Ok, I promise, tomorrow will not be a movie featured in MST3K. In fact, it’ll be a super awesome Halloween special edition of Great Scenes from Bad Films! Awesome. But Mari Nickl reminded of Pumaman and I just had to include it. It was another great Mike era episode and this film really deserved the MST3K treatment. Allow me to elaborate.
The film opens with a paragraph regaling us with the Aztec legend of a God descending from the heavens, fucking an Aztecette and fathering the first Pumaman. Next we see a giant sphere approaching Stonehenge… I think. I’m not entirely sure because I just don’t see how Stonehenge could possibly fit in to Aztec legend. Anyway it’s probably not important. The aliens bequeath a mask to mankind, declaring that the Pumaman will look after it and that. This is followed by the credits in which the film’s big name, Donald Pleasence, has his name spelt wrong as Donald Pleasance. Well done movie.
We then meet a blonde lady archaeologist, intensely studying the aforementioned golden mask in modern times. Donald Pleasence enters, looking for all the world like a hideous, bald dominatrix, and basically asks her “How’s shit?” She turns around and answers “Shit’s good but don’t desecrate this mask otherwise the Pumaman will fuck you up.” Donald decides not to heed this careful warning and uses the mask to take control of blonde lady archaeologist’s mind. Oh Donald, you funky, cheeky monkey.
Anyway, I guess my first major question arises here. Why the fuck did the aliens leave a mask that gave people the ability to control the minds of other people? And I thought that the Pumaman dynasty was supposed to guard it always. Why was it not passed down the Puma family line?
The next scene shows a man being tossed out of a window, a newspaper revealing it’s the fourth American to be killed in London that week. It turns out that the person behind these slayings is the hero of our story, Vadhino (I must interject here and point out that I’m not saying he’s the hero because he is ridding London of Americans. Hmmm, shouldn’t have used the word ridding there, just makes things sound worse. My point is no one should be killed in London. Except for Luxembourgers. You know what you did Luxembourg!) and his next target is the film’s side-kick character, palaeontologist Tony Farms.
Tony ‘senses’ danger whilst being yelled at by his boss when Vadhino appears, steals a bone and Tony gives chase. Vadhino suddenly grabs him and chucks him out the window. Way to sense danger there Tony! When Tony survives, Vadhino tells him he’s the Pumaman and runs away.
Tony then meets blone archaeologist lady, Jane, and they ‘flirt.’ She invites him to a party laid out by her father. Alas! She’s still being mind controlled by Donald! Gasp! It turns out he’s controlling Jane’s father as well!
As Tony’s getting ready for the party, Vadhino shows up again and gives Tony the lame plastic belt that allows him to access the powers of the Pumaman! Which confuses me as it’s already made clear that Tony can survive falls and see in the dark. We’re also lead to believe he can sense danger but… Anyway, Vadhino explains that he knows Tony’s father which also raises the question as to why he didn’t look up where Tony Farms was, rather than going around tossing Americans out of windows. Guess it’s a hobby or something.
At the party, Donald turns up with a few henchmen and begins to stir up trouble when they attack Tony. Tony beats a few up or dances violently with them, it’s hard to figure out exactly which. Vadhino shows up, tosses Tony the belt allowing him to fly through the air… like a puma. The belt also gives him the lamest superhero costume since Robin decided little green underwear was a great look.
And so Tony flies. The effects are astounding. You’ll gasp in wonderment as Tony flies at all manner of angles, especially apparent when he drops a henchman, You’ll scratch your head in amazement Tony glides through the air with all the grace of an Aardvark tossed out of a helicopter. It truly is a thing of beauty.
So Tony tries to find out where the mask is by entering a trance and walking through a wall… like a puma. Or at least he tries but fails. Because if there is one thing that you will learn about Pumaman it’s that he’s the living embodiment of epic fail.
Jesus this is going on for a while. Ok, to cut a long story short. Donald has an evil plan, Pumaman tries to stop it, fails but thankfully Vadhino saves the day by not being Pumaman. At the end of the film Vadhino, Pumaman and Jane go to Stonehenge, which seems to be in an area which is certainly not where Stonehenge actually is. Vadhino claims that the the protection of the Gods has not failed since the day is saved though I must heartily disagree. The day was nearly lost because the stupid fuckers left the mind control mask on Earth in the first place… Twats. Anyway, Jane and Pumaman kiss and it seems apparent that the patter of tiny puma paws can’t be too far away. Eww.
Ok, sorry about that synopsis. I was watching the MST3K version, trying to ignore the riffs and focus on the film and I just completely lost track and the will to live, so I guess I have to add the same warning that I added to the previous two MST3K-inspired entries, do not watch without Mike and the Bots. Seriously. I think my left arm is tingling and I’m certain I feel chest pains.
What’s left to be said about this film? Well, as mentioned the special effects are awesome, though not just the flying effects. When Donald is taking over someone’s mind, the film wobbles, like water being sucked into the mouth of a goldfish’s mouth. That’s an odd analogy and that’s how this film has effected me. I’m also not sure whether Pumaman can phase through walls or just break through them. The special effects are that ambiguous!
One last thing of note is the music. Pumaman’s theme is a touching little number that will cause many to hold their hand over their heart and shed a tear for the Aztec Puma man-God who came to Earth to save us all from the mask left here by the Aztec Puma God for some reason.
One last thing, Vadhino would later appear in the second ever episode of the A-Team and get pummelled by Mr T. Good on him.
Well I’m exhausted. Couldn’t actually find any clips from a pure copy of the movie so here is a compilation clip from the MST3K version. I’m doing you all a favour, really.