Mondo Balordo (2nd feature on Drive-In Movie Double Feature #58 (Sinister Cinema)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

Mondo movies are the cinematic version of freak shows: they exploit people's morbid curiosity, they're designed to shock, you know some of the stuff is fake and some is probably real but you can't tell one from the other, and they're sleazy. This one is typical of the genre, though the truly shocking moments are vastly outnumbered by stuff that would only shock those with the most straight-laced of sensibilities. Did you know that lions actually kill and eat zebras, men actually ogle women's bodies on the street, fat ugly people actually wear swimsuits on the beach, rich people actually pay for expensive medical treatment for their sick dogs, Neapolitans actually play the numbers a lot, lesbians actually exist (gasp!), or that midgets actually have sex (double gasp!!)?? The only thing lamer than these supposed shocks are the moments of supposed "social commentary". Example: footage of old men in formal dress is juxtaposed with footage of penguins––ever notice the similarity? Still, if you can get past the sleaziness and cynicism, there are genuinely bizarre and interesting images in this film, though the filmmakers seem to be the last ones to know about them. An example is footage from a Las Vegas "Miss Breast America" contest, where women are judged on their two most prominent assets. You're supposed to be shocked that such a contest exists, and struck by the irony that the contest is a benefit for the preservation of Egyptian pyramids, but the really weird thing about it is that all the contestants are wearing industrial-strength bras with visible trusses and supports, making it impossible to really tell the natural shape (or even size) of the women's breasts at all. Whether or not you can stomach Mondo movies ultimately depends upon your tolerance for sleaze. I personally don't get into them a whole lot, but in small doses they do offer an interesting dose of weirdness.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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