Without a doubt the best masked wrestler movies not to come out of Mexico were the Superargo series from Italy. The two movies starred Giovanni Cianfriglia. Someone who should be familiar to all fans of European costume dramas. He worked as a body double for Steve Reeves and did stunt-work in many Italian action movies. Cianfriglia portrayed the Earth giant Antaeus in HERCULES THE AVENGER and has a memorable fight scene with Mr.Universe winner Reg Park who plays the demi-god Hercules. He also has a great fight in GOLIATH AGAINST THE VAMPIRES against former Tarzan movie star turned sinew & sandal hero Gordon Scott. Scott portrays Maciste and Cianfriglia in the course of the battle portrays an "evil twin". For years it was rumored that it was Steve Reeves that was seen in long shots as the evil Maciste/Goliath as the two men grappled. But it was in fact Cianfriglia.
In SUPERARGO VS. DIABOLICUS(1966) Cianfriglia billed as Ken Wood plays the masked wrestling champion Superargo. In what is more or less an origin tale masked wrestling champion Superargo defends his title against his friend,a wrestled called el Tigre. During the course of the match el Tigre is accidently killed. Superargo is understandably despondent and looks for purpose in life.He finds it when his former commanding officer from the army,now the head of the secret service,recruits him for a special mission. And he uses his special abilities plus a bullet-proof costume and some Bondian gadgets to take on the modern alchemist Diabolicus and his sexy red-headed accomplice who refers to her employer as the "future ruler of the universe". This flick is a lot of fun with a lot of action. And Loredana Nusciak as Diabolicus accomplice(girl friend?) and Monica Randall as Superargo's girl friend Lidia are both nice to look at.
The sequel SUPERARGO a.k.a SUPERARGO AND THE FACELESS GIANTS(1968) has Cianfriglia returning as the masked wrestler turned secret agent. Superargo's girl friend from the first flick is nowhere to be found. Instead the masked man is keeping company with Kamir a Hindu guru who has taught him to unleash his psychic abilities. Superargo is called in by the authorities to solve a case involving a group of missing athletes and ends up battling Professor Wond,played by former American western star Guy Madison,and his army of living robots.
I always thought there should have been a third movie so that fans of the masked wrestler genre would be talking about a Superargo trilogy today. Wondering what that might look like my buddy Vance Capley and I put together this faux page for a Superargo comic book.
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