Mondo Erotico (In 80 Betten um die Welt)
(1976, dir: Jess Franco)
(1976, dir: Jess Franco)
Ah, a Jess Franco Mondo film! Right off the bat I'm excited! Being a fan of efforts like Bruno Mattei's Libidomania, the idea of a sleazy Mondo film excites me and boy does uncle Jess deliver in his offering! Basically, the film is staged as a light night sex show (think Sexcetra, but miles better and hairier). Our hostess takes us around the world on a sexual journey starting in America. In New York we witness an exclusive Black Mass hosted by an overweight Siouxsie and the Banshees fan in a tiny room. Then it's a quick stop in San Fransisco to meet a prostitute awkwardly fondling and licking a flaccid dick before meeting a woman who enjoys the skin care benefits of semen (insert childish facial joke here). Once we are done with the States we travel to Copenhagen to enjoy a live sex show in the same small room clearly decorated differently. There's some audience participation done in the style of good old-fashioned bingo! Once that's over, it's time to visit Germany to meet Hamburg's most famous dominatrix. She's very open to interviews and is of course extremely modest! We get to witness one of her shows (guys may want to hold their balls for this sequence!). America and Europe is fun and all, but a change of scenery and climate is in order. Thankfully, we get treated to the golden sands of Agoa. A tropical paradise in which all the natives are pale!? Oh well, not to worry because we get to see how the locals deal with marriage. Let's just say that being a godfather has perks! Once Erik Falk (Ilsa the Mad Butcher) has his fun in the sun, we find ourselves in Amsterdam. It's time for sex education with a difference! So that's how you're supposed to masturbate! Very awkwardly! Not only that, but I know what an 'Aerodynamic Bitch' is! Once class has finished, blow up doll demonstrations and all, we finish off our journey on the Orient and experience some cosmic sexual intercourse, or is it sexual miming!?
Overall, Mondo Erotico is an odd and extremely entertaining film that is often silly and downright absurd! It's also both an intentionally and unintentionally effort. The budget was clearly tighter than the labias on show as it's clearly noticeable that both the cast and sets are used over and over. This especially entertaining with regards to the small interior set used for most of the set pieces and the Agoa sequence. Stock footage is inserted to give the impression that this is a globe-trotting effort, but you won't be fooled. The highlight for me has to be the sex education scene, I haven't been that amused in a while! If you want a trip, you're gonna love the final segment too! The film is very graphic in terms of sexual content even though it does seem that some parts are hardcore inserts shot separately, gotta love stunt cock! The film never takes itself too seriously. It's a jigsaw of elements we have come to love about Jess Franco films and the final picture is a well-rounded hardcore Mondo film that stands toe to toe with the best of them. If you are somewhat new to Jess Franco's work, this is a great example of him at his scuzziest. Don't get me wrong, it's far from 'extreme', but it's damn sleazy. That being said, there's a light-hearted tone to the film. Just a fun and enjoyable entry in to a genre that can get quite tedious (I'm looking at you Mondo Cane!).
The picture and sound quality are of a very high standard in my opinion. Of course, the nature of this production means that you are going to expect print damage, but it never detracts from the restoration. Hats off to those involved in the restoration! The film is presented in German with English subtitles. Overall, this is an extremely solid release for Francophiles and newcomers a like. In terms of extras we get a weird and wonderful featurette with Erik Falk revisiting some of his films and sharing stories as well as treating us to his philosophy on sex and sexuality. Not only that, there are plenty of trailers, a photo gallery and reversible artwork. The only downside is the Jess Franco audio interview which isn't English friendly. That being said, it's a tiny flaw which doesn't take anything away from this release at all. I have to say, of all the Ascot Elite releases, this is my favourite. A very noteworthy entry in to Jess Franco's filmography that has received a fantastic release!
Mondo Erotico is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Ascot Elite Home Entertainment and Illusions UNLTD.