Friday 27 April 2012

Another PERVERSE Update!

As you enjoy your weekend, rest assured that Jess Franco's near-lost masterpiece COUNTESS PERVERSE is on its way! The release date is June 12th and the specs have been mostly worked out.


A pair of decadent and debauched aristocrats turn their private island into a human hunting ground where they stalk their naked prey. The captured meat is then cooked and fed to their unsuspecting guests, who themselves will become the next victims of this cruel game. Starring the suave Howard Vernon (Seven Women for Satan) and the stunningly sexy Alice Arno (Justine de Sade), this is one of controversial director Jess Franco's most outrageous and delirious films.

Mondo Macabro presents, for the first time ever the original restored director's cut, taken from the rare camera negative. Packed with sex, sleaze and outrageous behavior, this is wicked entertainment of the most shocking kind.

New Transfer from Negative
Original 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
French Language with newly translated English Subtitles
Interview with actor Robert Woods
Interview with film scholar Stephen Thrower
Extensive background information

You can go ahead and satisfy your urge to spend money on the COUNTESS by preordering this disc from the following stores:

TLA Cult
Diabolik DVD

Tuesday 24 April 2012

An Exclusive Excerpt from Andrew Leavold's Forthcoming Filipino Memoir!

Andrew Leavold is a filmmaker and raconteur whose adventures exploring the wilds of the Filipino film industry are legendary. In this exclusive excerpt from his forthcoming memoir Andrew tries to make sense of the Pinoy obsession with little people.
For more of Andrew's thoughts of Philippine B-cinema check out his terrific blog Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys. If you have something to share or a burning query you need answered you can reach him by email at andrewleavoldATgmailDOTcom.


"Mura's up for an interview," I tell Big Jim Gaines.

Long story, but he's my muscle in Manila: six foot-something, half African-American, martial artist and kung fu actor from the Seventies onwards, and if you watch Apocalypse Now, he's the tall black guy next to Robert Duvall.

The Philippines' obsession with midgets hadn't ended with Weng Weng, I'm pleased to report. Only months before my trip, a tongue-in-cheek rehash of the Pinoy Bond series from the Sixties and Seventies had hit Manila screens starring boy-faced heartthrob Vhong Navarro. The original Agent X-44, forgotten action hero Tony Ferrer who's now into his Seventies and bloated from diabetes, returned as Tony Falcon role; Vhong is his reserve. And in a nod to For Y'ur Height Only, the 1981 midget spy spoof in which Ferrer plays Weng Weng's white-suited boss, reserve agent Vhong's own reserve agent is played a three foot-something midget superstar named.

"Where's the interview?" asks Jim. "His place. Tondo." Agent X-44's director Joyce Bernal had texted me Mura's cellphone number several days before. "Tondo?" His eyebrows nearly touch the tip of his bald dome. "Dude, I'm going with you."
Tondo, it turns out, is Manila's Compton. A sprawling mini-city of one and two-story buildings near Manila's oldest port, housing some of the poorest inhabitants of Manila, and shanties made from packing crates and shop signs filling up the spaces between buildings for the even poorer, it's a grim slumscape made less depressing by the teeming life everywhere. Kids splashing in flooded laneways or on sidewalks doing dodgy deals, corner stores doing roaring trade in cigarettes and Smart Chat mobile loads - the place is humming, positively vibrating. Some of these shanties, so-called temporary dwellings for the itinerant or the landless, I suspect, have been here longer than the bricks.

To the rest of the Manila, Tondo's a myth, the birthplace of gutter Cinderellas and hoods like Asiong Salonga. Fellow Tondo-born icon and future President Joseph Estrada sealed his reputation by blasting up cinema screens as Salonga in 1961, a full ten years after the real gunslinger was shot in the head outside a Tondo corner store, and his story of a sewer rat turning to a life of crime been retold at least three times since to audiences weaned on tabloid cinema, if only to counter its cheap and tawdry thrills with the old "crime doesn't pay" routine. Other Tondo barakos (tough guys) have also been given the star treatment. Poor, and dangerous: that's how the rest of Manila knows Tondo.

