Monday, July 5, 2010
The Curious Dr. Humpp aka La Venganza Del Sexo 1967 ***
Dir: Emilio Vieyra
Stars: Gloria Prat, Richard Bauleo, Aldo Barbero, Hippies, Lesbians
A line from this movie, “Use my body to keep you alive,” prefaces the Rob Zombie song “Never Gonna Stop Me.” Print watched was the later, Americanized version where more overt sexual scenes were spliced in. Plot involves a grim-faced scientist kidnapping randy young people to copulate, which somehow provides him with a serum to keep him young forever. A talking brain in a jar is in league with him (reminiscent of Krang and Shredder on TMNT, retroactively), and his beautiful assistant pines for him. He tells her that her body is his to use as he pleases. Contains some genuinely weird scenes and moody, dark cinematrography. The charmingly unaffected Gloria Prat is the focus of desire for Humpp’s strange creature-ally. Action moves very quickly, as in the first few minutes we see the creature and Humpp’s automaton slaves, who actually look a great deal like the aliens in Killers from Space. Has almost everything you look for in a great B: a mad scientist, a monster, a beautiful girl (well several actually), a talking brain, drug use and murder. The elements gel almost perfectly, and only the overt sexuality becomes a bit of a drawback, as some of the naked scenes, likely not in the original cut, get too long and tedious. For my money the gorgeous and exotic Prat, fully clothed, or at most in a semi sheer nightgown, is much hotter than any nudity. Suggestion is the power of a good B. Or to put it another way, if an exploitation schlock movie is presented as legitimate but has a sexual subtext, that’s more interesting and enticing, and a more telling analog to daily life, than if it’s just a porno with a concept. Also, it’s more fun, and more funny. Otherwise, though - totally a classic. Soundtrack is beautiful, a lot of moody flute helps maintain the nighttime eeriness of many of the shots. Most of Vieyra’s technique is to film outside in the middle of the night with a floodlight, but it works very well for him.
Here's a trailer for a Vieyra movie that I like even better for no sensible reason, called alternately Feast of Flesh. Gloria Prat also appears in this underappreciated classic of eeriness and overdub.