Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 18th, 2017
Theatrical Release Dates: Austria / West Germany, 1990 (Mondo Weirdo / What’s So Dirty About?), Austria / West Germany, 1989 (Vampiros Sexos)
Director: Carl Andersen (All Films)
Writers: Carl Andersen (All Films)
Cast: Jessica Franco Manera, Miranda Mariaux, Soledad Marceignac, Frank Khunne, David Hollman (Mondo Weirdo), Jasmin Bevilaqua, Ronald Iraschek, Ruby Tuesday, Carl Andersen, Harald Dolezal (Vampiros Sexos), Jessica Franco Manera, Ruby Tuesday, Claudia Keimel, Frank Khunne (What’s So Dirty About?)
BluRay released: March 14th, 2017
Approximate running times: 57 minutes (Mondo Weirdo), 68 minutes (Vampiros Sexos), 9 minutes (What’s So Dirty About?)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Mondo Weirdo), 1.33:1 aspect ratio / Progressive / Standard Definiton (Vampiros Sexos / What’s So Dirty About?)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo with English inter-titles (Mondo Weirdo), Dolby Digital Stereo German with German inter-titles (Vampiros Sexos), Dolby Digital Stereo (What’s So Dirty About?)
Subtitles: English (Vampiros Sexos)
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free / Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95
Mondo Weirdo: A young woman named Odile goes to a nightclub and while there she encounters a woman who tells her about Elizabeth Bathory. Later that evening on her way home from the nightclub Odile is picked by a stranger driving a van. From there the man takes her to his apartment and before he has the change to have sex with her, a mysterious woman disposes of the man. Unsure about what is real and what is a hallucination Odile returns to the nightclub to look for the answers to the events which have just unfolded.
This film’s dialog consists of an opening narration and inter-titles that provide additional information. This virtually dialog free narrative bears many similarities to silent cinema. With the film’s atmospheric black and white cinematography being the means by which this film’s narrative tells its story. Another strength of this film is the way that the visuals juxtaposition with the eclectic soundtrack. The combination of these two things perfectly capture this film’s protagonists state of mind.
In the film’s opening credits there is an acknowledgement to Jess Franco and Jean-Luc Godard and throughout the film there are many instances where their influence is apparent. With the most obvious connection to Jess Franco being the nightclub scene, lesbian vampires and many of the cast have names that are connected to actors who have worked Jess Franco and variations on pseudonyms he has used.
Content wise, there are many areas where this film pushes the boundaries and nowhere is this more evident, then when it comes to its sexually related content which at times ventures into the realm of hardcore sex cinema. With this film reaching its orgasmic apex with a transgressive moment where man who is having sexual intercourse with two women who in the middle of this act they bludgeon him and sever his penis.
Performance wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Jessica Franco Manera in the role of this film’s protagonist Odile. The journey that this character goes on is a variation of the Alice in Wonderland scenario. Also, there is a doppelganger aspect to her character which makes her deterioration all the more potent. Ultimately Mondo Weirdo is a perfect fusion of eroticism and surrealism.
Vampiros Sexos: Jasmin Strange, the queen of the vampires from the planet Arus, is sent to Earth to recover a contaminated olive oil before it falls in the hands of the diabolical Van Helsing.
Once again, the influence of Jess Franco can be felt throughout this film and this time around Jean Rollin is thrown in for good measure. Though there are occasional inter-titles explain what is going on. There are also a handful of dialog exchanges. The film’s opening credits do a great job setting the mood and though this film does have its fair share of moments of sex and violence. It also makes good use of humor. With the chanting of “We are the world. We are the Children” being one of this film’s oddest moments.
Content wise, this film foreshadows themes that would find their way into Mondo Weirdo. From a production standpoint visuals are one of this film’s greatest strengths. They are inventive and they provide a tremendous amount of atmosphere. Another strength of this film is its eclectic score. Performance wise the cast are all deliver enthusiastic performances which makes the story at hand, all the more enjoyable. Ultimately, Vampiros Sexos is a satisfying mix of gore and eroticism.
What’s so Dirty About?: This short film does not have a convention plot and the only thing that connects its narrative together are a series of erotic images. There is no dialog and there is a strobe effect applied to the visuals. And the images that ae featured in this film come from other films that were also directed by Carl Anderson. With this film’s rapid-fire editing perfectly complimenting the repetitiveness of the images which are being used. Ultimately this short film Is a perfect example of transgressive cinema.
Mondo Weirdo comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This release comes with a newly created HD transfer that was sourced from original 16mm print. Source related damaged in minimal and never intrusive. The image looks crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
Mondo Weirdo comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix with English language inter-titles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras included on the Blu-ray disc that contains Mondo Weirdo include, an introduction before the film with star of Angst Erwin Leder (2 minute 24 seconds, in English) and a featurette titled The Making of Mondo Weirdo (14 minutes 39 seconds, in German with English subtitles).
The extra titled The Making of Mondo Weirdo is a collection of interviews with Carl Andersen who discusses, his origins as a filmmaker, his thoughts about Mondo Weirdo, moralists’ reaction to the film, the cast and the difficulty he had casting for the role of Elizabeth Bathory and other production related topics.
Other content includes a single layer DVD that contains the feature film I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos. This transfer has been sourced from a VHS source since no other source is known to exist. This is a serviceable audio / video presentation that far exceeded my expectations.
I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in German with German inter-titles and English subtitles.
Extras included on the DVD disc that contains Vampiros Sexos include, a featurette titled The Making of I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos (14 minutes 36 seconds, in German with English subtitles) and a short film also directed by Carl Anderson titled What’s So Dirty About It? (9 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo).
The extra titled The Making of I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos is a collection of interviews with Carl Andersen who discusses, the origins of the film, alternate titles it was released under, his cinema influences, how for its time this film’s content was considered shocking for Austrian cinema, information about the cast & crew, the real-life event which inspired the film’s premise, negative reaction to the film and why he cast himself in a lead role.
Rounding out the extras is a CD that contains Model D’oo’s soundtracks for Mondo Weirdo, Vampiros Sexos and four previously unreleased tracks. Overall a pair of films directed by Avant Garde Austrian filmmaker Carl Anderson get an exceptional release from Cult Epics, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray / DVD / CD combo release is a limited-edition release of 2,000 copies.
Screenshots from Vampiros Sexos