Now here is a double feature disc that REALLY lives up to the "Something Weird" label!! Following the worldwide success of MONDO CANE in 1963 (the theme song "More" was even nominated for an Oscar), more and more "mondo" movies, filled with strange rituals, sickening practices, and generally oddball scenes from around the world appeared. And of course if "Mondo" meant money, U.S. exploiteers were on it like white on rice! Sadistic producer Bob Cresse, known for his nudie cuties such as HOUSE ON BARE MOUNTAIN, produced these two completely faked mondo flicks before unleashing his dark side with disturbing flicks like THE SCAVENGERS and HOT SPUR! And even if you've seen every other mondo movie out there, you ain't seen nothin' like these two!
To be perfectly honest, it's impossible to tell the two films apart. The one difference: MONDO BIZARRO has the cheesy fake globe on a string!! To transition between scenes, a Boris Karloff imitation narrator points out the country to be spotlighted next...and the camera zeroes in on the horribly done paper mache world! It's hard to review mondo films, so I'll just give a blow-by-blow list of the more interesting faked sequences: a voodoo sequence reportedly shot in the "Bahamas" (one is held every Thursday night!), which is too dark to see; a hilarious black-and-white "hidden camera" sequence of an American businessman expecting sex from a Japanese masseur; a look at the well-mechanized machine that is Frederick's of Hollywood; sleazy-looking Jack Schwartz, who lies on beds of nails without bleeding and pushes them through his cheek and arm to the horror of live audience members; a man in a restaurant eats a glass bottle (obviously sugar glass); a spastic bearded artist shoots photographs of a topless go-go dancing model in a leopard-skin bikini bottom; fascinating real testimonies from "today's kids," griping about cops breaking up their fun during Easter week at the beach; and a pretty sadistic German play where a blonde-haired blue-eyed Jewish girl (I know, it didn't make sense to me, either) is beaten and whipped by Nazi soldiers. The Lebanese slave trade sequence was shot in Bronson Canyon, a famous location for many 50s and 60s sci-fi films (including ROBOT MONSTER), and goes on way too long; the fake British cameraman's narration is funny, though. Several sequences have red scratches over the eyes of women who "wish to remain unidentified." Nice gimmick! There is excellent library music throughout, including a bitchin' rock tune played twice in the film and highlighted on the disc's menu. It sounds like one of the bands heard on the "Nuggets" boxed set, and if anyone knows who they are please let me know!!
MONDO FREUDO is really much more of the same, which equals more entertainment: interesting real voyeuristic footage of people on the beach; Miss Baby Bubbles, a top-heavy tart who isn't allowed to touch her body while stripping (see more of her in Frost and Cresse's HOLLYWOOD'S WORLD OF FLESH); a British strip club requires all strippers to cover 15% of their bodies (?!); slutty women advertise their sex and modeling services on billboards in London (!); Tijuana women sell themselves to make ends meet; an artist paints naked female bodies and presses them against his canvas (the same scene was in MONDO CANE, played underneath "More"); a devil's mass takes place in New York City; Bob Cresse interviews British prostitutes and American streetwalkers; an Asian stage show has a masked man beating the shit out of a Japanese stripper; and two female mudwrestlers performing for an audience in Germany.
If anyone really believes that the international footage was shot abroad, you could probably sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, too! But that's part of the fun of MONDO BIZARRO and MONDO FREUDO. You never know what shameless exploitation the filmmakers are going to throw at you next! The two films flow together almost flawlessly, scenes from one could safely appear in the other, and fans of mondo flicks will dig the eye-popping goings-on. Even the most painfully obvious staged sequences are fun because of their attempt to convince the audience of their authenticity. Now, if mondo movies aren't your cup of tea, you probably won't dig either one of these. They're fake, but the documentary nature of the films might bore those with a low attention span.
Eye-popping shenanigans warrant eye-popping transfers, and Something Weird delivers in this department! The colors of both films are simply stunning; reds are a little loud, but there aren't many to be worried about. Dirt appears at the opening credits and maybe at a handful of reel changes, and there are some lines during stock footage but overall there is absolutely nothing to complain about here. The audio is surprisingly good, with narration and music sounding full and acceptable.
To compliment the incredible entertainment value of these outrageous fakumentaries, Johnny Legend and Eric Caiden, the two men who made MONDO MOD and THE HIPPIE REVOLT bearable with their history lesson audio commentaries, have been called upon once again to cover these two flicks. Both men are heroes of mine, so the fact that they have nothing to do with either film makes no difference. Legend and Caiden have worked very hard at preserving the history of celluloid, be it exploitation or Hollywood, and always have fascinating stories to tell over the on-screen proceedings. One of Johnny Legend's more interesting stories is of him planning an Eggercise video with Edith Massey before her death?!?! They also discuss Bob Cresse discuss Bob Cresse (who they claim is in hiding, but in fact died of a heart attack 5 years ago), the psychedelic rock group Love, friends who ate glass (!), Mick Jagger autographing every page of a Rolling Stone magazine, make multiple cracks, and provide enough entertaining anecdotes to warrant multiple listens. Unfortunately, Legend sounds farther away from the mic than Caiden, so you'll have to crank the volume to hear them.
Now that you've watched each movie twice (or maybe more!), time to visit the trailer vault. Plenty of mondo madness on hand here. In addition to the MONDO BIZARRO and MONDO FREUDO trailers (the BIZARRO trailer is well over 6 minutes!), you get a mix of real and faked mondo flicks. ECCO (partially narrated by George Sanders and featuring Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again"), MALAMONDO, MONDO BALORDO (partially narrated by Boris Karloff), and SADISMO are all real mondo's. See a rampage of reindeer in Lapland, a French Grand Guignol stage show, a muscleman contest, a woman bending steel with her teeth, female wrestlers, tribal dances, blindfolded fencing, drag queens, re-enactments of torture in a dungeon, a gigantic dildo, monkey brains eaten direct from the source, and a bear being skinned alive! IT'S A SICK, SICK, SICK WORLD, MONDO OSCENITA, and MONDO TEENO are all fake mondo's. See plenty of "today's generation" smoking pot, belly-dancing, prostituting themselves, stripping in funny costumes, women beating each other with shoes, footage from the OLGA films depicting torture and humiliation, lesbianism, and teen mating rituals of the swinging 60s! All of these would be welcome candidates for Something Weird to restore onto DVD (MONDO BALORDO has already been paired with PRIMITIVE LOVE), but especially ECCO with its ideal co-feature SWEDEN: HEAVEN AND HELL!
If all that wasn't enough Mondo for you, SWV has also included a short mail-order featurette that must be seen to be believed! Short pervert Jack Little gets tired of his neighbors having loud makeout parties in the middle of the night, and when he goes knocking on their door, finds himself mocked and humiliated. He falls asleep and dreams of making mincemeat of them in his private dungeon, tying them to stretch racks and whipping them! A gallery of fun mondo movie exploitation art is really incredible viewing, including wonderful radio spots. And an Easter Egg on the Extras Menu presents a trailer for FREUDIAN THING, an obscure sexy mondo flick.
Another solid disc from Something Weird Video, a vast improvement on their previous Mondo disc (PRIMITIVE LOVE/MONDO BALORDO) and one that will invite many return visits for its many unhealthy delights! Keep 'em coming, SWV! (Special thanks to Chris Poggiali) (Casey Scott)
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