||Mau Mau Sex Sex
2000 - Unrated - 80 Mins.
|Director: Ted Bonnitt|
|Producer: Ted Bonnitt, Eddie Muller, Keith Robinson|
|Written By: Eddie Muller, Ted Bonnitt|
|Starring: Dave Friedman, Dan Sonney, Frank Henenlotter, Mike Vraney |
|Review by: James O'Ehley
In Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” there is a classic scene in which Allen’s elementary schoolmates predict what will happen to them in adult life. ‘I’ll be a heroin addict,’ one informs us. ‘I’ll be into leather,’ another moppet says.
Hitler was probably a cute baby. And so was Stalin too . . .
Now imagine a trip to a retirement home where you are told by someone looking like your grandfather: ‘Hi, my name is Dave. I used make my money by producing exploitation flicks. In one such movie, a woman’s tongue is graphically plucked from her mouth with blood flowing all over the place. This movie was appropriately titled “Blood Feast”. . .’
See what I mean?
Often it is difficult to think of kindly geriatrics as, well, being young once and doing things ordinary people do – also being capable of doing terrible things too. After all, lawyers, serial killers and politicians also grow old! (For instance a friend of mine’s eight-year old daughter resolutely refuses to believe that her father was eight-years old too once – she thinks that he is having her on! Though it must be said in her defense that he is a great kidder . . .)
Watching “Mau Mau Sex Sex” drives this point home.
Not that the subjects of this 2000 documentary can exactly be equated with serial killers, although chances are that they probably were by some people back in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Mau Mau Sex Sex” focuses on 84-year-old Dan Sonney and 76-year-old Dave Friedman who produced movies like “The Defilers”, “Thar She Blows!” and “Blood Feast.”
Never heard of any of them? Well, these were basically your father’s (or rather your grandfather’s) porno and splatter flicks - quite shocking and scandalous for its time, but rather cheesy and quite tame by today’s standards. (Although to be honest, some of the clips shown are objectionable in its violent and sadistic treatment of women even by today’s standards.)
Sonney and Friedman doesn’t come across your typical smut peddlers (what are those like anyway?), but rather like two amiable hucksters reminiscing about a con they managed to pull off.
While “Mau Mau Sex Sex” is a character study of these two geriatrics, it also looks at the movies Sonney and Friedman made and here things really pick up.
Boy! These movies are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before!
‘As if they weren’t even made on the same planet,’ a film historian featured in the movie describes them. For a moment one even feels like checking out some of these ‘so bad they’re actually good’ movies, but then sanity fortunately kicks in.
This movie’s title refers to a documentary made about the infamous Mau Mau uprising in Kenya against British colonialism by the ‘natives’. An American who was there during the uprising shot a documentary simply titled “Mau Mau” about it. However, television passed on it since Americans weren’t really interested in what was happening in Africa (some things haven’t changed, now have they?) and because some of the material was too risqué for TV.
So the ‘documentarian’ (he was actually there on holiday, wanting to film Kenyan wild life!) sold the rights to Sonney and Friedman.
However, while it may have been too wild for American TV, “Mau Mau” was ironically too tame for the exploitation movie circuit.
So Friedman and Sonney shot a three minute sequence of topless ‘African’ women being menaced by panga-wielding ‘natives’ using fake cardboard backdrops to double for Kenya. (One can clearly see actors’ shadows falling on the landscape backdrops used!) Incidentally, the ‘actors’ used were all just ordinary African Americans recruited from the nearest Black neighborhood.
In marketing the movie, they splashed these specifically inserted scenes all over posters for the movie. Ironically, “Mau Mau” didn’t make any money. The movie would have made more money, Sonney wryly remarks, if they had changed the title to “Mau Mau Sex Sex” . . .
If you’re the type who actually watches those ‘Making Of’ shorts on DVDs, enjoys “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episodes or are simply interested in movies, then “Mau Mau Sex Sex” comes highly recommended. More casual viewers might also be interested in this piece of social history.
It is a fun (albeit brief at 80 minutes) documentary that will have you either gasping in amazement or laughing out loud.
Some of the movie’s mid-section may move a tad too slow - and some more old movie clips would have been great! - but “Mau Mau Sex Sex” is hugely entertaining.
Also, the DVD is a well-rounded package with two commentary tracks, some photo stills, soundtrack samples and even full-length trailers for some of the movies featured.