Friday, September 08, 2006

Killer Kondom (1996) review

Now here's some REAL German crap! But, at least it's original and entertaining. You've heard it, and probably said it: "Germans aren't funny, they have no sense of humor," but it's untrue.

How do I know this? The existence of this film, silly. The Germans like dry humor, and black humor. "Killer Kondom" is a strange creature
that stands outside normal social conventions, never mind movie ones. That's it's a gay comedy is only partly-true, as its criticisms of American and Western sexual proprieties comes from a place that can only be called "pansexual." To call it "seedy" is a high compliment!

Most North American men will feel uneasy watching a film that revels in gay subcultures, but it's also just a great social satire that any open-minded adult will enjoy. We should wish to be scandalized in order to grow, and Killer Kondom delivers the unusual in a film noir and horror vein that explodes into the surreal at almost every turn. Virtually every sexual taboo is explored here, so Killer Kondom isn't exactly a date film, heh-heh-heh, but it's a real hoot.

But, if you want to remove uptight, unwanted company, you could do worse than to pop this into the video-player. You have to admire something this funny, yet so equally annoying. Maybe the funniest thing is that the film takes place in New York City, with an all-German cast speaking their native-language. This alone is going to be pretty funny to North Americans and everyone outside of Germany, but that's before you even get to what can only be described as one of the most absurd plot-lines in movie history!

The story itself is pretty simple: male clients of prostitutes are being castrated by penis-eating creatures in a seedy New York Hotel (amazingly, not the Chelsea!). The protagonist--an openly-gay cop who makes Rainer Fassbinder look handsome--has to discover what the attacks are, who originated them, and why. It's quite a trip to the ending, and often hair-raising, especially if you're male. The depiction of American Midwesterners (anthropologically accurate, yet done in German) is hilarious in the prologue with the hayseed father, and a rare treat that's spot-on in its observations!

Like a lot of European cinema, Killer Kondom isn't always easy to follow, but it doesn't matter, you um...just let it flow. As you might expect, it has a standard noirish voiceover narration that I like for its cynicism, and therefore, it has a familiar existentialist quality to it. Inevitably, the story revolves around its camp/noir/horror/comedy structure, involving a very ugly gay Sicilian cop, lots of subplots of his past-relationships (more Fassbinder here!), and lots of baiting-and-chasing of the mutant condoms.

You could say this film sends up several genres simultaneously, sometimes all in one scene! From the hardboiled, gumshoe Hollywood detective film, to John Waters grossout insanity, to some truly bizarre scenarios nobody ever imagined until the creation of Killer Kondom, this film has it all for those who love trash cinema.

A number of the scenes and makeup were designs by Swiss surrealist, H. R. Giger, although several concepts never made it to the final release print. I've seen his sketches, and they were downright Medieval. Too bad, as his concepts were what made this film worth a look. It could have been better, but one assumes there was no money to realize several of his designs, they were very elaborate.

Troma's DVD is just passable, with lousy audio and picture, but it's cheap and fun, just like a one-night-stand. Killer Kondom is a cult classic with a "Get-the-f%*#-outta-here!!!" ending.