what's in it for eric: Character introduction in santo and the blue demon vs dracula and the wolfman
Eric has a bit of a hump back, as to be expected. What good villain’s assistant in a horror movie doesn’t? Eric also knows what needs to be done to bring his ‘employers’ back into town - the blood of their enemy. Or at least the blood of their enemy’s descendants- it' complicated ok, maybe we should have started with Santo in the Treasure of Dracula [Santo en El tesoro de Dracula] (1969), but we didn't so bare with me. Eric might just be one of my favorite characters in Santo and Blue Demon versus Dracula and the Wolfman [Santo y Blue Demon vs Dracula y el Hombre Lobo] (1973). As you might have guessed from the title of this series, it’s because of his introduction.
While Santo, and later Blue Demon, are introduced to the audience in a fashion we would expect, a wrestling match, Eric on the other hand is introduced standing in between two flame throwing bat heads and wearing a maroon crushed velvet shirt - no competition as to who has the better intro. Eric is doing his thing, trying to, as he puts it “get his employers into town”. This starts with an incantation and some blood. There is a juxtaposition of Santo’s introduction and Eric’s. At the same time this is because it’s not really Eric’s introduction the film is showing you. It is Dracula and the Wolfman’s. Eric is just a catalyst. It reminds me of the re-introduction to Dracula in Hammer's amazing Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966). Eric is a Klove type character, but much much more. He's doing double duty. He has to figure out a way to get blood to drip on both Dracula AND the Wolfman. Why both are revived in the same manner is beyond me, but it works. Eric cuts the throat of Professor Cristaldi and evokes the sacred book of the Kabbalah (or at least in the dub I saw).
Wait, is Dracula a Golem brought back to life to protect the cave dwelling wolf people and their sacred stake pit ritual?
We're getting off subject. Once the task is complete Drac and Wolfy take over the task of getting rid of the Cristaldi family. But what's in it for Eric, he just wants the gold (see previous mentioned Santo film to see the gold Eric is referring to).
Many characters with great introductions fall short of they hype. Eric is one of those. For all his intensity, he really just wants power for himself. While you can argue with me, you can't argue with Eric's choices in the film - Kill a guy to bring back two evil dudes. When, given the opportunity to betray said 'evil dudes', immediately stab them in the back, even if this opportunity just fell into your hands. In the end, no spoilers, it doesn't work out for Eric. But man he had his moment of glory with those flaming bat heads.
One thing we can learn from Eric, and other like him is that there always has to be someone to bring back Dracula, and usually that person both never gets enough credit and at the same time, get's what they deserve. So let's take a moment to bask in the glow of those flaming bat heads and remember that without Eric, Dracula would still be in his grave and we would have no movie. Thanks Eric.
I watched Santo and Blue Demon vs Dracula and the Wolfman on Tubi. At the time of posting this, it is still available with a bunch of other Santo films. Many of these are thanks to Shout Factory with some really great restored prints. Bit shout out to Twitch of the Death Nerve Podcast for turning me on to these films on Tubi. Listen to their episode on Santo here.
One last thing...who wins this chess match Santo or Blue Demon?