Grade: DKiller Condom (1996)

Director: Martin Walz

Stars: Udo Samel, Marc Richter, Leonard Lansink

Release Company: Troma

MPAA Rating: UR

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Martin Walz: Killer Condom


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Condom Shop, Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Condom Shop, Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Photographic Print
Gillham, Ken
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At Killer Condom's Hotel Quickie, in the seediest 42nd Street location near Times Square, strangeness is going on.

For some reason, all the people now speak German (perhaps they originally planned only for a German release, or perhaps it's because Killer Condom was filmed primarily on sets in Germany).

Couples check into the third-floor rooms at the Hotel Quickie, but dozens of men are subsequently hauled out in ambulances after their male members have been chomped off. You can insert your own Lorena Bobbitt reference here, but the hungry culprits turn out to be specially manufactured condoms that look normal until they get hear a human appendage—suddenly razor-sharp teeth emerge (a few women even lose their noses from condoms that mistake them for penises).

The video box description makes Killer Condom sound like a potentially fun romp through an incredibly cheesy cult horror flick (if it can find a way to extend its one trick premise effectively). When a blackmailing professor loses his penis before the first credits roll, any suspenseful foreplay is bludgeoned prematurely; we can only hope for campy comedy.

The amateurish stop-action photography of the giggling sharp toothed condoms can be forgiven in such a feature. Since the screenplay is based on the comics of screenwriter Ralf Konig, the comedic hope lasts for about 10 minutes before the severed penile count becomes repetitious, and the plot takes a wrong turn towards seriousness.

Detective Macaroni (Udo Samel) heads to the Hotel Quickie to investigate the rash of penile severings, probably chosen for the duty since he is openly gay and knows the seedy beat better than anyone.

While interviewing the crusty old hotel manager, who is miffed at having to clean up all the blood in room 308, the middle-age Macaroni notices a handsome boy-toy (Marc Richter as Billy) to hook up with. Soon, the two men are privately undressing for sexual purposes when Macaroni learns firsthand who the culprit is, luckily swerving just in time to lose only his right testicle to the hungry condom.

After that, you might as well turn off the video/DVD; the rest is downhill. The jokes are lame and predictable (if they are meant as jokes at all). Do German filmmakers have a sense of humor? Can you name a German comedy that held you in stitches?

There's a Presidential candidate named Dick who will give Killer Condom an opportunity to make a "Dickless Dick" headline guffaw after a condom hiding out on a rubber ducky stalks his victim in the tub to Jaws background music. (this sounds better than the actual scene.)

Turning its focus to sexuality and sociological issues, the 1996 film attempts to compare the reaction to the condom menace to the public reaction to AIDS victims. Many people show lack of concern because the condoms are attacking only the seedy section of New York, primarily focusing on gays or on prostitutes and their johns. That only changes slightly after the politician gets munched, but who loves a politician anyway?

With a better script, Samel could have turned in an effective and campy spoof. He shows some talent with the material given, at times mirroring a Travis Bickle by portraying a lonely man who longs to return to his Sicilian homeland, but knowing that he can't face his mother because of his lifestyle.

His intense, serious defense of homosexuality in an over-the-top "religious" sermon near the end feels misplaced, as does the tacked-on Casablanca-style ending. Is Killer Condom intended to be a fun horror spoof, or does the filmmaker attempt a thinly veiled commentary on acceptance of alternative lifestyles?

Unable to decide whether he wants to make an entertaining satire or a sociological message-film, director Martin Waltz creates a bloody mess by attempting to do both in an too-long 107 minutes.

Instead of creating such a goulash with a heavy-handed meat cleaver, Waltz should have performed a more delicate circumcision for laughs. At best, he has only enough comic material to form a 10- to 15-minute segment that might fit into a longer work, like Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).

Waltz would have done better to study what works in the far funnier and more successful Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which uses even cheaper and cheesier "special effects" than the giggling, shark-like teeth of Killer Condom.

There's an art to making a film that is so bad it becomes good when viewed by cult-film fans—too bad that Killer Condom takes itself so seriously.
 


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