Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wild Wild West--"The Night of Montezuma's Hordes"

I labeled the third season largely subdued, meaning there are very few episodes with over the top, world conquer ring villains and more straightforward western themes. Among the season, there are still a select few strange stories thatare high on the camp factor. “The Night of Montezuma’s Hordes’ is definitely one of those.

Two con men, played by frequent cowboy villain Jack Elam and everyone’s favorite Martian, Ray Walston, impersonate the leaders of an archeological team Jim, Artie, and a Mexican colonel are supposed to be escorting through the Mexican desert in search of an Aztec temple full of treasure. They intended to just steal the map from the colonel and find it themselves, but he memorized it instead, so the con men have to go along with the ruse until they all find the temple.

Have patience, folks. It is a long journey. Two acts worth, including two overnight camping scenes which are intended to show tension among the parties, but completely fail because it dragged out for two different scenes. I cannot help but feel the story was short on material so someone suggested doing the same scene twice, but with the cactus on the right side this time.

They reach the temple, which is not realy that well hidden, point of fact, to find the treasure is guarded by the Sun Goddess and descendants of the Aztecs. At this point, I have a low rent Indiana Jones ad the Last Crusade vie going on. Very low rent. The stone steps in the temple bend and creak like the plywood they really are.

Naturally, Jim pulls off the Sun Goddess’ mask and smooches her. Twice. Someone, this saves them all from certain death, but two of the party have to die. Big surprise that Jim and Artie are chosen. They wind up having to escape from a room with the ceiling slowly descending upon them. All right, so there is a lot Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom thrown in, too. Our heroes stop the crooks from stealing the treasure. Teir good deed earns the respect of the Aztecs, so they get to leave in peace as long as they keep the temple a secret.

“The Night of Montezuma’s Hordes” is a strange episode which drags in many places The series has too low a budget to try pulling off a plausible temple, as well. Still there is some goofy fun to be had. That keeps the episode from being a complete cellar dweller in my book.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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