If Warner Bros. Discovery axing an entire Batgirl movie so that it could save a few pennies and reboot its flailing DC movie universe is not an indication of a superhero-movie slump, I’m not sure what is (and Marvel’s not doing much better). The good news for fans of the prismatic fantastical cinematic possibilities that comic book adaptations offer: There’s been a wild Batwoman movie around to watch for 55 years and there’s a high-percent chance you’ve never seen it, let alone heard of it. Thanks to the curation-forward streaming service Mubi, that ends today.
To coincide with a retrospective at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, this August, Mubi presents Spectacle Every Day – The Many Seasons of Mexican Popular Cinema, a series that will guide movie lovers through the rich and often overlooked history of Mexican genre cinema.
Touting “never-before-seen works,” one of the series’ main events is René Cardona’s 1968 romp The Batwoman, a movie clearly capitalizing on the ’60s Batman TV series while having nothing to do with DC comic books whatsoever. This Batwoman, played by Maura Monti, is part detective, part wrestler, and all around Mad Scientist-stomper.
And here’s the rest of the lineup, which peppers in plenty of horror and exploitation:
Mubi says its retrospective “covers three decades of Mexican film production that remain ripe for rediscovery” — or in many cases, just discovery. While genre-movie history is well-chronicled, the conversation is often America-centric. Films like Japan’s Hausu or the Spanish-language Dracula can feel like the butt of jokes in conversation with gnarlier American movies, and over time, it’s drawn a line between “legit” films and “camp.” The Batwoman actually has had a platform for American audiences over the years: Mystery Science Theater 3000. But with all due respect to the jokester robots in the front row, the film sans commentary is spectacle. This new series should, hopefully, clear the air for these Mexican rarities.
Spectacle Every Day – The Many Seasons of Mexican Popular Cinema kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 2 on Mubi.