Jan 2, 2008

MONDO BIZARRO

A World of Beauty, Sensuality and Repulsion

Let’s take another look at the strange and bizarre world we live in. Let Lee Frost and Bob Cresse take you for a spin around their globe on a string in Mondo Bizarro.The film opens with shots of women getting undressed in a dressing room filmed through a two way mirror. Giving us the full close up of the brassieres and breasts of the unsuspecting women in front of the camera. We travel shortly after to the Bahamas to see the weird Voodoo rituals of the natives performed for some reason every Thursday night.After quickly explaining why the natives feel the urge to dance, take ganja and sacrifice chickens every Thursday, we are transported to Japan.Did you know that Japan had 7220 massage parlors in 1966? Me neither, but we get to see what happens inside of one of these parlors through the magic of the two way mirror.An American customer is given the “special massage” witch seems to be nothing more than an ordinary massage… With raw eggs…Before this “shocking” image gets a chance to sear your unsuspecting brain we are hurled over to Hollywood, California for a narrated tour through Fredericks of Hollywood, a brassiere factory. Including the three minute montage of brassiere close-ups and bulging breasts in the best sixties style!Then we go to Sydney Australia for a man who can heal himself through meditation, and a man who eats a break away sugar bottle right before your very eyes!After the bizarre bottle eating footage we find ourselves back in California again, this time to check out the homosexual prostitutes, through the always fresh “hidden camera” method that never seems to grow old to Lee and co.But California has more bizarre sights to show the curious onlooker, painters and sculptors protesting against the war in Vietnam through their art. Protesters protesting the Nam protesters… Confused yet? And if that’s not weird enough; artists making sculptures of photos of naked girls and a teenage sex fest during Easter at California’s sunny beaches. It’s time to travel to Europe, more exact to Germany, to witness a young girl being whipped brutally by SS officers in a stage performance glorifying the horrors of Nazism. This shot lingers so long, that I could help wondering if this could be the point where Frost and Cresse got the idea for Love Camp 7 that would come to fruition some three years later. The grand finale comes in the form of a shot supposedly shot in Lebanon, showing a modern slave auction; shoot in front of the Bronson Canyon cave where the infamous Robot Monster was shot 13 years before.

Just when I though Arthur Davis had showed me all the Bizarre and savage in the world, comes Frost and Cresse and shows me the forbidden shot through hidden cameras. Much lighter than other Mondo films, Mondo Bizarro focuses mostly on the female body and man’s lust for sex. Although the word sex is never mentioned in the film, you get a whole array of excuses and colorful words to describe it! It’s very hard to tell what’s faked and what’s real because every scene in the film seems fake or surreal in some way or another. The only indication we ever get to where the footage has been shot is the cheap globe on the string and the narrator telling us where we are. It is very likely that the crew never left the US during the making of this film. The soundtrack consists of 60s rock for the most part and goes pretty well with the scenes in the film, for the more “shocking” footage like the slave auction, there is the standard dramatic classical score. This is definitively not a film for everyone. Unless you get a thrill out of watching a distorted view of the world in the 1960s or a cheap laugh of the obviously faked footage this isn’t a film for you. There is no really explicit scenes of any kind in the film, so Mondo freaks looking for some new extreme to explore can also keep on searching. But for the die hard exploitation freak, for the dweller in the cinematic garbage dump, and for the morbidly curious in the field of grade Z movies; “Do you know what’s beyond the Beyond? For that matter, do you even know what’s behind the behind?”

Dive in and see if you have the courage to find out!

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