The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

YAMBAO (1957) **

Mexican horror stalwart Ramon Gay took a break from the Aztec Mummy series long enough to star in this uneven voodoo fueled horror musical. 


Yambao (Ninon Sevilla) is a young slave girl who returns home to her plantation beating on a set of forbidden drums, which is a bad omen for the superstitious slaves.  Pretty soon a plague sweeps over the slaves and people blame it all on Yambao.  The plantation owner (Gay) tries to keep everybody in line, but when the slaves try to burn her at the stake, he rescues her.  She tries to seduce him, but when he refuses, Yambao calls upon her voodoo ancestry to make him fall in love with her. 


It’s in color, a rarity for Mexican horror flicks, which sometimes makes the movie resemble a South of the Border Gone with the Wind.  (Gay looks a bit like Clark Gable too.)  The tribal dancing and singing are all well shot and choreographed, but some of the other songs are pretty dreadful.  Things may occasionally get bogged down, but whenever Sevilla is on screen strutting her stuff, it’s damn good times.  Sevilla is quite the spitfire and does a lot of sexy, seductive dances and her performance is compulsively watchable, but when the focus shifts to Gay and his pregnant wife, the movie turns into a leaden soap opera.  Whenever the proceedings get a tad boring, you can always amuse yourself by counting the Mexican extras dressed in blackface. 


Sevilla naturally gets the movie’s best line:  “The eagle doesn’t mate with the hen!”


AKA:  Cry of the Bewitched.  AKA:  Young and Evil.

Tags: horror, musical, y
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