in about a minute. Maybe two minutes, tops. Flora gives the mummy back the breastplate and bracelet and sends him back to guard “the grave of our ancestors”.


Okay, CITIZEN KANE it ain’t. The American dialogue sounds like something I would’ve written in 7th grade, with the worst dubbing east of Toho Studios. Some of the flashback shots are atmospheric, but most of the film is indescribably inept. You keep waiting for something to happen, and when it finally does, it’s a major disappointment. THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY is on many “worst of all time” lists, but to give it a tiny bit of credit, I liked Castaneda as the mad Dr. Krupp. And Flora’s not bad to look at. This film made me laugh, though. It wasn’t intended to provoke chuckles, but if you’re a fan of “so bad they’re good” twinkies, you’ll get a kick out of THE ROBOT VS THE AZTEC MUMMY.


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