A highly symbolic, metaphysical take on the Western, writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo centers around the titular character, a skilled gunfighter (also portrayed by Jodorowsky) whose enigmatic personality has mystical overtones. The story begins after he and his son encounter the remnants of a massacred village, and El Topo seeks vengeance on the bandits responsible. After killing the bandits, he forms a relationship with the bandit leader's concubine. Leaving his son in the care of a band of monks, he joins her in a mission against the Masters, the desert's four greatest gunfighters. El Topo wins these battles, but does so through questionable tactics; afterwards he is abandoned in the desert, wounded and alone. A lapse of several years follows, after which El Topo awakens amongst an underground community of strangely deformed people. He agrees to help them dig a tunnel from their home to the surface world, initiating a whole new series of ordeals -- including the eventual return of his son. Jodorowsky freely mixes elements of Christian, Taoist, Ancient Greek, and Wild West mythology in this intricate, stylized, and extremely violent film, which developed a cult following in the 1970s through a series of midnight screenings.
by Judd Blaise synopsis