Review by Steve Rhodes|
3 stars out of 4
Ted Bonnitt's MAU MAU SEX SEX is a fun little film that documents the life of a
couple of octogenarian legends of a forgotten corner of the cinematic world.
David F. Friedman and Dan Sonney, a couple of likeable, gregarious guys with
half-century long marriages reminisce over their life's work. The P. T. Barnums
of the movies, they made nice livings producing exploitation pictures from
"salted" nudist camp documentaries -- hint, the good looking ones were planted
-- to the first gorefests. They scammed their way to profits doing everything
from getting injunctions against their own films as PR stunts to providing barf
bags to patrons.
Because of the prohibitive standards of the times when they worked, they
typically began their pictures with a wink to the audience in the form of a
rolling block of text that sanctimoniously condemned the film's subject,
offering their movie as a perverted Sunday school lesson against the subject.
At first their movies, known generically as "nudie-cuties," featured women with
bare breasts, but these movies carefully steered clear of any sex. The
actresses smiled obsessively while the actors gawked. These movies today look
so ridiculous that they are almost as funny as an AUSTIN POWERS comedy. In
fact, Austin would be incapable of stooping so low as to spoof them. Friedman
explained, "Anything was fair game so long as it was in bad taste."
Ah, their movies. There was FORBIDDEN ADVENTURE about native women mating with
gorillas, which features an all-topless female safari. Film historian Frank
Henenlotter tries to explain the popularity of these cheesy flicks like
FORBIDDEN ADVENTURE by putting himself in the shoes of a mid-twentieth century
moviegoer. "Do you want to see the latest Clark Gable film or some gorillas
bopping some babes?" he asks himself rhetorically.
After nudie-cuties lost their shock appeal, Friedman and Sonney went on to
something called "roughies," which were low-budget crosses between nudie-cuties
and horror movies. Their lucrative masterpiece from this era was called BLOOD
FEAST. It featured a scene in which a man rips out a woman's tongue -- actually
a sheep's very long tongue -- as the blood spews everywhere. Their biggest
problem in the production was keeping the actresses from giggling.
The two producers spent more of their time on the ads and the trailers than on
the scripts. One of their favorite trailer lines was calling their own film,
with humorous hyperbole, "Garbage unfit to be seen by decent, civilized people."
The documentary itself spends too much time on the producers' home lives. (Why
do we need to see them washing clothes and dishes and making small talk with
Their story has a bittersweet ending. Although they made a fair amount of
money, their business was killed by others who produced hard core porn. After
you have shown everything, "Where do you go from there?" Sonney asks sadly.
MAU MAU SEX SEX runs 1:20. It is not rated but would be R for nudity and
violence and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes