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The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy

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Mad scientist, Dr. Krupp, is back to his old tricks in “Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy” (1957-58), the sequel to Mexi-horror classics “The Aztec Mummy” and “Curse of the Aztec Mummy”. In it, Krupp builds a robot designed to lure the mummy Popoca out of his tomb so he can steal its treasure. Complicating the plot is Dr. Eduardo Almada and his wife, Flor, who reveals under hypnosis that she is none other than the reincarnation of Xochi, the Aztec princess who’d been offered as a human sacrifice when busted for trying to elope with her sweetheart: Popoca.

Titled “La momia azteca contra el robot humano” in its original Mexican release, the film was dubbed in English, adding another layer of camp to the fun for UEN SciFi Friday audiences. Yet at its core, the story is still very Mexican, playing with the history and culture of that civilization in the way that “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” rely on European motifs to lend gothic drama to a contemporary story.

The Aztecs dominated much of Mesoamerica between the 1300s and 1500s, and were a flourishing civilization when the Spaniards encountered them in the 16th century. Their religious practices included human sacrifice, a concept so fascinating and revolting to 20th century moviegoers, it made a dramatic motif in horror movies such as those in the Aztec Mummy series. There was, of course, much more to Aztec life than that, however; agriculture, poetry, and the unification of diverse cultures under the Aztec political system are just a few of the ways this civilization helped shape the Americas we know today.

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Mark Christensen

Mark Christensen Scholar Mark Christensen of the University of Utah discusses Aztec civilization and the film "The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy."

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