AWARD THIS! 2023 NOMINEE! Ozploitation is exploitation cinema from Australia. So it stands to reason that Swissploitation is precisely what it sounds like — exploitation cinema from Switzerland. However, unlike their counterpart down under, it would seem the Swiss have produced only one title in the genre so far: Mad Heidi. The over-the-top comedic actioner is an entirely crowdfunded independent production written by Trent Hagga, Gregory D. Widmer, Johannes Hartman, and Sandro Klopfstein, with Hartman and Klopfstein also serving as directors.
Circa the 1920s, Switzerland has been under the iron fist of President Meili (Casper Van Dien). It should be noted that the country’s “very Swiss leader” has a German accent. Aside from the cheese bearing his name, all other cheeses are illegal. This gives Meili great power over the import/export of the goods, as well as the freedom to experiment with the food to help him control people better.
“…Heidi must plan an escape, lead a revolt, eat actually good cheese that won’t make one explode, and get retaliation…”
Heidi (Alice Lucy), all grown from her novel-centric adventures, lives with her grandpa and is in love with the strapping Goat Peter (Kel Matsena). However, when the cheese fascists discover he is selling black-market goat cheese, Goat Peter is executed then and there. This sends Heidi over the edge, but she’s arrested before getting revenge. So now, the imprisoned Heidi must plan an escape, lead a revolt, eat actually good cheese that won’t make one explode, and get retaliation on President Meili for her grandpa and Goat Peter’s death.
Mad Heidi is nothing if not ambitious. The filmmakers put the approximately $3 million they raised to excellent use, as everything goes for broke. The opening features a billboard that says, “Strength through cheese.” While it is a little moment, nothing more than a quick establishing shot, it highlights the team’s dedication to world-building and remarkably silly humor. It also instantly brings the totalitarian regime’s propaganda into focus. An actual second into the movie proper and all that is already on display. That is talent and dedication to a vision at its finest.
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