Mondo Sexxxx: The Terry Kobrah Story is basically A Serbian Film played for laughs, which means that it is absurd and offensive in every way, shape or form that you can be. The premise is that this is a documentary about the life of sexual deviant and murderous abomination Terry Kobrah, a man who spent his days in a wheelchair (though he has no problems walking), ordering around his various gimps and sex slaves at home or in a stage show known as “The Everyman Theatre,” where activities such as rape, abortion, murder, live dentistry and even some piss and shit play were performed for a small crew of perverts and outcasts. Eventually he becomes HIV positive and dies.
Does that sound offensive at all? Try watching the film. That being said, everything is played to such an overwhelming extreme, and the style and look of the film so obviously a satire of mondo-style documentaries, that it actually is far more entertaining than you could ever imagine it could be, in a real “what the fuck is going on” way. Unfortunately, the film hits its saturation point about 30 minutes in; after that, it’s less of an interesting satire and more of the same ideas and actions repeated. Simply, it wears out its welcome.
For example, early in the film there is a montage talking about the Everyman Theatre, showing small snippets of the various depraved performances. This sequence works like gangbusters, over the top and shocking. About 30 minutes in, the story gets to that aspect of Terry’s life and shows us extended versions of all the performances we saw in the montage… which are no longer shocking or interesting, because we already know what happens and/or remember the footage. It actually becomes a little boring at that point, because you’re pretty sick of Terry Kobrah and his crew, and there’s really nothing new being brought to the table.
It’s really a rough call, though. At 78 minutes, it feels like an idea that was puffed far beyond its effectiveness, but at less than 20 minutes, say, it might be too short to get the full impact across. So that puts it in the 30-40 minute range which, as many festival filmmakers know, is no man’s land for short films because of how challenging it is to program. Of course, if the goal is just to make the best possible impact with the film, if it were to go back under the post-production knife I think it would hit much harder, much stronger and REALLY knock the audience on their ass. You get in, out and over with a film like this, and you leave the audience flabbergasted. Linger, and you just lose them altogether.
Again, this is absurdly offensive, Terry Kobrah is essentially what would happen if Larry Flynt, Karl from Sling Blade and Larry the Cable Guy had a kid, but there’s a lot of quality filmmaking employed. I fully expect many to read the description in the first paragraph and figure that I’m a sick motherfucker for thinking there is anything redeemable in any film that contains that content. But the film looks great, there’s a paper puppet sequence that is incredibly entertaining and, save for its lingering run time, is actually edited in a perfectly applicable mondo-style. In the first 20 minutes, I couldn’t wait to inflict the film on some friends just to see if they thought it was as fucked up as I did. But the film kept going, and my interest faded.
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