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Autopsia de un Fantasma

Autopsy of a Ghost

Mexico 1968
produced by
Ismael Rodríguez, Luis Quintanilla Rico (executive) for Películas Rodríguez
directed by Ismael Rodríguez
starring Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Amadee Chabot, Cameron Mitchell, Pompín Iglesias, Nacho Contla, Manuel Palacios (as Manolin), Estanislao Schillinsky, Carlos Pinar, Susana Cabrera, Famie Kaufman (as Vitola), Javier Lopéz (as Chabela), Pancho Córdova, Delia Magana, Mario García Harapos, Ahui Camacho (as Ahuizotl), Jorge Delong, Hermanas Tejada, Arturo Castro Bigotón, Manuel Trjo Morales
written by Ismael Rodríguez, story collaborators: Mario Hernández, Carlos Pinbar, dialogue by Pedro de Urdimalas, music by Raúl Lavista

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Pérez (Basil Rathbone) has spent the last 400 years in transit between death and heaven or hell, with nobody but his always nagging skeleton as company because he committed suicide but repented his sins in the last moment - so is it up or down? Finally, God has made a decision: If Pérez can make a woman fall in love with him and give her life for him, he'll go to heaven ... but there is of course a catch, Pérez can't leave the mansion he died in, and none other than Satan (John Carradine) himself is to choose the women who will visit the mansion.

Satan of course sets some fun things in motion to complicate matters for Pérez: First he makes a bank teller (Pompín Iglesias) steal half a fortune from his bank and hide it in the mansion, then he sees to it that quite a few people, including the bank teller's greedy aunt (Famie Kaufman a.k.a. Vitola) learn where the money is hidden so they'll turn the mansion upside down and try to scare each other off. And to complicate matters further, Satan also sees to it that a mad scientist (Cameron Mitchell) with family moves into the mansion, and especially his sexy daughter (Amadee Chabot) who always runs around in underwear turns a few heads, while his female robot Robotina (Jorge Delong) with a violent streak sees to it that there's always enough action in the house, even if the professor's latest experiment doesn't explode by mistake.

In this flurry of events, Pérez tries to pick up woman after woman, but to no avail ... until he crosses paths with Robotina, who has just beaten a few of the treasure hunters to a pulp and initially thinks Pérez is one of them - but then he tells her about his life after death, and she, unloved by her creator and his family, can sympathize.

Eventually, all the treasure hunters are captured by the police, and the professor invents a machine to find Pérez's skeleton to grind it to a dust and therefore send him to neither heaven nor hell but oblivion - but when he's almost done, Robotina throws herself onto the machine and destroys it, giving her own "life" in the process. Pérez is now allowed into heaven, but he's also deeply humbled.


One can't deny, Autopsia de un Fantasma features some brilliant jokes one wouldn't come to expect from a mainstream Mexican horror comedy for the whole family from the late 1960's, weird sight gags, absurd sequences and over-the-top ideas, several of which would make even Monty Python proud, plus the cast really seems to enjoy themselves - but the film just lacks a coherent framework to go with this, so it goes off into all kinds of different directions, and at times the clever jokes give away to cheap slapstick and predictable punchlines, and the ending - well, it's just a bit too cheesy to be interesting. And the whole thing goes on for at least half an hour too long.

All that said, for a Mexican genre comedy for all ages, the film really is pretty good and interesting, but the script could have done with a re-write or two to make this really good.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD