Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rare *Parody* Flix: Mr. Mike's Mondo Video

It's obscure and weird- my kind of movie!  Today's film is Mr. Mike's Mondo Video, a weird weird film by a weird, weird Writer.  Michael O'Donoghue was a Writer on Saturday Night Live when it first came out and made TV History.  His warped sense of humor really helped the show stand out as being weird.  This is the show that somehow segued from two men dressed in bee costumes to men in bee costumes singing Sam & Dave to The Blues Brothers.  The goal of this film is simple (yet ridiculous): parodying Mondo Films.  Laughing at Mondo Films- who would do such a thing?!?  The film is described as a direct Parody of Mondo Cane, but that's a bit misleading.  One thing that makes it somewhat different is that the Host- Mr. Mike, naturally- appears on-camera and serves a bridge for the segments.  The segments are quirky and strange- that's for damn sure!  You get cats, claymation skeletons and men disguised as dogs.  The film is notable for being an early prototype for experimental comedy used alot these days by people (as opposed to comedians) like Tim & Eric.  To see a Rare Flick that's crazy and random, read on...
This is Mr. Mike (aka Writer/Director Michael O'Donoghue).  He seems trustworthy, right?
The first segment is highlighting a man who trains cats to swim in France (to cut down on drownings).  This means tossing cats into the pool...alot.

Yeah, it is awkward to watch as a cat-lover, but it is much tamer than the shit done to animals in real Mondo films!
In the next segment, we see the secret Church of Our (Jack) Lord.  They worship the Hawaii Five-O (the original, young people) and are led by Dan Akroyd (with accompaniment from Paul Schaffer).

It is strange, but one of the stronger segments as far as being a Mondo Film Parody.
They do a Parody of the 'Man on the Street' Segments by asking people weird questions like 'Should Deaf and Dumb People Be Allowed to Sign With Both Hands While Driving.'

As a bonus, they use it as an excuse to show the Edison film in which he electrocutes an Elephant.
There's a strange bit where we see Sid Vicious sing 'My Way' as part of his solo career.  I say 'see' since the music rights were challenged for Home Video (and DVD) Release.  Rather than cut it, they just left it in to highlight the loss.

Incidentally, this same footage would be used in another film the same year (1980) and be allowed.  Weird.  It also appears in the Credits of Juan of the Dead.  Double weird!
In the 'Man on the Street' bits, we see one of the many SNL alumni here: Bill Murray.  He doesn't do a whole lot, but it's still Bill Murray.
One bit of footage is built up to for the first half of the footage.  We finally get it (after two teases).  The footage: The Laser Bra 2000.

I'll just leave it at that.
The most star-studded bit is one where women explain why they like jerks.  Said women include Margot Kidder (below), Larraine Newman, Wendy Malick (pre-Just Shoot Me), Gilda Radner, Terri Garr and Debbie Harry.
Another pair of Segments are 'Dream Sequences.'  One of them is a bit with a claymation skeleton and a cat.  The other is...Klaus Nomi.

Yes, the Pop Star/Performer/Venture Bros Character was so weird in his day that footage of him singing an Aria is weird enough to be a 'Dream Sequence' this movie.
The final bit involves an African Tribe that only gets our Pop Culture leftovers (like Pet Rocks, etc) and has abandoned their old ways.  Mike makes derisive commentary about how their society has collapsed...until they hear him and kill him.

Here's a twist: someone is doing the Cannibal Holocaust bit- 2 years before that film would come out!  The End.
It's a weird, mixed bag of madness.  There is no theme to this film other than 'Random Ideas Are Weird.'  Yes, it is framed as a film made by Mr. Mike.  Other than that though, he has no message or anything.  He doesn't even really pretend to.  Far be it from me to nitpick a film from 1980 made by a guy who died in 1995, but maybe he should have done it.  As it is, it is slightly more cohesive than A Kentucky Fried Movie.  That film tends to be more laugh out loud funny, while this one is often laugh at how odd things are funny.  I've used the word weird- or other synonyms of it- alot here.  Given that this film features footage from an old skin flick, someone's home movies (don't ask) and footage of Dan Akroyd's webbed feet, what other word(s) fit?  The whole thing is a nice bit of experimental film-making that is an easy recommendation to those who like the modern versions of such thing.  If you're not, you are just going to be very confused by the whole damn thing.  As someone who watches bad movies for a living (you pay me to do this, right?), I get it.  Let this man's fashion sense say it all...
Next up, an important film to look at for those like me who skipped the 2013 Carrie Remake.  Let's see how the 2002 Version ended up to gauge our interest level.  Stay tuned...

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