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Case Number 18548: Small Claims Court

Buy The Sadist With Red Teeth / Forbidden Paris at Amazon

The Sadist With Red Teeth / Forbidden Paris

Mondo Macabro // 1971 // 162 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // March 19th, 2010

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Tom Becker is an obstructionist with gingivitis.

The Charge

"Look at its hate-filled eye…its red crest…chickens are cruel."—Poetic down-spiral of a would-be vampire

The Case

After being involved in a car accident that kills his best friend, young French guy Daniel (Albert Simono, Paul and Michelle) is committed to an asylum. His post-traumatic stress takes an odd form: He comes to believe that he's a vampire. This is a lucky break for his doctor, who actually wants Daniel to be a vampire—not just any vampire, but king of the vampires, or some such thing. Along with his twitchy assistant, this heinous Hippocrates is engineering Daniel's descent into vampirism because…well, just because.

Daniel's girlfriend, the lovely Jane, seems pretty clueless about everything. She busies herself by indulging Daniel's bloodsucking anxieties and parading around topless. Daniel takes matters into his own shaky hands by assaulting strange women in movie theaters and biting their necks ("It's a prank!" he innocently proclaims to the police). Later, he seeks out a hypnotist who promises to get him in touch with his inner bat, and then he goes to a novelty shop where he buys a pair of plastic fangs that prove unexpectedly effective on the throat of a lovely cashier ("Mon Dieu!"). The small plastic puncture wound inexplicably makes the jeune fille a filet, and Daniel's first official victim, and soon the police are hot on the trail of Nous-Feratu. Our boy consoles himself by staring down a chicken, and later beheading the poor fowl and smearing its blood all over him.

Since this is France, naturally everything comes to a head at a costume party at the Champs Elysees, where everyone is done up in Louis Quatorze drag, except Daniel, who goes Lugosi. The doctors are there (in costume), the police are there (in costume), Jane is there (in costume)…the entire cast is there, except the bloodied shopgirl and the chicken. In no time flat, our garçon perdu is exploiting all the possibilities of his plastic teeth, jabbing them into random throats, which causes the jabbees to scream, grab their heads, and die.

Will Jane and the police be able to…

Cripes, I can't even do this one.

In my time at DVD Verdict, I've reviewed two Friday the 13th movies. I've reviewed John Holmes porn movies. I've reviewed a lifetime's punishment worth of Lionsgate no-budget horror offerings, I've reviewed Meet the Spartans, and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, but even with that shameful output, The Sadist With Red Teeth has got to be one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen. I'm not saying it's bad—well, I am, but that's not the point of this rant—and it's far from the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's awfully senseless and idiotic, its self-conscious quirks becoming tedious early on.

Why is the doctor trying to get Daniel to be a vampire? How do plastic novelty-store fangs turn into a killing machine? Who is the Beetlejuice-looking guy at the hypno's place? Why does Daniel see little red creatures that look like they crawled out of an ophthalmologist's office, why does everyone start walking in reverse, why do we get ridiculous inserts of black and white stock footage of bombs exploding or buildings collapsing?

I don't know. Maybe this is supposed to be an exercise in surrealistic minimalism or minimalist surrealism; maybe it's supposed to be funny in that "Jerry Lewis is a genius" way, or scary the way Roger Corman's Poe adaptations were supposed to be, only without the subtext, eroticism, atmosphere, compelling performances, and discernable plot. Or maybe, it's just an inept French cheapie.

For all intents and purposes, this is a double feature, with a second film by the same director, Forbidden Paris, on its own disc. Forbidden Paris is one of those dreadful mondo movies in which people with lots of excess flesh stroll around in little or no clothing doing things like jabbing needles into themselves and participating in tepid, strategically shot orgies. For fans of this sort of thing, I guess Forbidden Paris will be considered a "find."

Both films look really good, with solid anamorphic transfers and reasonable French-language soundtracks. The recurring theme in Sadist is a pop song that would be right at home at a goth prom, with lyrics that go something like this:

"Our love is dead
Let the guitars sing.
Our love is dead
Haunted by our dreams.
Our love is dead
But I love you still.
But I love you still
You who no longer loves me."

Sadist gets a full slate of extras, including a 30-minute documentary about Director Jean-Louis van Belle that includes clips from his other films; a short interview with van Belle; and a lengthy on-screen text piece about the director and the film. The Forbidden Paris disc has an introduction from van Belle.

The Verdict

I don't know. Maybe it's me. Maybe van Belle is a great and ignored talent—his last credited film is a sex comedy from 1977—who's ripe for rediscovery. Maybe there's some Cahiers du cinéma clambake around the corner for this guy.

Maybe.

But while Mondo Macabro gets props for putting out a stellar package, I just could not get into these two films, particularly The Sadist With Red Teeth.

It's well and fine to do a little low-budget surrealism, but there's nothing Andalusian about this chien.

Worth a look for the curious, but you've been warned.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 50

Perp Profile

Studio: Mondo Macabro
Video Formats:
• 1.66:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (French)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 162 Minutes
Release Year: 1971
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Bad
• Documentary
• Foreign
• Horror
• Independent

Distinguishing Marks

• Documentary
• Interview
• Text Notes








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