Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Curious Case of Dr. Humpp (1969)

Cult 60's Schlocker for the Sexually Curious

The Curious Dr. Humpp was one of the first signs that the carnal upheaval of the psychedelic 60s was getting out of hand in South American filmdom: Better known by its original name, La Venganza Del Sexo is an Argentine (black and white) cult flick that kicks off with a mosaic of virile people making out, smoking grass, performing stripteases, groping each other, getting naked, panting and licking one another and drinking themselves into nothingness.

However, since as is the way with films of this kind - these drooling hedonists cannot relish bodily pleasures without paying a heavy price, all of them suffer a violent retribution. This punishment takes the form of a grotesquely (albeit funny) monster with gray hands and a blinking light on his forehead, who etherizes these luckless sensualists, piles them into the back of a gunmetal station wagon transports them back to the estate of the mad Dr. Humpp, where they are subjected to experiments of a, um, (you guessed it) sexual nature.

An agile young reporter leaps onto Dr. Humpp’s trail (aided by surprisingly carefree eyewitness accounts of a saucer-eyed, forehead lighted creature at the numerous abduction scenes), but a gang of guys in Buck Rogers suits wearing pantyhose on their heads detain him and make him have sex with a couple of stunning models. Meanwhile Dr. Humpp, in the manner of a James Bond villain, tells the reporter everything.

Here’s Dr. Humpp’s problem: another doctor subjected him to similar experiments years before in Italy, and now Dr. Humpp has developed a vampiric addiction and to stay alive must slurp the blood of experimental subjects who have been supercharged with turbo lust. The original doctor is now a respiring brain in a jar, so he’s not doing that great, either. Besides, Dr. Humpp is also working on a way to boost the human race’s collective brain capacity by souping up everybody’s latent libido.

If it was 2011, Doc Humpp might have got a robust grant from the Viagra Foundation but the reporter hero decides, for some reason, that what Dr. Humpp’s doing isn’t such a great idea. And he spends the rest of the movie trying to shut Dr. Humpp’s operation down, and even though he’s the good guy, you will not be rooting for him at all.

I usually try to retain my impartiality and prudence, but in this case I am on my knees, blubbering, begging you to pilfer, commit traffic violations, leap from rooftop to rooftop of tall buildings, swing from jungle vines, do what you have to but see this movie. It is beyond belief (really).

A exasperating mix of genres from horror to sci-fi to pure morality play, The Curious Dr. Humpp absolutely does not give a fuck about conformist film narration and yet spins a untamed yarn with the abnormal lucidity of a paranoid vision or a death-bed vision. What sort of wild world is this where deformed ogres wearing metal boots stumble into strip clubs without eliciting more than a flummoxed nod from the clientele? Where the act of sex becomes laced with dim-eyed horror, and yet captive experimental subjects are actually given pretty nice rooms with telephones and framed pictures on the walls? Where mad scientists create inhibition-addling aphrodisiacs using items found at an everyday pharmacy? And where all this is made to seem prosaic, as though Emilio Vieyra (the movie’s director) was merely chronicling what was happening routinely in the cities of Argentina in 1967?

I don’t know why, but this movie ís truly enthralling. And for those who are after less cerebral pleasures, the erotic scenes are often aggressively arousing. But even if the dirty stuff is all you’re in it for you still won’t be able to help thinking about this one a little bit. When you watch two lesbians make out with bated breath while the monster plays a pulsating song on a guitar-like instrument, all forcefully punctuated with hazy, surreal shots of half-dead people wandering through a garden, you may wonder if Vieyra and not mad Doctor Humpp, is the one touched with a crazy kind of brilliance.

Free Streaming/Download Avi Link: VeeHD


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