Killer Condom

Castrating Prophylactics!!

by Donato Totaro Volume 1, Issue 9 / November 1997 2 minutes (472 words)

Germany has a rich tradition of serial killer films, going back to Fritz Lang’s classic M (1931), but not much will prepare you for serial killer condoms! Yep, you heard right, a horde of mean-spirited, menacing rubbers that, as the film’s coroner Wilma describes, are a cross between “a worm, a jellyfish and a piranha.” The castrating condoms are the brainchild of the film’s female villain, a psychopathic, right wing religious zealot who has kidnapped a brilliant scientist to help her achieve her Nazi-like plan to rid the world of sexual deviancy. The film’s hero is a gay, 40ish police detective named Luigi, a German of Sicilian heritage, who vows vengeance on the condom epidemic after experiencing their wrath first-hand [testicle] (“I come from an ancient Sicilian family. No one bites my ball off and gets away with it”). The film’s premise leads to similarly off-the-wall or double-entendre dialogue, such as a police captain asking, in reference to the crime scene, “Have you found the prick yet.”

Despite the odd sounding premise, the film is actually extremely plot-driven, which should make it palpable to a mainstream audience. The film has fairly well-developed characters, including a gay love triangle between Luigi, his one-time lover and former cop-turned transvestite, and Billy, a handsome young stud-prostitute. The film even concludes happily with Luigi and Billy walking off as the camera booms up and away. Outside of some minor bloodletting, the film’s tone is never horrific; director Walz opts for stylized comedy (for example, shots taken through smeared latex to assume a condom point-of-view, gnarly, cartoon-like sounds for the condoms, Luigi’s huge “Babel” penis introduced as a shadow rising up across Billy’s shocked face, etc.). The film’s world, greased in primary colors, and peopled with fags, transvestites, and surrogate Nazis, owes much to deceased German enfant terrible Werner Rainer Fassbinder. Considering the premise, the film is rather genteel, especially compared to Fassbinder’s films. Killer Condom doesn’t come close to the level of seediness found in a Fassbinder film. Killer Condom comes across as a gay film for a non-gay audience, and at times forces itself to be a crowd pleaser. Hardcore horror fans will surely recognize the names of Jorg Buttgereit (special effects) and H.R. Giger (Creative Consultant) in the credits. Buttgereit is the German director of such underground classics as Nekromantik, Deathking, and Schramm), and Swiss conceptual artist Giger was the designer for Ridley Scott’s Alien).

Perhaps a stranger premise than the carnivorous condoms is seeing a New York anachronism, a strange interpretative thought came to mind: does the film assume an alternative history where Germany won World War 2 and EVERYONE in NYC speaks German (which could also partly explain Luigi’s Sicilian heritage)? Food for thought (unless you’re a killer condom).

Killer Condom

Donato Totaro has been the editor of the online film journal Offscreen since its inception in 1997. Totaro received his PhD in Film & Television from the University of Warwick (UK), is a part-time professor in Film Studies at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and a longstanding member of AQCC (Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma).

Volume 1, Issue 9 / November 1997 Film Reviews   comedy   genre_horror_gore   german cinema   horror  

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