The next day, Jim and I are in a cab driving along Tondo's main drag, looking in vain for Mura's turnoff. Steel gates on the west side block out the port facilities, while the eastern view from President Ferdinand E. Marcos Highway reveals just a hint of Tondo's endless warrens. It's hard to believe the most famous midget in the Philippines AT THIS MOMENT lives in the midst of such chaos.

Mura - real name Allan Padua - had become famous several years before as one half of a midget duo for ABS-CBN show Masayang Tanghali Bayan ["Good Afternoon Nation"] called Mura and Mahal (that's Tagalog for "cheap" and "expensive"). Noemi "Mahal" Tesorero was already established on TV from playing little girls and miniature Mae Wests; in real life she was a scandal magnet, confounding the press with tales of her disastrous relationships, and sexy home videos that had somehow slipped into the public domain.

During his stint with Mahal, Mura would dress up in little girls’ clothes to appear as Mahal’s twin. Which also makes Mura the most famous cross-dressing midget in the Philippines. Despite subsequent roles sans dresses as Mars Ravelo’s Tiny Tony, as Nine Volt in Volta, and opposite Vhong Navarro as a friendly kiddie spook in Joyce Bernal's horror-comedy D'Anothers, he's remembered by many as a she. "Is she still around?" asked another curious cab driver. "She's a he," I relayed. "No…………" The driver looked genuinely disturbed. I hope I didn't shatter any hetero-specific fantasies he may have secretly harboured.

The cab stops, and two cops walk up to the passenger window. It's ten in the morning and they're clearly on amphetamines with bugging, almost varnished yellow eyeballs and the drug-sweats pouring out of them profusely. Jim warily winds down his window.

JIM: Jacinto Street po?

COP: (Peers through the window and starts babbling excitedly) You need police escort? You pay me? (Laughs hysterically) How much you give me?

JIM: (Winds window up) Drive!

Fifteen minutes later, we miraculously arrive at our destination. As the cab pulls up outside a two story karaoke venue, we're surrounded by eager urchins all yelling the familiar "Hello Joe!", the companion phrase to "Victory Joe!" reserved for GIs and random Caucasians since the Japanese defeat in '45. Moments like these you need to throw them a fistful of Twinkies and Seven-Ups and beat your own hasty retreat.

At the top of the narrow flight of stairs we're ushered into a large area flanked with karaoke speakers and plastic chairs stacked prior to showtime. Celina Racho, an immaculately dressed lady who is Mura's manager and, we deduce, karaoke queen, introduces herself. "And this," she says, "is Mura."

I turn around expecting someone at eye level, then look downwards to around knee height. A miniature man, no taller or larger than a seven year old boy, stretches out his perfectly-proportioned hand. "Hello," he squeaks, "I am Mura."

Celina shows us to Mura's dayroom: empty expect for a couch and TV, painted in vivid slashes of red and yellow. Mura's originally from Bicol province, and is taken care of by his manager and her husband, a businessman and politician. Similar to Weng Weng's story, I mentally note. How right I was.

Mura sits on the red couch opposite me and my camera. Big Jim translates, as Mura has only recently learnt Tagalog and, in his words, "No speak Engliss!"

"How old were you when you were discovered?" I ask Mura.

"Twenty three." With his cheeky grin, cherub cheeks and boy's clothes, Mura looks no older than seven. "And how old are you now, may I ask?"

"Thirty one."

My mouth must have hit the concrete floor, and Mura giggles. He then tells the story of how he was paired with Mahal, and on the second fitting produced the fateful dress. How did you feel, I ask, becoming famous for dressing up as a girl?

"It's work. I couldn't do anything. At first it was a surprise, I did not expect it. But people said that it fit me, that I look like a girl." He giggles again. "People said that I looked a lot prettier than Mahal."

I ask Mura if the role as Vhong's diminutive sidekick in Agent X-44 was written for him. "They wanted a Weng Weng to be cast opposite Tony Ferrer," he replies.

This makes sense! "Have you seen Weng Weng as Agent OO?"

"Yes, when I was very young. When he jumped out of the helicopter" - he starts miming the actions - "and jumps with the umbrella, and with the balloons. I appreciate Weng Weng, he's very good."

More than any time before, Weng Weng's legacy in the Philippines has become so much clearer. I ask Mura if he would ever star in a remake of an Agent OO film?

