I watched this film last night, and holy mother of Millicent, this was a fun film. The Rider of the Skulls is a sort of Zorro, Batman, hybrid character, who travels through Mexico in the old west timey, righting wrongs and kicking monster booty.
The credit has the masked, The Rider of the Skulls riding through the Mexican countryside. He comes on a graveyard littered with human bones and rats. A werewolf howls. The rats scurry into human skulls. The werewolf murders a peasant. An old witch laughs. DAMN, the film kicks off to a great start.
The film is broken into three stories. The first story has The Rider of the Skulls track down the murderous werewolf. It's not much of a mystery who the werewolf is, but he murders a small girl, a couple of other folks, and a young boy's mother before he is dispatched with extreme prejudice. The boy and a local drunk/coward/fat/bearded/chump become the Rider of the Skulls' traveling companions.
A vampire terrorizes a village. This is a nosferatu, ugly, vampire bat looking bloodsucker. The Rider of the Skulls and his team send the Vampire back to the grave. This is the weakest of the stories.
The last story has a woman carrying around the decapitated head in a wooden box. Her father was a scientist and he removed the head from a corpse in order to study it. I missed exacty why, but the head's body is pissed off and murdering people. Finally, the head and body are reunited. People are captured and tied. The zombie, re-attached head guy has a posse of two skull faced killers. Lightening and thunder erupt. The woman and The Rider of the Skulls are captured and tied up. All looks lost. But through cleverness, the Riders' boy friend, and kickassery, good triumphs in the end.
The film is great fun. The cinematography is pretty good. Mostly medium shots with some fine placed, but too sparce, close ups. The Rider of the Skulls is cool. His little boy follower is not annoying and is actually quite clever and useful. The drunk old loser is not that drunk and not too much of a loser. The three stories are short and quick and do not drag.
The film was directed by Alfredo Salazar and released in 1965. However, the film feels like a very ahead of it's time film from the 1940's.
The DVD does not have English subtitles or a dub. There is a bootlegged version with subtitles out there. FIND IT!
I just realized that I didn't take any screenshots of any of the protagonists. The monsters just look too cool in this one. These shots could all be album covers with a little manipulation.
(Poster via dhoni101. I modified the top picture in Photoshop a bit. It has a cool, abstract, kind of Bela Lugosi's Dead/Cabinet of Caligari look to it, I think.)