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luchadormarch_640_jpgJEFFREY UHLMANN is not an idiot, to put it plainly. He has a PhD in robot engineering from Oxford (the one over there, yes) and a M.S. in computer science and to top it off, a B.A. from the University of Missouri. So why did I contact him for an interview on a site about B Movies? Because Senor Uhlmann, in addition to his higher education credentials, is a uniquely ambitious and gifted filmmaker. He has revived the classic genre of Luchadore Cinema with the brand new masked wrestler vs monster movie masterpiece, MIL MASCARAS VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY set for release in select US theaters April 24 by Monogram Releasing. The film marks the return to the screen of famous lucha hero Mil Mascaras (hence the title), with cameos by other famous masked legends like El Hijo del Santo and Blue Demon Jr. It’s a lucha film fan’s fantasy made flesh….

Will the Thrill: Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy is the ultimate film of its kind – I happen to be a huge lucha libre film fan myself, but how popular do you think this genre remains, in the US, Mexico, and abroad?

JU: The genre is very popular among fans of classic horror films and cult films worldwide. We’ve definitely seen that at festivals throughout the US and Europe where the film has played. What’s been most pleasing for us is the enthusiasm we’ve seen from people who have never been exposed to the genre before. For them it’s an exciting discovery.

Thrill: How were you exposed to the wacky, wonderful world of Mexican fantasy cinema?

JU: I loved watching the K. Gordon Murray dubbings of Mexican fantasy films as a kid. The fairy tale films left quite an impression on me because as a kid I really thought they were horrifying. Someday I’d like to try to capture the creepy, disturbing feel of those films in the form of an intentional horror film.

Thrill: How did you meet Mil Mascaras and coax him into returning to the classic lucha film?

JU: Mil and I have known each other professionally for quite awhile, and he knows that I take the genre very seriously, so no coaxing was required. The adjective “retro” has been used in connection with our new films, but I really don’t think it’s quite appropriate. Mil Mascaras has his sensibilities and standards, and they have been consistent throughout his career. There’s no attempt in our film to emulate his older films.

Thrill: Aztec mummies are a staple of Mexican films and hold an iconic status like that of Santo and Mil. It’s great to see a new incar2rgytmvnation, but your mummy is very loquacious and powerful, more like a comic book supervillain. (I also love how you worked in zombie henchmen, vampire babes and even a robot, all staples of the classic Mexican horror/sci-fi film.) What’s behind this updated concept for the mummy?

JU: A horror film set in Egypt is likely to involve an Egyptian mummy while a horror film set in Mexico is likely to involve an Aztec mummy. The big difference between our film and many of the classic Mexican Aztec mummy films is that, as you say, our mummy is purely villainous. Unlike earlier Aztec mummies such as Popoca, Xiu, Temozac, and others which sought only to avenge themselves after being disturbed and victimized by grave robbers, our mummy seeks to resurrect the Aztec empire and conquer the world. That’s something that warrants a call to Mil Mascaras.

Thrill: It looks like you’re single handedly reviving the lucha genre (MUCHAS GRACIAS!), do you have any others planned? Are you planning any films outside the lucha genre?

JU: We have a sequel to the mummy film in production right now, but don’t expect to see the mummy again until a later film. As for making non-lucha films, right now I see no point in moving outside of that genre. In fact, I think Hollywood should be asked when it will start moving outside of making so many non-lucha films.

Viva Mil Mascaras, Viva Senor Jeffrey, Viva La Lucha!

mill-aztec2smwebMIL MASCARAS VS THE AZTEC MUMMY opens April 24 in these theaters, courtesy of Monogram Releasing:

Nova at Sabal Palms
2539 South Federal Highway
Fort Pierce, Florida 34982

Nova Georgia
340 Tanger Drive
Commerce, Georgia 30529

Studio 10 Cinemas
1624 E. State Highway 44
Shelbyville, Indiana 46176
Movieline: 398-FLIX(3549)

Georgetown 14 Cinemas
3898 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46254
phone: (317) 291-3456

Nova 10
4353 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

Movie Palace Cinemas
1231 Woodland Drive
Elizabethtown, Kentucky 42701
phone: (270) 769-1505

Dixie Dozen Cinemas
6801 Dixie Highway
Louisville, Kentucky 40258
phone: (502) 935-3771

Theatres of Georgetown
401 Outlet Center Drive
Georgetown, Kentucky 40324

Branson Meadows Theatres
4740 Gretna Road
Branson, Missouri 65616
Branson Meadows Outlet Mall
Phone: 417-332-0464
Movie Hotline: 417-332-2884

The Amp Oxford Mississippi
206 Commonwealth Boulevard
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Movie Hotline: 662-236-4080

Portsmouth Cinemas
1623 Chillicothe Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
Movieline: 355-FILM(3456)

Lake Geneva 4
244 Broad Street
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 53147