director Emilio Vieyra
Wow. What a lulu!
Since I’ve been in San Francisco (the early 1990’s), I started my ventures in cult cinema through the Inner Sunset’s legendary Le Video store. And from that cult section I became of the plethora of materials that they had from Something Weird video, a company that I didn’t know much about at the time other than Le Video seemed to carry their entire spate of old porn loops, Betty Page movies, and a variety of exploitation movies. I didn’t come to know until at least a decadFirze later that it was the work and cultivation of Mike Vraney and Frank Henenlotter.
But some, maybe many, of the movies and covers sank into my brain as I pored over the video shelves every night that I lingered long in the shelves of the video store (truly a lost art in this day and age). And from there and perhaps from other places as well, the image of The Curious Dr. Humpp stared out at me.
I’ll give you a synopsis, but I recommend reading Henenlotter’s own liner notes on the film at SomethingWeird.com. It is a testament to Something Weird in the role it has played in aspects of film preservation that the sleaze market just probably would not have otherwise received.
It’s a story about a doctor with a degenerative disease that requires him to develop a serum that keeps him young and healthy. This serum is derived from outrageous sexual ecstasies of the highly libidinous. So not only does he kidnap nymphomaniacs and the like, but he gives them copious aphrodisiacs to keep the stuff coming. One problem is that most men expire in the work. Or he turns them into weirdo zombies.
It’s the late 1960’s, so these are hippies and drugs and lots of copious nudity, all in a rather glorious black-and-white. And then these weird zombies with strange papier-mache heads that are so very very strange themselves.
It’s a unique level of perversity. And an Argentine one by origin. And you have to know that if Henenlotter says, “Brace yourselves, folks, this one’s a jaw dropper!” that you better believe him.