Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Madmen of Mandoras

Madmen of MandorasCinema Monolith: 1/10 This film is part of the Cinema Monolith collection!
IMDb: 2.7/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: BOMB

Released on November 13, 1963
Not rated
64 minutes

Directed by David Bradley

Written by Richard Miles and Steve Bennett

Cast: Walter Stocker, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas, John Holland, Marshall Reed, Scott Peters, Keith Dahle, Nestor Paiva, Dani Lynn, Pedro Regas, and Bill Freed as the head of Adolf Hitler

If you can watch only one disembodied head movie in your lifetime, think twice before you make it this one! Laughable in its execution, and almost incomprehensible in its logic and plot, this basement-budget horror film began with a still-living Adolf Hitler having his head sawed off by German surgeons (I guess to make him easier to hide in a cabinet…no other explanation was given), then having this jar-bound Führer attempt to resurrect the Third Reich and take over the world, twenty years later, in Mexico!

How he hoped to do this—without a body, his head encased in glass, and with just a smattering of Nazi cronies and a truckload of migrant workers at his side—was a concept that was never really breached. Fortunately, we had a husband-and-wife team as our heroes, who treated the whole ordeal as if they were Nick and Nora Charles, and lounged their way to a day-saving conclusion. And speaking of conclusion: the entire story wrapped up in such a simple manner—the lightweight collection of good guys lobbed grenades at the bad guys, who were gathered like sitting ducks at Bronson Caves and died in a matter of seconds—that it made me wonder what the big deal was in the first place.

And don’t get me started on the actual filmmaking process; to name a few cinematic atrocities, shots jumped back and forth between day and night, characters suddenly arrived in scenes where they had no business doing so, and Hitler’s cranium—unintentionally disturbing in both living and wax form—seemed to be surviving on nothing but light bulbs and diodes. An absolute mess, but somehow a fascinating one; I can’t wait to watch the version that was re-edited by the film’s distributor several years later, called They Saved Hitler’s Brain, which includes footage shot by students at UCLA!

Trust me, if you’re a fan of absolute schlock, then Madmen of Mandoras is an absolute must-see, and worthy of a masochistic movie night with family and friends on a slow Saturday night. And yes, I’m giving the film’s zero rating a pair of bonus points, not only for its sheer entertainment value, but for the wonderfully-mesmerizing view of Adolf’s bottled head—Czar in a Jar?—riding in the back of a limousine. Wait, you’re right, let’s change that to Czar in a Jar…in a Car!  (2/10)

Madmen of Mandoras

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2 comments on “Madmen of Mandoras

  1. oneluckiegirl
    4/6/13

    I watched this today (thanks Todd for the loan)! And I wasn’t falling asleep as I thought I might be. I’m not sure which was more comical: the REALLY bad Mexican accents, or the overhead mic being captured in the “town scene” where Mrs. Day purchased some plates. (Ummm, I thought they were there to find her father and sister? Hmmm, well, one must shop when one can!). Oh, or the Mariachi’s playing jazz with no piano (although there was piano music…).

    And then there was Hitler. Even HE kept rolling his eyes! And I didn’t know human flesh melted in 4 layers and that the eyes remained intact in the skull. VERY interesting. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon. Beats cleaning house!

    • Todd Benefiel
      4/6/13

      You are MOST welcome, Deb, and thanks for torturing yourself at my request! So many wonderfully comical moments, but mine would have to be, still, the ending, where everyone just stood around waiting for explosives to be thrown at them. And you didn’t know human flesh melted in layers, leaving the eyes intact? Have you never seen Raiders of the Lost Ark? Wait, why am I defending Madmen of Mandoras with Raiders of the Lost Ark?

      Now, I demand that you sit down and watch They Saved Hitler’s Brain. And in advance: you’re welcome.

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