Mondo Collecto (2006) – By Duane L. Martin

 Every so often I get a film to review that’s different from the stuff I’m usually sent.  In the case of Mondo Collecto, it’s not a stretch to say that it’s really different.  Mondo Collecto is a documentary about people who collect things.  The film’s creator, R. P. Whalen went out and found friends and friends of friends who collect really great old stuff and did a documentary about them.  It’s not a normal documentary though.  It’s MONDO!  What does that mean exactly?  Well, in between the segments, it has go-go girls dancing around and Rock n’ Roll Ray in a Fez hat.  There are also some strange sketches in between that are used as sort of a bizarre filler.  But more about those later.  Let’s start by talking about the collectors.

The film starts out with a segment on classic film director Ted V. Mikel’s ancient weapons collection.  Ted seems like an eccentric and fun old guy and he seems to delight in showing off his weapons collection.  He has some really great pieces in his collection and also tells some interesting stories about how he used to make his own bows, arrows and even bow strings.  From the looks of it, he did some really beautiful work.

Then we have the naked Pez guy.  This guy was probably the funniest of the collectors.  He collects Pez and starts going off on how Pez is actually toxic but he doesn’t care because he loves it, and talks about how the Pez dispensers remind him of a penis.  Then he goes off on this whole other thing about how it would be so great to have a Jesus Pez dispenser so he could eat Pez out of the neck of Jesus.  It’s hard to tell who’s more wacked out though.  It’s a real toss up between this guy and the Jesus Lady.

The Jesus Lady is this chick who walks around in an outfit that looks like something out of a scene from a Bettie Page flick.  She has a massive collection of Jesus stuff, and even a penis candle that she seems to think might be a representation of Jesus.  She also has this thing full of layers of little shot glasses that she fills with wine so she can drink the "Blood of Christ".  Let me tell you…if that’s the Blood of Christ, then that chick is a vampire, because she downed so much of it she got sick and puked.

There are a few other collectors as well, but those were the most interesting ones.  In between each of the segments there are go-go dancing segments.  Some of the girls are hotter than others, and some look like they’re having fun, while others look little more than uncomfortable.  Yet, they do create that "mondo" feel that Mr. Whalen was looking for.

The only thing in this movie that really didn’t were were the two sketch segments and one little kind of a film bit with a couple of the go-go girls in some mini lesbianish vampire scene.  One of the sketches was where the filmmaker went to this guy’s house who was barely above retarded and who actually turned out to be a total psycho, and the other was an incredibly boring, annoying and tedious bit with a guy standing in a field by the road yelling at traffic for going too fast on god’s highway.  Both were a waste of time in my opinion and didn’t really add anything at all to the film.  I personally would have rather seen more segments with collectors.  In any case, these segments can be fast forwarded if you find yourself getting bored with them.

All in all, this is a very interesting and fun documentary.  The collectors for the most part were fun and interesting people and their collections were just great.  I’m not sure the film did much to really explain why these people get so obsessed with collecting certain things, but it did let us share in their joy for a short time, and when it was over, I was thankful for that.

R. P. Whalen did a great job with this documentary, and after reading about all the nightmares he had in getting it all together, I’m surprised it ever saw the light of day at all.  He deserves a lot of credit for creating something truly interesting and different, and I hope that despite the problems he encountered, he’ll continue to make films well into the future.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.rockandrollray.com.