Jun 11, 2012

Mondo Weirdo: A Trip To Paranoia Paradise

Although I find both filmmakers absurdly overrated in their own respective ways, I could not help but be intrigued by a film that opens with the seemingly nonsensical and equally pretentious inter-title, “dedicated to Jess Franco & Jean-Luc Godard.” The film in question is Mondo Weirdo: A Trip To Paranoia Paradise (1990) aka Jungfrau am Abgrund aka Virgin on the Edge aka Virgin at the Abyss directed by Carl Andersen (Vampyros Sexos). Despite the (thankfully) misleading title, Mondo Weirdo is not another mundane mondo movie, but it does feature a wealth of demoralizing sleaze and exploitative nudity, at least certainly more so than one would typically expect from a standard work of the mostly asinine pseudo-documentary subgenre. Instead, Mondo Weirdo is an almost feature-length (at approx. 54 minutes) arthouse splatter-porn flick from Uncle Adolf’s homeland of Austria that is in welcome schitzy-kitschy company with Demetri Estdelacropolis's Freud's Flesh & Mother's Meat (1984) and Fred Halsted's The Sex Garage (1972) with psychosexual elements of Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965) and George A. Romero's Martin (1978) thrown in for good measure. Quite befittingly, the film opens with narration from a ambiguously Jewish psychoanalyst named Dr. Rosenberg (assumedly, of no relation to Alfred) who discusses the case study of an atypical 15 year old girl with latent lesbian tendencies who suffered from a series of erotically impassioned nightmares as a result of her overwhelming sexual repression. This psychosis-ridden girl named Odile (played by Jessica Franco Manera who is apparently Spanish slime-auteur Jess Franco’s real-life daughter) – a pixyish punk girl with a short semi-butch hairdo who sports booty shorts and Doc Martens boots – first enters the phantasmagoric dream realm of hot hallucinatory debauchery after having her first menstrual cycle while showering. Equally dismayed and intrigued by the heavy flow of hemoglobin seeping out of her pussy and dripping down her leg, Odile tastes her vital bodily fluids in a most prurient way. Odile must have some sort of unholy ancestral blood taint as it sends her on an often arousing yet harrowing nachtmahr by way of the dark underbelly of her subconscious, thus putting the little flapperesque lady in sexual contact with apparitions of luscious lesbian vampires, beauteous “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Báthory, and a stark-naked army of man-eating lesbos. Although Odile has a special appetite for kraut-cunts, she also encounters a variety of male perverts and unrepentant wienerschnitzel-fondling public-mastubators whom she has no qualms about sexually servicing, even if she does get involved with a little bit of castration and aggressive carpet-munching towards the conclusion of Mondo Weirdo. Despite the intrinsically hypnagogic nature of the film, all of the sex acts featured in Mondo Weirdo are graphic and real, including scenes of standard sexual intercourse, fellatio, female-on-female cunnilingus, borderline fisting, and homo sodomy.

 Unlike like most pornography, Mondo Weirdo is keenly accentuated via an erogenous pulsating soundtrack by the Viennese EBM/industrial group Modell D’oo – who also composed the music for Carl Andersen’s previous facetiously titled work I Was A Teenage Zabbadoing And The Incredible Lusty Dust-Whip From Outer Space Conquers The Earth Versus The 3 Psychedelic Stooges Of Dr. Fun Helsing And Fighting Against Surf-Vampires And Sex-Nazis And Have Troubles With This Endless Titillation Title (1989) – henceforth making the film seem like an extended music video from sort of depraved bloodlusting S&M musical project. Undoubtedly, if Mondo Weirdo was a strictly silent film without a soundtrack it would lose 1/2 of its erotic potency and aesthetic essence as I cannot think of another better example of a musical score the fits the description of electronic body music as the film takes the human bod to bodacious and sometimes brutal extremes in a manner that is in unerring unison with its unruly yet startingly hypnotic sounds. In fact, the soundtrack is so gratifying and mischievously merry that I, too, felt like I was getting in on the action with little lass Odile and her many phantom lovers. Ultimately, the low-budget aura of Mondo Weirdo works to its advantage as a work with a very conscious punk rock aesthetic. Indeed, Mondo Weirdo is like an early Bruce La Bruce flick, except more appealing to breeders and lesbos than homos, although male-on-male copulation makes a brief yet savage appearance in the film.  Although created a couple years after the artistic peak of the so-called Cinema of Transgression movement, Mondo Weirdo has more balls and succulent sadomasochistic sex appeal than anything ever directed by the likes of softcore pornographers Richard Kern and Nick Zedd and with the added bonus of not featuring the always detestable and ever so unattractive gutter-queen Lydia Lynch. Jessica Franco Manera may not be the most bewitching babe in the world, but she has a certain tragic cutesy-little-girl-who-has-fallen-from-grace quality that is altogether beguiling, as if she was the Louise Brooks of no-budget punk rock filmmaking. Even while inquisitively inspecting the freshly amputated cock of a maliciously mutilated man, Odile has a saccharine naivety that is wholly endearing. 

 After Odile accepts and acts upon her undying love of ladies, her erratic erotically-charged nightmares cease to appear and Mondo Weirdo concludes with the fitting end-title, “The End or a New Beginning.” Personally, I would have liked to see Odile hook up with some sort of Nazi chic Brando-type, but I guess Mondo Weirdo – a castration-anxiety-driven work of artsy fartsy punk pornography and pop psychology – is ultimately a male’s worst nightmare, even if an acutely orgiastic one. Like virtually all other works of its unclassifiable cinematic breed, Mondo Weirdo is as glaringly flawed work that looks like it was shot over the course of a single day, but that is also one of its greatest appeals.  In short, Mondo Weirdo is the celluloid equivalent of a one-night stand with a mentally-imbalanced mixed-blood heiress-turned-hooker. 

-Ty E


Anonymous said...

"The Louise Brooks of no-budget
punk rock film making"

thats priceless.

Anonymous said...

I think you should reveiw "Slaves to the Underground" (1997).

modelldoo said...

Thanks for this glowing review, especially regarding our music....
There's a soundtrack album coming this fall (a limited edition of 250 pieces in shiny vinyl exclusively!) called "Frame Electric: Music for Movies, 1987-1993" focussing on Mondo Weirdo and Zabbadoing, the bizarre early work of the great Carl Andersen who sadly passed away in Berlin only a few days ago.
(Album to be ordered via www.modelldoo.com)