There are some films you can sense where everyone put their best foot forward. And then there are some films where it’s obvious people were just running out the clock to get a paycheck. With “Mondo Balordo” you can sense Boris Karloff would shamble in to the studio, record his narration for this monstrosity and then leave back to his home. The absolutely awful “Mondo Balordo” is one in a series of pseudo-documentaries that exploit their topics to a certain degree.
This documentary is only worth viewing for Boris Karloff whose light narration cushions what’s an otherwise bizarre, tedious, and silly documentary. This isn’t even a documentary so much as it is a bunch of footage spliced together to present this artificial mission of showing us the weird, wild world before our feet. So, rather than give us a point or zero in on one thing, Karloff’s narration takes us in and out of all kinds of corners of society, all of which will likely blow your mind.
Featured in the span ninety (grueling) minutes, there’s footage and looks at a dwarf cover singer, bodybuilders fighting, bedouin pimps, Japanese models for rent, Indian exorcists, people who can’t stop smoking, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lottery players, a clone of Valentino, high end rich dogs, a Boreno version of Romeo and Juliet, cults, nightclubs, random beauty pageants, Luna Park, London after hours and oh so much more. The cavalcade of cuckoo is nigh endless. Fans of the bizarre cinematic oddities might find value in this weird pastiche of unusual sights and sounds. For folks expecting a surefire Boris Karloff spectacle, though? You’ll be sorely disappointed.
The new release from Severin Films comes with a fully restored version of “Mondo Balordo,” while extras includes an original trailer for Mondo Balordo, and a bonus feature film titled The Orientals, a ninety minute Italian film from 1960 directed by Romolo Marcellini, a documentary filmmaker who directed twenty-five films. The plot revolves around six women and the six locations where they live, and focuses on a lot of the elements that would later be regarded as Mondo Cinema. It’s not very good, either. But it was transferred from the 35mm print. While it’s in rough shape, it should compensate for the actual film on the Blu-Ray.