Something Weird Video // 1964 // 133 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // February 19th, 2004
Pure naked madness
In a metropolitan psychiatrist's office, a questionable quack is meeting with his colleagues, the statuesque, stone-faced Dr. Lovejoy and the newest member of his research team, the well-bearded Dr. Schmutz. The dopey doc has called his contemporaries together to write a book about the hyper-abnormal, extremely perverted practices of some of his patients. But first, this Freudian fraud must flash back to the case histories of all these hissy fitters so we can all drink in their demented debauchery. After hearing the confessions of a lustful poodle(?), a shattered shrink turns canine himself. Another amorous half-wit who works for a department store thinks the mannequin models come to life every night. He discusses his complex dressing and undressing ritual with a perplexed professional. Then we learn the fate of an unhappy exhibitionist who must find an outlet for her desire to disrobe (considering the Internet and MTV were still a few decades off). The final foray into the psychology of flesh is the tale of a mild mannered man with the worst teeth since Shane McGowan haunted by nude ghosts! Turns out our demented doctor has bought the milquetoast's spooky shack and now he sees the skin-exposed spooks as well. Does this mean he is crazy, or just very good at being Dr. Sex?
When Sylvester survives a near fatal car accident, he has the unfortunate luck of being rescued, Annie Wilkes style, by the dastardly duo of Wanda, The Sadistic Hypnotist and her girlfriend/love slave Greta. Wanda has some wicked ideas for the injured idjit. She ties him up in a secret bedroom and tortures him with whips, straps, and incredibly bad eye make-up. Whenever he complains, all the mesmerizing Miss has to do is zap him with her spellbinding stare and it's back to the mattress dungeon for the kept creep. Eventually, the crazed cult of lecherous ladies who call Wanda "Mistress" returns from a shopping spree or something and immediately begin nude swimming pool cavorting. Wanda hypnotizes the Avon lady into doing a slinky go-go dance. She turns a card-carrying sister of Sappho into a man-hungry nympho. But when a lewd-natic from the local fun-ee farm escapes and plies his raping ways amongst Wanda's wanton lasses, it's an every-orifice-for-itself orgy mixing paints, panting, and lots of LSD (in a large jar clearly labeled for easy dispensing). Eventually Sylvester is set free, the sex psycho is recaptured, and Wanda sets her cat-suited sights on another unlucky loser -- perhaps someone watching her in the audience?
If you like your nudie cuties on the silly, stupid side, Dr. Sex will definitely satisfy your need for naked nuttiness. About as low brow as a supermodel's forehead and carved from the same mold as other farce features like Kiss Me Quick, this is a half-joke movie taken to an O. Henry extreme where everything has a stunted, stilted faux twist ending. You know you're in trouble when the voiceover narration has to remind us that this will be a comedy. Sure, some of the overacting (or in the case of Dr. Lovejoy, near death deadpan) is entertaining, but between the peeping pooch who has an unhealthy sexual attraction to his owner and the exhibitionist who finally finds contentment as a stripper (go figure), the vignettes are just lame excuses to see females without their tops on. Dr. Sex is nothing more than a mid-40s pin-up magazine come to life. The women are all wholesome and top-heavy, with the standard pile of hair and poor fashion sense. The nudity is handled in a "hide the crotch quickly" fashion that makes for unusual poses and awkward movement. And the interaction between the actors and the models is in the "look but don't touch" school of scandal. From the strange cartoon opening (which wants us to believe that this is some Italian bedroom farce) to the several false finale endings, Dr. Sex is a movie that should have been better than it was. Still, it does provide moments of surreal senselessness (why, please, the constant shots of the stuffed pink bunny?) that will entertain as they perplex.