"It is my wish," he beams, "to have solo film."

The mind starts clicking into hyperdrive. "I'll make it for you!" I declare. Mura seems pleased, and I'm in a near-state of ecstasy.

Back on the street, I point the camera at the Agent X-44 poster tacked lazily to the wall. Before I can mouth the words "establishing shot", Jim walks up and says in a low, authoritative voice: "Uh...put your camera away, dude."

"I just want to get a clean shot of..."

"Dude, put the fucking camera away. Now walk towards the main road…(We head towards the main road) Walk a little faster. (We're now practically in a sprint) Now let’s get across the road. Don’t worry about the traffic. (We weave recklessly through four lanes of cars and trucks) Jump in the first jeepney you see. Don’t hail a cab, just get in."
Facing each other across the back of the jeepney - those decorated covered former army jeeps converted into cheap public transport - Jim finally relaxes.

ME: "Are you going to tell me what all that was about?"

JIM: "Dude, I know you were all excited about meeting the midget and shit, but JESUS CHRIST, man, this is the worst fucking neighbourhood in Manila! This is where kids practice working for the Syndicate by shooting live targets! Did you see those two guys with handguns down the front of their pants walking towards us?"

ME: ""

JIM: "And you’re waving around a four grand camera! Look at us - the Nigger and the White Trash? We stick out like fucking dog’s balls!"

Jim lights up a cigarette, and laughs at my mortified expression.

In early 2011, I hear from actor Jo Mari Avella that Mura was thrown from a tricycle in his home town of Albay in Bicol, and had broken both legs. Penniless and in desperate need of handouts from fellow TV personalities to pay for his rehabilitation, he resorted to begging on ABS-CBN. Thankfully one of his co-stars made decent press mileage out of handing over a cheque for Mura's rehab. To date, the little guy hasn't made it back into show business, and is in danger of sinking into the obfuscating muck of "who the fuck are you?"

The parallels between Mura's story and Weng Weng's are disturbing: celebrity midget, ubiquitous star of films and TV shows, living out of his manager's pocket and in their home, only to find himself ill, on the poorhouse's doorstep and relying on charity. At some point Mura's manager should be grabbed by her power-dressing lapels, and have the answer shaken out of her to the question, "Where did all the money from Star Cinema and ABS-CBN go?" And if there wasn't enough money to go around, why not? Sadly, the Philippines is full of stories of their celebrities outliving their usefulness and dying hungry and destitute, a symptom of a disposable pop culture which throws its forgotten waste on the smoking piles of refuse. Not surprisingly, Manila's most famous dump called Smoky Mountain, no less than a Breugel vision of Hell and home to thousands of squatters living off the dump's bountiful harvests before its redevelopment in 2007, is barely a kilometre up the road from Mura's playhouse.

Against odds such as this, and with Weng Weng's life story ringing alarm bells loudly, these fingers at least are crossed for Mura's speedy recovery and return to the limelight.

For more Filipino Midget Madness, check out our DVD of the Weng Weng classic FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY, available from TLA Cult and Diabolik DVD.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Cinema Snob sneers at two Mondo Macabro classics.

Watch this faux-snotty internet reviewer poke fun at ALUCARDA and LADY TERMINATOR. Pretty funny.

As always, you can buy these DVDs from TLA Cult or Diabolik DVD.

Thursday 12 April 2012


I've noticed some minor consternation out there regarding some folks not being able to find certain Mondo Macabro titles. This has lead to wild speculation as to which DVDs may or may not be Out of Print. We changed distributors last year and the bugs are still being worked out as regards our complete catalog being available everywhere. To clear things up a bit, here's a the complete and official Mondo Macabro OOP List:

ASWANG - R Rated Cut
NTSC Region 1
Release Date: 08/26/2003
Original Distributor: Ventura
(Note that this is the the 'R-Rated Cut', not the 'Unrated Cut' which is still in print.)

NTSC Region 0
Release Date: 11/13/2004
Original Distributor: Ryko

NTSC Region 0
Release Date: 02/28/2006
Original Distributor: Ryko

NTSC Region 0
Release Date:10/25/2005
Original Distributor: Ryko

For the sake of thoroughness, and to please all the completest nerds out there, here's a list of MM's UK PAL DVDs, all of which are also now OOP.

