Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mondo Cane 2 (AKA Mondo Pazzo)

Mondo Pazzo
Directors: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi

Reviewed By Machine Gun Kristin

My first impression of "Mondo Pazzo" came from a trailer tacked onto an episode of USA network's, "Reel Wild Cinema". It was almost a companion series to TNT Monstervision, which in its later years was hosted and written by Joe Bob Briggs. "Reel..." however had the Something Weird catalog behind their cinematic choices. "Mondo Cane" the first in the series of these Italian exploitation documentary films in the early 1960s. "Cane" even has a soundtrack that can somewhat easily be found in thrift shops next to usual, endless cast-off records such as the discography of Ray Coniff. Even more bizarre is that "Cane" is considered a "hit" at the box office with a theme ("More") that's been sung by pop music giants Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams among many others. Riz Ortolani, was the go-to mondo film guy and of course handled the electro-stress freakout score for Cannibal Holocaust.

The film opens with a dry-voiced (courtesy of Stefano Sibaldi) explanation as to why the first film ("Cane") was banned in England. The narrator reads on about how they've decided to use its scene cruelest to animals in the very beginning so that censors basically don't screw up the tone of the film. The deadpan vocal delivery of this is almost mocking while we see real dogs having their vocal cords altered to reduce their barking. It's a very upsetting visual. From there, we view more dogs being unnaturally colored to match dresses for a fashion show. Most bothersome is the literal dragging of one dog that refuses to walk down the runway. The scenery is basically British Pathe fashion videos on acid.

Cringeworthy Kisses For Sale

We see the earlier days of drag, seen not so much as a modern art form, but a terrible secret kept from their children. There are cakes made to resemble full dead bodies that are devoured by kids. Tortillas with a light splash of salsa, are then filled with live bugs and quickly eaten. The diners even take a moment catch the escaping flying bugs and toss them back in their mouth. Bleecchhh. They only slightly explain this as basically a revenge killing to these flies that are dangerous to Mexican crops. Even early in this film, I'm already saying out loud to myself, "what the hell is going on?!" Then my eyes are assaulted by old men paying for kisses while air purifying their mouths and unhinging their dentures.

Yay! It's fake! 

There's actually one non-disturbing segment that shows photos being created and set with scenes of fictional horror. It's pretty fascinating and fun to look at it. The models are sprayed with fake blood, and phony knives protruding from their chests playfully.  It was great to have a nice break for a few minutes. Then, we're roasted once again on the fires of the "awesome panorama of human behavior". Followed by scenes more dog torture, Italian guys ramming their heads into a garage door, and an insane scene of an artist in flames painting a portrait of half naked Satan and his entourage.

Satan's entourage is a bit like Vince and the gangs, accept not on HBO.

I'm sure "Pazzo" is small potatoes compared to other notorious "is it real or not?" style shockumentaries such as "Faces Of Death" and others. "Cane" is considered of the first shockumentaries and from what I was reading actually harder to watch than "Pazzo". One of the filmmakers, Gualtiero Jacopetti (who also is responsible for the unsettling "Africa Addio"), admitted though to recreating the scene of a monk lighting himself on fire, despite how horribly realistic it appears. The rest of the chilling scenes I can't say for sure if they're real or not. Phony gore is much easier to handle, we know that the actors can be healed again once the scene is complete at filming. Their blood isn't really shed across the wall, an artist created that fluid using their creativity and ingenuity. When you know it's real, your stomach begins to turn, your brain casts a shadow of sadness but thankfully you can look the other way in your own home.

This about sums it up

You can buy "Mondo Pazzo" HERE

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  1. I kinda liked the Mondo Cane 1 & 2, there was goofy and lighthearted stuff mixed in with the more shocking elements, like massaging the kobe cattle and feeding them beer to make the best steak, or exploring odd courtship rituals. But... yeah. I strongly recommend against delving into the successors of the Mondo Cane movies, like sequels to Faces of Death and the countless other imitators. I felt like I had to watch ALL extreme cinema when I was young. I discovered the latecomers to the genre had to keep escalating to shock people. If Africa Addio is the film I remember, they show a mob burning a woman to death (for witchcraft, if I recall correctly!) and dozens of little boys and girls being graphically genitally mutilated in accordance with local practices. Another mondo-type movie I saw was narrated by Anton LaVey and amounted to a series of mass-snuff videos as we saw stunt-planes crashing into crowds of people and other disaster footage.
    I love watching imaginary people pretend that bad things are happening to them, but this whole real-life-horrors shockumentary genre eventually crossed lines that even a perverse jaded degenerate like me won't willingly cross. Knowing it's real makes me sick and depressed, and I don't think I've ever really recovered from that African mondo video I'm thinking of. I'd rather have a Nekromantik 1 & 2/Men Behind the Sun/A Serbian Film/Salo/Vase de Noces film festival than watch any part of that video again even once!

    1. yeah, for sure, the fake stuff is better. I don't think I'd want to watch the real thing. Where's the fun in that?


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