Wanda, The Sadist Hypnotist, on the other hand, is just plain weird. Not weird in a good way, like Crispin Glover or Sun Ra, but odd in an unsettling, snuff film kind of manner. Nothing vile or repugnant happens here, but we do get the feeling that we are witnessing someone's last moments on film (and the planet Earth) as this mangled mess of a movie unravels. From an unexplained man (who sees nude models alongside statues for sale in a trinket shop) going into a cinema to watch the movie Wanda, the Sadist Hypnotist to the ending in which this audience member is captured by the dull dominatrix, this is a film that never plays by the rules because, frankly, it never knew any existed and was just too damn dumb to find out. Director Greg Corarito's attempts at linear narrative disappear every time he exhibits his complete amateurism behind the camera. He wants to evoke the suggestive sequences of titular mind-bending while fetishing up the place with all kinds of B&D, S&M, and BFD. Only problem is, he tries to accomplish this via close-ups of over-cosmetic-ed eyes, random zooms, head spinning hard edits, and enough scene skipping to make "My Lou" jealous. And, of course, this flaccid filmmaker couldn't leave well enough alone. He had to cast himself as "The Maniac," the escaped loon who features so prominently in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Believing that the best way to suggest criminal insanity is to giggle and wag his tongue, we hope Wanda has an at-home lobotomy kit among her collection of whips and handcuffs. But no such luck. Just like Wanda's fashion shape-shifting (she never looks the same twice, which wreaks havoc on any attempt at continuity), this movie tries to be so many things that it can't do any of them right.
Since both films are about an hour in length, Something Weird goes out of its way to lard this DVD with about every nudie short and freakish fetish reel they could uncover. The plethora of pulchritude and pathetic attempts at titillation will either make or break your bodkin benchmarks. Standouts include Bob Cresse engaged in more mugging than Central Park in the 70s throughout The Casting Director, an obese janitor high-tailing it out of an apartment complex filled with exhibitionists in Handyman, and the stop-motion mania of a man trying to undress a woman with his mind in Jane on a Train. But for every sequence of salacious satisfaction, there is an arousal atrocity like Naked Devil Doll, 12 minutes of the most hideous woman (?) ever to grace the stag reel screen contorting her already misshapen body for endless poorly filmed close-ups. Then there are a couple of maiden aunts involved in a fencing face-off while wearing nothing but intricate lingerie in Dueling Divas. Add the anti-pot Strange Sex Scenes (which states that too much weed makes you hallucinate about having "relations" with hippies), Naked Party (a trio of the most unappealing stewardesses ever to say "Fly Me" share an apartment, and a shower, for one night), and Nudes and Nuts (wherein an artist hires every model he sees so that he can finger paint on their bare torsos), and it's almost tit overload. Along with a group of the dopiest, daffiest, and downright most delightful trailers (The Imp-Probable Mr. WeeGee for President!), the bonuses almost make up for the middling movies.
On the audio and video front, both films have problems. Each is in color and offers a full screen transfer from an original source. Dr. Sex starts with more emulsion scratches, negative dirt, and speckling than actual movie image, and it only gets moderately better throughout. Some scenes are crisp and almost clear. Others are like watching a post-Cuisinart class in editing and cutting. Wanda is better, if only by a little. The outdoor poolside shots have a decent clarity to them, but the minute we get into the home location, the lighting is catch as catch can. You could actually wager on whether the next shot will be properly lit or not, the images are so random. Sonically, you will need hearing aids, translators, amplification, and a digital deciphering machine to understand most of what is going on. Wanda's dialogue drops out from time to time, as if someone forgot to hook up the recording equipment, and Dr. Sex is so overmodulated and under-recorded that the attempts at bad Bavarian accents only make the matters worse. It is understandable that technology from 40 years ago would suffer in comparison to today, but just be warned that this is no bit of aural excellence.
With promising titles that actually result in underachieving non-excitement, Dr. Sex / Wanda, The Sadistic Hypnotist are failed occasions of amusement mixed with a little cinematic bait and switch. While these obscure objets d'exploitation deserve at least a look-see, they will have you yearning for the charming wit of Dr. Breedlove or comic subtlety of Bill Kerwin within minutes. They definitely need more sex fizz.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 133 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Archival Short Subjects
* Nudies Short Subjects
* Gallery of Exploitation Magazine Covers with Audio Rarities
* IMDb: Dr. Sex
* IMdb: Wanda, the Sadistic Hypnotist