Image Entertainment presents
The Curious Dr. Humpp (La Venganza del Sexo) (1967)
"Sex dominates the world....and now, I dominate sex!"- Dr. Humpp (Aldo Barbero)
Stars: Richard Bauleo, Gloria Prat, Aldo Barbero
Other Stars: Susan Beltran, Justin Martin
Director: Emilio Vieyra
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, extensive sexual content, language, drug use, violence)
Run Time: 01h:27m:07s
Release Date: 2000-10-10
DVD ReviewWell, dOc covers the globe, if nothing else. We not only have reviews of classic American and English horror, French, German, Italian, Spanish and even Japanese horror, but now we add the strangest of the strange: Argentinian horror. The good folks at Something Weird Video have brought out a DVD of The Curious Dr. Humpp, an extremely odd sexploitation/horror film from the late 60s taken from the Argentine original (La Venganza del Sexo), with nearly 20 minutes of softcore sex added to increase the interest levels of whomever might have been tempted to check out this picture.
The title reference to "Curious" doesn't mean that the title character suffers from curiosity; rather it's an attempt to attract attention to itself by aligning the movie with the then-notorious I Am Curious (Yellow), which started the assault of sex on the mainstream big screen. We begin with a variety of folks engaged in one or another sexually-related practice, each of whom is assaulted and carted away by a stiff-walking giant who appears to be wearing an old Uncle Creepy mask. We soon learn that the giant is working for the mysterious Dr. Humpp (Aldo Barbero), who is extracting fluids from his sexually aroused experimental subjects to preserve himself from cellular disintegration. He's also babbling something about ruling the world and helping mankind, but he's also taking orders from a brain floating in a tank, so who really knows what he's up to?
In addition to the giant, Dr. Humpp also has a small army of robotic humans from whom all sexual desire has been extracted; apparently a side effect of this results in them wanting to wear nylon stockings over their heads. The doctor (doctor of what, I wonder) also has a buxom blonde sex-crazy assistant who wants to become an experimental subject in the worst way. Crusading reporter George Foran (Richard Bauleo) promptly gets captured by the giant and not only seduces the assistant, but also falls in love with the beautiful stripper Rachel (Gloria Prat) who doesn't have much to say but gratifyingly spends most of her time in the nude. As a matter of fact, most of the cast spends most of their time in the nude. Since Dr. Humpp's experiments require all sex, all the time, this seems pretty reasonable.
The starlets featured in their pulchritude are on the whole quite attractive, which is one redeeming feature of this mess. The "acting" is wooden at best, from what's visible on the screen. The English dubbing is atrocious, and the original audio track is not provided for comparison.
What we end up with is a soft-core porn that has some nonsensical horror movie elements grafted onto it. As a result, it's really not very satisfying either way (see the review of Female Vampire elsewhere on the site to see another similar situation). It's kind of sad, because from special feature of the clip of the opening sequence from the original, non-US-edited film, it looks as if there might have been a decent movie here somewhere underneath all the low-grade smut. Okay, the giant is still wearing an Uncle Creepy mask, but there is some undeniable suspense and tension in the original which is definitely missing from the US version. Something Weird really should have given us both versions either on a dual layer disc or through seamless branching.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Considering the origin of this picture and its nature as a half-baked concoction of two disparate genres, the black-and-white image looks far better than one might expect. There are good blacks and a decent range of greys. A few shots seems a little over-contrasted, but by and large it looks quite acceptable. Significant grain is visible, but this is almost certainly present in the original source material and not objectionable. A few speckles and jumps are visible, but overall a nice-looking picture.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: As might be expected from the description of the film, the audio is awful. The only track is the terrible English mono track, which is full of noise, hiss, crackling and occasional electrical buzzing. No doubt this is the fault of the source materials, but it's still a less-than-pleasant listening experience.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Demon Organ
2 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Deleted Scenes
- Short films Rasputin and the Princess, The Girl and the Skeleton,and My Teenage Fallout Queen
- Gallery of exploitation advertising materials
Probably the best extra is a set of extensive production notes from exploitation director Frank Henenlotter (creator of the notorious Brain Damage, Frankenhooker and Basket Case), who knows his grade Z movies. These notes, printed on the gatefold snapper case are quite informative and give a great deal of background information on the film, its transformation in the US into smut, and the career of its director, Emilio Vieyra.
A trailer for the main film is included, as are two other trailers. First, a nasty-sounding trailer for Vieyra's other sex-horror combo of 1967, The Deadly Organ (aka Feast of Flesh or Placer Sangriento). Two TV spots are also included for the latter film, each emphasizing women in the act of undressing to an extent somewhat jarring for a 1967 release. The audio on these is equally bad.
We also get three short films, none of which have anything to do with Vieyra or the feature other than the sex-horror/scifi linking. The first, a 1952 strip show entitled Rasputin and the Princess, features a slightly stout stripper who dances down to a g-string, then lies on a coffin, from behind which rises a man in a monster mask; apparently the filmmakers believed the Russian monk to be a close relative of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He dances with the stripper for a while, then disappears. Again, this short includes an irritating Something Weird Video logo throughout its duration.
The second short is a jaw-dropping hardcore loop featuring an attractive young woman making out with a life-size cardboard Halloween skeleton. While the rest of this disc would rate about an R from the MPAA, this short would be off the charts with its gynecological emphasis and its suggestions of necrophilia. What the heck was going on here? Unfortunately, Something Weird has deigned not to enlighten us by providing any information whatsoever.
The final short is the high point of the entire disc. Entitled George McKelvey sings My Teenage Fallout Queen, this is a goofy proto-music video that would do Weird Al Yankovic proud. George warbles (badly) about the triple hands of his baby who got caught outside the fallout shelter; she still has his class ring, which now glows in the dark. "My geiger counter tells me that you're hot!" makes me laugh every time I see it. A weird and wonderful little bit that stands out not just because it's the only part of the disc that's in color.
Finally, there is a gallery of exploitation art, complete with random radio spots. This is the standard- issue gallery that appears on other SWV discs. There are four lobby cards from Venganza del Sexo, however.
The grade drops from a C+ to a C- for the forced trailer and the onscreen logos.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsThe Curious Dr. Humpp is a butchered and re-edited softcore film that probably can be safely left on the shelf. Only for those who like old-time smut, with a little goofy horror thrown in for laughs. This could have been a much better disc if the original movie had been included. Something Weird, please lose the forced trailers at the beginning and the onscreen logos!!
Mark Zimmer 2000-10-12