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(aka "The Black Pit of Dr. M" or "Misterios de Ultratumba" or "Mysteries from Beyond the Grave" or "Der Tote kehrt zurück")


directed by Fernando Méndez
Mexico 1959


Asylum director Dr. Mazil (Rafael Bertrand) is obsessed with discovering what lies beyond death. He rushes to the deathbed of his former partner Dr. Aldama to remind him of their pact that whoever died first would return to tell the other about the "mysteries beyond the tomb." After Aldama's death, Mazil holds a seance to contact his dead friend who warns him of the price he will have to pay to learn these mysteries. Mazil insists that he wants to know and Aldama's spirit tells him that in three months a door will open that will allow Mazil to discover for himself what lies beyond death setting off a chain of events involving Aldama's damsel-in-distress daughter, a madwoman, an acid-scarred madman, premature burial, and grisly murders. Aside from its acid-scarred madman, THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M is a more reserved gothic horror film compared to THE BRAINIAC's brain-sucking alien or German Robles' impressive cloaked vampiric aristocrat in the EL VAMPIRO films. The black and white photography is wonderfully moody, cloaking Mazil's asylum in deep shadows. The studio-bound exteriors are reminiscent of old Hollywood horror films (note the impressive torchlit funeral sequence early on). The film was produced by prolific Mexican director Arturo Ripstein (THE CASTLE OF PURITY).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 1959 (USA)

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DVD Review: Synapse Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Synapse Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:22:06

1.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Synapse Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.28:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by IVTV founder Frank Coleman
• Director Fernadno Mendez Biography
• Theatrical Trailer
• BLACK PIT OF DR. M rock video
• Original 1961 English Continuity Script
• Photo Essay: Mexican Monsters Invade the U.S.
• Poster and Stills Gallery
• Cast Biographies

DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009

Chapters 18



Unlike other Mexican horror titles in the now defunct Casanegra series, THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M does not feature an English language track (the English dub has not been seen since 1961 so it was one of the titles that had not been in constant grey market circulation before Casanegra gave it the proper treatment). The progressive fullscreen image is good looking for a fifties Mexican production and the audio is clear despite some damage to the magnetic track that results in distortion at the high ends (noticeable in the brassy parts of the score). Frank Coleman gives a wonderfully informative commentary (with optional Spanish subtitles) but that is not the extent of his participation here as he is one of the performers in the 21st Century Art rock video composed around the film and supplied the rare English language continuity script for the 1961 US release. A photo essay called "Mexican Monsters Invade the U.S." features information about K. Gordan Murray who dubbed most of the 50's and 60's Mexican horror entries (many of these films were making the rounds on public domain tape in the eighties and nineties until the GATT treaty was signed and they were reclaimed by their owners and were unavailable until Casanegra's authorized releases) while David Wilt provides a biography on director Mendez who also helmed THE VAMPIRE and THE VAMPIRE'S COFFIN (also from Casanegra). A Mexican theatrical trailer (regrettably no US trailer was included) and separate still and poster galleries round out the extras.

The Casanegra label is now defunct but the titles have been re-released by Synapse Films (along with titles by the defunct Panik House) but they are limited to the excess inventory on hand (the Amazon link above will take buyers to a new entry for the film; not the original release entry which is considered "out of stock"). Synapse Films have no plans to reprint any of the releases as of this time.

 - Eric Cotenas


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:




Synapse Films

Region 1 - NTSC



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