Bat Woman (The) AKA La mujer murcielago (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (24th March 2024).
The Film

Wrestlers, mad doctors, and human-fish hybrids abound in The Bat Woman (La mujer murciélago), a colourful showcase for the talents of Italian Mexican sex symbol Maura Monti.

When Acapulco’s wrestlers start being murdered and their pineal glands mysteriously extracted, the wealthy luchadora Gloria (Monti) adopts her crime-fighting persona of the Bat Woman. Donning her disguise of shiny blue mask, cape, and micro-bikini, she teams up with agent Mario (Héctor Godoy) to foil the evil Dr Williams (Roberto Cañedo) in his dastardly plan to create an army of amphibious ‘fish-men’.

Produced by Guillermo Calderón (Santo vs. the Riders of Terror) and directed by René Cardona (The Panther Women), The Bat Woman is an eye-popping, high-camp blend of lucha libre and superhero action.


Another in the long line of masked wrester (Luchador) films produced in Mexico and are hugely popular to this day. Essentially these films play very much as comic strip, superhero escapades and The Bat Woman is obviously a response to William Dozier's classic American TV series Batman (1966-69) which was bringing in decent ratings and had spawned a theatrical feature film. That said, this film lacks intended camp and overt humour, with everyone playing it all straight. As with Powerhouse's concurrent release of Santo vs. the Riders of Terror (1970) this is an exquisitely restored, colourful slab of populist entertainment. From the booklet:
The Bat Woman was restored in 4K by Permanencia Voluntaria and Cinema Preservation Alliance, in collaboration with Academy Film Archive and Paso Del Norte, from the original camera negatives. The film’s mono audio was remastered from the original optical soundtrack.
Colour values re extremely strong and emphasise primaries with warm, ruddy flesh tones. The blue of Batwoman's attire is strikingly vivid and contrasts well with vast amount of bare flesh she displays; she plays much of the film in a tiny cape, mask, bikini and boots ... but, no nudity. This is a family film after all.

Contrast and black levels are well balanced with both working in concert to produce a strong image. That said this isn't as punchy as the Santo release due to the flatter cinematography, perhaps to befit the then contemporary setting vs Santo's period western aesthetic? The image is generally soft with fine detail appearing strong in closeups and in more well it exteriors which display stronger contrast. Opticals are also affected, but this has always been the case. Grain is ever present and well handled by the top notch encode from Fidelity in Motion. This is a fine, filmic transfer with no print damage, age-related issues nor digital sharpening ('A-')

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.66:1 / 81:08


Spanish LPCM 1.0 (48kHz, 16-bit)
Subtitles: English (optional)

My comments from the Santo vs. the Riders of Terror disc review apply precisely here as well: Sound is as you'd expect from a mono track for a film of the period, solid with good fidelity if limited range. Dialogue is production sound (no dubbing) and always clear. Scoring is well balanced, sound effects come through clearly and there's the expected levels of very mild hiss, especially when the soundtrack is played louder than usual but no distortion creeps in. The optional .english subtitles are typically excellent and comprehensive ('B+').


Audio commentary with film historian David Wilt (2024)

Another excellent commentary from Wilt who also handled the same duty on Santo vs. the Riders of Terror. We get a nice, concise history of the film's release starting with its initial release talking about releasing style in Mexico. Which is, to open in a few bigger cinemas before being rolled out nationally; it was still playing as late as 1973. the internationally theatrical releases are also covered. Other topics: being inspired by the Batman TV series, DC Comics' litigious approach to potential copycat films, Bat Woman managed to avoid this somehow; the rare nature of the film being an action film that's female led; the locations and studio shooting amongst other trivia along with info on the cast and crew. Presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (48kHz, 112Kbps) with no subtitles for the hard of hearing.

"Bat of Nine Lives: Maura Fazi Pastorino AKA Maura Monti Discusses Her Life and Career" 2024 interview (18:23)
"Adventures in Mexicolour: Mauricio Matamoros Durán on Maura Monti and Mexican Pop and Comic-Book Culture" 2024 interview (20:20)
"Fantastique Creatures: José Luis Ortega Torres on The Bat Woman and Monsters in Mexican Genre Cinema" 2024 interview (13:53)

52:36 worth of new interviews covering the production through the eyes of it's Italian born leading lady Pastorino (AKA Maura Monti) who discusses how she was raised in the UK (Tunbridge Wells!), followed by her move to Mexico. Her life as a model, her mother's influence, her work in Mexican films and on television, working with and befriending Cantinflas (he have her away at her wedding to director Gilberto Gazcón), working with producer Guillermo Calderón, director René Cardona sr., actors Boris Karloff, Jorge Rivero, Isela Vega and others. Interestingly she liked doing stunts, although she didn't do the wrestling. Her post acting career involvement with Centro Cultural de Chiapas Jaime Sabines which cultivated writers is also covered.

The other two interviews cover Mexican genre culture and how it sits in the historical and sociopolitical times in which it was created. The first covers the origins of Luchador cinema are covered, their links to comic books (also fotonovelas, using photomontage) and the wrestling profession etc, the influence of Fleming's Bond books (and later the films) on Mexican cinema (the Alex Dimano comics, books and films) and Alejandro Jodorowsky's influence (Anibal 5). The final segment concentrates more on the fantastique and the connections The Bat Woman had to Batman and the use of monsters in these films and also the Mexican gothic horror cinema (some of which have already been released by Powerhouse Films in treasured editions). All three are presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (48kHz, 112Kbps) with optional English subtitles.

Theatrical Trailer (3:06)

Vintage promo presented in 1080p24 1.66:1 with

The Bat Woman Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (83 images)

Chunky HD image gallery with plenty to savour.

80-page liner notes book with a new essay by Dolores Tierney, archival essays by Doyle Greene and Andrew Coe, archival interviews with Maura Monti and full film credits

Another masterful hardcopy companion offering much contex to the enjoyment of the film.


Not sent for review.


One of the better Luchador-Superhero comic fantasies I've seen, this is a goofy, silly good time even if it ain't gonna win any awards. Image and sound are very strong with plenty of fabulous extras. These Mexican restorations are very good indeed and fans can consider this one as essential as the others. Highly recommended. Overall rating is 'A-'.

The Film: B- Video: A- Audio: B+ Extras: A Overall: A-


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