Undercover agent Joaquin (Joaquin Cordero) is being chased by four men. He manages to shoot one of them but ends up being shot himself. While Santo battles the other three men a witness phones for help. The ambulance arrives to take Joaquin to the hospital.

As he lies wounded he replays his last mission in his head. Joaquin had been assigned to infiltrate a gang of smugglers in Cuba. An arranged fist fight at an outside beach café results in Joaquin escaping with the smugglers. Joaquin tells the second in command, Jaime Suarez, that he robbed a bank and got away with 100,000 dollars. The smugglers are impressed and invite him to join the gang. The gang picks up a shipment of drugs offshore and then head back to the island.

Later one of the gang sees Joaquin pass a note to his girlfriend Myrna (Gina Romand). They kidnap her and confront him. Joaquin’s only hope lies in the skill and strength of another secret agent, a man only known as the masked man.

“Santo vs the Infernal Men” AKA “Santo contra hombres infernales” was released in 1961 and was directed by Joselito Rodriguez. The film is a low budget Mexican-Cuban co-production and is an espionage adventure movie. Technically I don’t think you could call it a luchador film since there is no ring fight and Santo is not a luchador in the movie. It is one of two movies Santo made in Cuba and is Santo’s second film. The first, which was also made in Cuba, was “Santo vs The Evil Brain”. Both movies were made in 1958 but not released until 1961.

Although the movie’s not very good there are a couple things about it that are worthy of note. The movie was filmed in Pre-Castro Cuba. It is a snapshot of the island before Castro’s regime and a nice look at Havana in the 50’s. I’m not sure how much better Cuba fared before Castro since Fulgencio Batista was not a nice guy either. After all, that’s why they had a revolution. Santo is not a wrestler in the movie but an international agent who just happens to wear tights and a mask. OK. No one knows who he is or where he comes from. He doesn’t even have a name in the film.

The movie is short on plot but long on padding. Secret agents are all over the place, passing messages to each other, following smugglers and smugglers are following agents. There is also a musical number in the film as well as a flamenco dance number. What is not in the movie a lot is Santo. Joaquin Cordero is the star of the film and is in most of the scenes. Santo appears occasionally and only to smack around a few bad guys. It’s not his best movie and it gets kinda sappy at the end so it’s not going to be great to luchador fans unless you’re a Santo completist.

I’m not sure where the title came from unless it’s just a literal translation of the Spanish title. Infernales in Spanish can mean hellish, diabolical or horrible as well as infernal.

Santo retired in January 1984. A year later he was a guest on a Mexican television program. Without warning he lifted his mask just enough to briefly expose his face. This was taken as him bidding his fans goodbye. It is the only time ever known of him removing his mask in public. The next week Santo died of a heart attack. Santo was buried wearing his famous silver mask. It’s estimated that at least ten thousand people attended his funeral.

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