Mexican Genre Fun From The 60s

Batwoman is Creature From the Black Lagoon meets Adam West’s Batman, filtered through the vibrant Mexican pro wrestling tradition. The campy b-movie from Mexico was made in 1968 after Batman first took off on American television.

Clearly unauthorized by DC Comics with no real connection to Batman or his mythos, director René Cardona fashions crime fighting luchador hijinx in grand style. Cheesy but fun, it’s underground entertainment from the Sixties with vivacious star Maura Monti playing a heroine whose adventures track closely with Adam West’s Batman. Could West pull off a two-piece bikini and cape costume like Monti? I think not. Maura Monti here is a dead ringer for a young Lynda Carter.

Batwoman is underground entertainment from the Sixties with vivacious star Maura Monti

With no connection to the character currently starring on the CW, Batwoman investigates a series of murders in Acapulco by a mad scientist. The evil doctor is using pineal gland fluid extracted from his victims, in the hopes of creating a monstrous Fish-Man hybrid creature. Batwoman works closely with the police during her investigation, while also moonlighting as a Mexican luchador during the day.

Batwoman is incredibly fun if you don’t take your superheroes seriously, especially if you loved Batman’s comic television series from the same period. There’s just so much to like about the Mexican b-movie, from the hilarious-looking fish monster to impressive underwater shots.

Cheesy crime-fighting scenarios with enough grit to keep the audience awake, it’s a shame Batwoman faded into obscurity. Pulling from James Bond and other influences, the results are a delightful love letter with genre overtones even if the intentions were to make a serious adventure flick.

The Batwoman Blu-ray screen shot

Video

I have no idea who VCI is fooling with claims of a “4K restoration from the original negatives.” There’s so much DNR and sharpening in the transfer that it’s hard determining what film elements were used. I believe several scenes may have been sourced from inferior sources. It’s a shame because Batwoman has some interesting underwater cinematography for its era and beautiful shots of Acapulco’s beach.

The colorful Batwoman was released in 1968 and generally resembles some of the lesser television productions from that era. Presented near its original aspect ratio at 1.78:1, the 1080P video wavers in sharpness and definition. Running nearly 80 minutes on a BD-50, the AVC encode holds up despite modest parameters.

Batwoman’s contrast and primary colors are pretty decent. It’s everything else that is suspect. Detail has been obliterated by aggressive processing. Artificial sharpening produces almost glowing halos around objects. The elements are stable with consistent clarity. There’s less print damage than expected.

There’s no way this is the best possible HD transfer for Batwoman. It’s another slapdash effort by VCI from questionable sources.

Audio

VCI has made the curious decision not to include the original Spanish audio for Batwoman. Heavily hyping up the double-feature as “Mexican genre classics in English”, what sounds like fairly recent English dubs are included for both movies.

The 2.0 PCM English audio in mono is serviceable with normal recording fidelity. The English is heavily accented but largely gets the job done. A smooth Jazz score is probably the soundtrack’s biggest highlight. Presumably copying the original Spanish audio, a narrator reads aloud the English signs that appear on screen in a couple of spots. Which makes little sense for an English-speaking audience hearing English audio.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a yellow font.

Extras

This is actually a double-feature release by VCI with another luchador movie from Mexico, made by the same director and producer team. Directed by René Cardona, The Panther Women (1967) is a black-and-white genre flick in much the same vein as Batwoman, though they are unrelated. That movie makes its first appearance on disc in America.

The disc is coded for all regions. Both movies share one BD. The trailers below are new, made by VCI for marketing purposes.

The Panther Woman Trailer (01:55 in SD)

Santo In The Treasure of Dracula Trailer (01:58 in HD)

Santo Vs. Frankenstein’s Daughter Trailer (01:58 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Batwoman
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

A delightfully fun Mexican genre underground classic with stunner Maura Monti running around as a caped heroine fighting a mad scientist and his Fish-Man creature.

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