Forgotten Nightmares: The Head of Pancho Villa (1957) (Mexico)

Mexico’s legendary Headless Rider returns and this time there’s many a dangerous secrets spelling out trouble with a capital T.

Keep it in your pants.

A tight knit group of soldiers who once served under General Villa are called to their comrades home by his doctor. There they get sworn to an oath of protection by their dying friend. He puts them in charge of guarding a mysterious black box with Aztec markings on it. The contents are unknown to the men but it is said to be the head of Pancho Villa himself which carries some strong magic with it. As easy as it should be to guard a severed head in a box (trust me on this one, I know) things are complicated by a hooded cult looking to get their hands on the cabeza of Pancho Villa.

Ooooph. Maybe some new costumes are in order.

As the men charged with watching over the box begin to disappear, one of them calls in a friend for protection. He’s already gone by the time Reynaldo shows up with his chubby and cowardly sidekick. Reynaldo sings his way into town and manages to stop the kidnapping attempt of a beautiful young woman by the cultists. He finds out this woman is the goddaughter of Eduardo Jimenez, one of the men who were given the box. He decides to stick around and dig a bit deeper into the mystery.

Reynaldo smooth

Reynaldo figures the best course of action is to get all the men who have not vanished yet together in one place. He offers his assistance and goes to personally deliver Eduardo’s letters to his men. Unfortunately this leads to Reynaldo arriving in the right place at the wrong time. Those cultists have set a trap and Reynaldo supposedly perishes in a dynamite explosion. Curious that right after Reynaldo is turned to ashes the Headless Rider comes to offer his assistance.

Ya don’t say

Presented in three chapters, The Head of Pancho Villa, definitely feels like an old serial. The weirdness usually prevalent in Mexican genre cinema is, for the most part, completely absent. There’s plenty of cultists running around and we even get a faceless old woman creeping about the Jimenez hacienda but nothing ever really reaches any level of exciting. Exposition heavy dialogue and a lack of any monsters helps to keep the Headless Rider adventure from being anything but forgettable. Still, I can’t hate anything featuring a headless cowboy kicking some black robe wearing cultists collective butts. 5/10


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