Written by: Carroll Jenkins on March 31st, 2008
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1966
Director: Jack Hill
Cast: Nick Moriarty, Victoria Wren, Cathey Crowfoot, Christopher Winters, Carol Baughman
DVD released: February 5th, 2008
Approximate running time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:66:1 Letterbox Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Kit Carson Films / VCI Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: A publisher of big bust and bondage magazines, 8mm film, and sound effects lp’s supervises his production facilities. His staff includes big bust office staff, a cartoonist who’s work appears to be Bill Ward’s, and a bondage film auteur who is a ringer for Ed Wood, Jr. In his private office he reviews his various products and auditions talent. Not for his magazine, but for his next rape victim. Seems he has a beautiful nympho wife whom he keeps juiced on heroin so she won’t bother him, and he is free to go stalk victims. His obsession is fueled by impotence and psychedelic nightmares. One of his victims has a dyke lover / karate expert who vows revenge. The frustrated wife goes to hedonistic parties, masquerades, and poolside orgies. In the end, our misogynistic pervert gets his just desserts.
Written, directed, screenplay, and cinematography by one of the finest creators of exploitation cinema, Jack Hill has named this his “soft core art film”. Produced prior to Spider Baby, his genius is already on full display. Also on full display are the many generously endowed models. Jack uses the rapist plot, the porno business, the nightmares, wild parties, and practically every conceivable way to introduce jiggling babes in lingerie and topless, writhing and stripping, getting drunk and shooting up.
Thematically this is a roughie, but that’s the setup, not really the emphasis. Fully realizing what every exploitation low budget film of the time promised but seldom delivered is the point! The film reeks in the ambience of sixties subculture and revels in detail. For example, we see the wife’s natural hair in her great introductory scene, but she spends the rest of the movie in typical-for-the-times long blond wig (and often nothing else). Mondo Keyhole features superb editing, beautiful black and white photography, and a great psychedelic soundtrack which includes an uncredited garage band track during a masquerade dance.
Mondo Keyhole is presented from the original 35mm negative in 1:66:1 aspect ratio in NON-ANAMORPHIC progressive scan. Because it is a sharp image, it can be zoomed to fill a widescreen monitor. Compositions seem perfect, so this appears to be the original (or intended) OAR. The dialog is post synched, and there are no subtitles or close captioning, but the soundtrack is clear and vibrant. For an obscure Grindhouse release this is a beautiful source with an acceptable transfer.
The biggest extra is another feature The Raw Ones, comprised of mail order nudist footage. Jack Hill photographed and edited this thing together but his apathy is expressed in his filmed introduction to the presentation. This may serve as visual background while listening to music but that’s about it. More substantial extras include a Jack Hill audio commentary for Mondo Keyhole, and trailers for other John Lamb produced exploitation features.
This release is a newly uncovered alternate version from the estate of producer Jack Lamb. In the commentary Jack Hill states that he had not previously seen it but it works better than the known release. It is available as Psychotronica Volume 2, or as part of the three disk Psychotronica box set which also includes Delinquent Schoolgirls and The Mermaids of Tiburon (Nude Version).
Despite some shortcomings of the transfer, this is an essential Grindhouse treasure and is highly recommended.