Terror strikes ... well, okay, no terror strikes, but mild curiosity arises when a frozen-faced monster and some strangely costumed men kidnap smooching couples, orgiastic hippies, porn collectors, and a stripper named Rachel. It's all the work of the crazed Dr. Humpp, who not only requires "extractions" from post-lovemaking couples to keep himself alive, but seeks a way - by employing non-stop sex - to move mankind up to the next rung of evolution. Or something like that.
Though it sounds like the setup for a sketch in flicks like Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women on the Moon, The Curious Dr. Humpp is quite serious. An Argentinian horror movie, La Venganza del sexo, was bought by an American distributor who, recognizing the possibilities in a foreign film with some nudity and a salacious premise, proceeded to add eighteen more minutes of straight-forward nudity and softcore sex, making it even more salable in the adults-only market.
While that sounds promising from an exploitation standpoint, the results are less than satisfying. Though Venganza itself could be as entertaining as any low-budget horror picture with laughable special effects, overwrought dialogue and a cranky brain in a jar, events seem to come to a stop every five minutes for more naked, twisting bodies. That a few story-related scenes seem to be missing in favor of more flesh only damages the movie more. In short, The Curious Dr. Humpp manages to make nudity and sex tiresome and irritating.
Lore has it that Frank Henenlotter found a negative for Humpp in a Manhattan basement and this transfer was struck directly from it. The quality of the image seems to bear this out, with minimal dust speckling and only some occasional jittering in the blacks. Overall, the video is astoundingly clear and sharp - so sharp that you can see the varicose veins on one of the models. The audio is rather low, but completely free of hiss.
Something Weird always has some interesting extras for the cult connoisseur. The extras start with the original title sequence, which allows us to pinpoint exactly which of the kidnappees were added for the American version; along with the trailer for Dr. Humpp, still in good but slightly damaged condition. There are also a trailer and TV spots (!) for another movie by the same director (similarly dolled up for the adult market, one presumes) entitled The Deadly Organ. The title seems to refer to the musical sort of organ, so wipe that smirk right off your face.
There are three shorts: "Rasputin and the Princess", in which a masked monster threatens a rather ahem zaftig stripper; "The Girl and the Skeleton", a silent (presumably from 8mm) and fairly explicit short in which a naked woman has ahem an intimate moment with one of those paper Halloween skeletons (really! I can't make this stuff up!); and "My Teenage Fallout Queen" a goofy Scopitone (the direct ancestor of music videos) from 1964 - which is pretty disposable, but at least I could talk about it without going ahem.
Rounding things out is a "Gallery of Exploitation Art", a series of ads which runs at its own speed. At first glance, this seems to be identical with a similar gallery on Something Weird's The Body Beneath DVD - but the radio ads that run as the ads flash by is slightly different, or so I'm told.
Dr. Freex, 2/22/2001