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 07/30/2002

PAL Region 2
Release Date: 09/02/2002

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 11/03/2002

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 03/31/2003

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 07/30/2002

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 03/17/2003

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 03/17/2003

PAL Region 0
Release Date: 09/28/2002

To purchase Mondo Macabro products, you can go to TLA Cult and Diabolik DVD. If there's one you can't find at either site that's not on the above OOP list, just check around, you'll find a copy somewhere. Just don't pay outrageous prices for it. At some point, it'll get worked out and will be widely available again.

Monday 9 April 2012


The tentative release date for COUNTESS PERVERSE is June 12th. As always in this topsy-turvy world of constant tumult and change, MM reserves the right to postpone if necessary to get this DVD just right. But so far, so good ...

One important aspect of this release to note is that it will be the ONLY version to be have a licensed English language option (subtitles). There may be other DVDs of this film out there in the world, but this will be the only one us monolingual Americans will be able to understand.

All the attendant extra features have not yet been confirmed but one we can announce is a all-new filmed interview with actor Robert Woods, who stars in COUNTESS and a handful of other Franco films from the early-mid '70s as well as many , many spaghetti westerns. MM co-honcho Pete Tombs says that "Mr Woods was in good form and there are some fun stories about working with Franco, with whom he spent almost a year." Should be good stuff.

To warm yourself up, take a look at this online interview with Woods published a few years ago.

Saturday 7 April 2012

The Final Days of Onar Films

Last year our good friend Bill Barounis tragically died after a long battle with cancer. He left behind both a family and a large overstock of DVDs from his labor-of-love boutique label Onar Films. Thankfully, his friend Ali Murat Guven has endeavored to come to the aid of his grieving family by selling that overstock. I know there are many people who came late to the Onar party or simply weren't able to to pick up every discs at the time. Here's a chance to complete your collection and help out somone in need at the same time.

Here's Guven's statement on What and How:

This sale is for the Family of our friend Vasilis "Bill"... The money will be send to his family.

For the orders outside Turkey: buyers add/pay their shipment . All will send to you with PTT (turkish post) Tracking number system. Sending time for Turkey is 1 week and Outside Turkey is 2 weeks. You can contact
For the signed posters you have to mention your names!.
Ali Murat Guven

PS: I will add details for all your questions...

Prices and the list of the movies
25 lira - 11 euro - 14 dolar
30 lira: 13 euro - 17 dolar

3 DEV ADAM (LAST 85 copy) / Price: 25 lira
With a small poster signed by Aytekin Akkaya

ÖLÜLER KONUŞMAZ Kİ / AŞKA SUSAYANLAR (İki filmli DVD / LAST 80 copy) / Price: 30 TL
With a small poster signed by Aytekin Akkaya


TARZAN İSTANBUL’DA (Last 90 COPY) / Price: 25 TL
With a small poster signed bu Kunt Tulgar

With a small poster signed bu Kunt Tulgar (director of the Supermen Donuyor)

KİLİNK İSTANBUL’DA (Last 30 COPY) / Price: 25 TL

KIZIL TUĞ: CENGİZ HAN (Last 75 COPY) / Price: 25 TL

ALTIN ÇOCUK (Last 90 COPY) / Price: 25 TL

CASUS KIRAN (Last 15 COPY) / Price: 25 TL

CELLAT (Last 5 COPY) / Fiyatı: 30 TL


This statement came sometime yesterday and I'd wager this no longer accurately reflect the numbers still in stock. Email for inquiries.

Bill was a man with a dream. He lived it, and he died with it. Keep that dream alive and order as many Onar DVDs as your wallet will allow.

Tuesday 3 April 2012


Take some time from your busy schedule and check out this fascinating essay by author and artist Danny Castillones Sillada on one of my personal favorites from the MM back catalog, the Filipino fornication freakout SILIP: DAUGHTERS OF EVE!

"Never had such realities been portrayed in a nauseating, savage, and hauntingly realistic manner, dissecting the human psyche and primordial issues on lust and desire, needs and repression, hatred and violence, religious belief and superstition, life and death."

You can buy this masterpiece here.