I'll be up front with you right of the bat, the films included in this set from Cult Epics, Mondo Weirdo, Vampiros Sexos, and What's So Dirty About It?, are definitely not my cup of tea. That being said, I can admire their creativity and experimental aspects and I will review the films fairly for those of you who are into films of this style.
Cult Epics has brought together two of Carl Andersen’s, an underground Austrian filmmaker who passed in 2012, most bizarre works and compiled them into a convenient 3-disc collection. Starting with Mondo Weirdo, originally shot as Jungfrau am Abgrundand and also known as the subtitle Trip to Paranoia Paradise. The film begins with a warning that we are getting ready to experience “one of the most bizarre cases in history of disturbed sexuality” and holy shit, they're not lying! Flashes of female anatomy appear on screen as we're introduced to a young woman named Odile (Jessica F. Manera), who's just experienced her first menstruation in the shower, this ignites a series of dreams and fantasies.
She travels to a nightclub for an industrial music performance, where she witnesses some intense lesbian action. As she leaves the club and wanders the streets, she's coaxed into a stranger's van and taken back to his disgusting digs for some "sex action." Before he can "get it in," he's disposed of by a knife to the neck. Unsure of if what just happened was real or hallucination, Odile returns to the club in search of answers. From there, we witness absurd instances involving muggings, a street performer playing the sax and slitting her throat, two dudes going at it, Countess Bathory inspired bloodletting, public bathroom sex fiends, and many other instances of sexual fantasies and reality colliding.
Mondo Weirdo is almost completely devoid of dialogue and is held together by it's imagery and a pulsing and strange industrial soundtrack from Model D'oo. The film is most certainly not for the squeamish, featuring instances of extreme fetishism, sexuality, and violence. Honestly, I had no idea what was going on in the film for most of its run-time and credit the soundtrack for keeping my attention. I do admire the boldness of the actors, their willingness to "go there" and their dedication to creating eroticism within a scene. There's no doubt, Mondo Weirdo is a very artistic and strange feature that's heavily inspired by the works of filmmakers Jess Franco and Jean-Luc Godard. Originally shot on 16mm, Cult Epics has given the film a facelift with a brand new HD transfer. The film is dirty, jittery, and roughly cut, but I'm sure this is the best it's ever looked.
The second feature in the set is Andersen's debut film, Vampiros Sexos, also known as I Was a Teenage Zabbadoing. This one also begins with another announcement screen, informing us that we are about to witness the saga of "Jasmin Strange! Queen of vampires from planet Arus!" She's been sent to Earth to make sure tainted olive oil doesn't fall into the hands of Van Helsing...yeah, this one is strange. Again, there's limited dialogue, a great soundtrack by Model D'oo, and silent film intertitles, Vampiros Sexos is full of confrontational imagery, hardcore sex, and gore. The film features tremendous amount of atmosphere and inventive visuals, but once again, the soundtrack was the only thing that kept me invested throughout. Vampiros Sexos looks much rougher than Mondo Weirdo in terms of picture quality, being sourced from a VHS source, as no other source is known to exist.
Both Mondo Weirdo and Vampiros Sexos are presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks. Overall they're clean, clear, and on-par with the visuals, rough around the edges but passable. In terms of bonus features for Mondo Weirdo, Cult Epics has included an intro with Erwin Leder (star of Angst) and a 14-minute "Making of Mondo Weirdo." Vampiros Sexos' features include "The Making of I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos" and the really bizarre short film from Anderson, titled What’s So Dirty About It?. By far, my favorite bonus is the exclusive 19-track CD soundtrack for both films.
Overall, if you're looking for something insanely different, have a taste for some really perverse, underground cinema, or if you're just a fan of the Avant Garde Austrian filmmaker, this release from Cult Epics is highly recommended. These films offer a viewing experience that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled.
You can order the 3-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD/CD from Cult Epics website.