Doctor of Doom
Fans of mad doctors, luchadoras and/or feminist analyses of The Body in popular culture have a feast of entertainment—and beehive hairdos—awaiting them in "Doctor of Doom," a.k.a. Las luchadoras contra el médico asesino (1962). Not to be confused with the Tim Burton film of the same name or the Doctor Doom of Marvel comic fame, "Doctor of Doom" pits ladylike wrestlers against the evil machinations of men who hope to create perfect slaves by transplanting gorilla brains into their heads!
Lucha libre—freestyle wrestling—has been popular in Mexico since the early 20th century and luchadores such as Santo were featured in movies for decades. "Doctor of Doom" follows a similar formula, pitting a crazed villain against expert wrestlers. Though Gloria and Rubi don't wear the mascaras (masks) that are such a huge part of lucha libre tradition, the mysterious wrestler named Vendetta, who appears to challenge Gloria to a match, and her manager both wear them, even outside the ring. Strange as it may seem, this was not a practice limited to movies. It is said that Santo himself never went out in public—not even for a jug of milk—without his mask on, protecting his identity and the illusion that the luchadoros transcended everyday life (even when looking to fulfill their nutritional requirements).
American professional wrestling has a similar concept some call "kayfabe." Kayfabe refers to wrestlers keeping up the fictional rivalries and manufactured dramas that embellish the real athletics at the heart of the theatrical sport even when the wrestlers aren't in the ring or at an official promotional event. Amateur wrestler Andy Kaufman incorporated kayfabe into his career as a performer (you may remember him as Latka from the series Taxi), a practice 21st Century performer Sasha Baron Cohen has become known for as well.
Jason WatsonPsychologist Dr. Jason Watson of the Brain Institute discusses the notion of brain transplant, ethics and the film "Doctor of Doom."
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