Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Curious Dr Humpp (1967)

Argentinian exploitation movies are possibly something you never even knew existed, but in fact Emilio Vieyra not only made exploitation movies in that country, but several are now available on DVD, including Blood of the Virgins (1967). It’s not a bad little horror flick, but La venganza del sexo is something else again. Made in 1967, a distributor added extra softcore sex scenes and it was released in the US in 1971 as The Curious Dr Humpp.

The practice of adding additional nudity or sex scenes was fairly common back in the golden age of grindhouse movies. Mostly the results are jarring and disjointed but it has to be admitted that in this case it was done with a certain amount of skill, and in any case the movie itself is so bizarre and so sexual that you can’t really argue that any harm was done to Vieyra’s very strange vision.

Dr Humpp is a mad scientist, continuing the work of an earlier mad scientist on the prolonging of human life by the use of chemicals produced during sex. He kidnaps people, pumps them full of aphrodisiacs, and they then have sex until they literally exhaust themselves to death. Dr Humpp and his assistant collect blood from their victims at the moment of climax, and this provides the raw materials for his experiments. The disappearances attract the attention of both the local police and a zealous newspaper reporter. The reporter manages to get himself captured by the mad doctor, and falls in love with one of the other captives who has been assigned to him as his sexual partner.

Dr Humpp also has a small army of people who have been transformed into human automatons, to provide a security force and to help collect further victims. For some reason that is never explained they sometimes seem to end up looking like monsters.
This is a true camp classic, an amazingly odd but undeniably fascinating little movie. Vieyra’s movies have something of the outrageously campy feel of Mexican horror movies of the 50s and 60s with a dash of Swinging 60s vibe as well. Vieyra made a lot of movies and it’s to be hoped that a few more show up on DVD. It would also be nice to see more Argentinian exploitation features from other director, although a few have been released by Something Weird.

The Curious Dr Humpp is not a great film by any means, but if you’re in the mood for goofy weirdness then it’s an enjoyable romp. Something Weird’s DVD release isn’t one of their best. The film is presented full-frame and there’s quite a bit of damage, but considering they probably had very poor source materials to work with and considering the movie’s obscurity I’m sure they did the best they could. This is definitely one for aficionados of odd but appealing trash cinema.

1 comment:

jrp04f said...

I recently saw this film thanks to Something Weird. What a bizarre film, the comedic hippie song "My Teenage Fallout Queen" on the extras menu was a slightly better attraction :)

Does anyone have a clue what the characters were originally called. I doubt their names were Dr. Humpp, George, etc in Argentinian.