The Drudgeon reviews Banned! In America

Banned! In America 46 min., 1998
Written by —-
Directed by —-
Language: English
My rating: ★★★★★

Welcome to the world of MONDO!  Enjoy the ride and try to not lose your lunch!

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You have to understand what you are about to get into, okay.  This is all REAL footage!  None of this stuff is faked.  In the notorious Faces Of Death movie, most of the scenes are faked (nothing that they have ever denied).  But this movie is the real deal.  It can be very hard to watch even for the most hardened movie watcher.  I’ve seen the toughest of people get sick (actually throwing up) while watching these types of movies, and I’m not saying that I’m mister macho or anything, but I only know of one other person (maybe two) that can actually sit through one of these and not want to turn it off.  This type of movie is for a very select few.  Seeing someone blow their brains out with a shotgun or seeing someone get hit by a train in full view is some real rough stuff to watch.  Be very cautious before watching this (or any other of this type) movie and be prepared to see just how vulnerable we, as humans, really are.  Also, be forewarned that there are a few bad puns during the movie.  And yes I probably am going to hell for watching these movies.

So why am I reviewing this movie?  Because it falls in the horror genre, it’s as simple as that.  After the following list is more on my reasons.  If you care to discuss, please do.

How much strangeness and death can you fit into 46 minutes?  What follows is a list of everything that is shown in the movie, some with a little extra detail.

  • A man with AIDS, who is protesting HMO companies, tries to burn himself.  After that he gets a shotgun and blows his brains out.
  • A hostage situation where the man holding the woman hostage gets shot in the face.
  • A drunken car chase that ends in a four-car accident.
  • The aftermath of a different drunk driving accident.
  • An execution by firing squad.
  • A suicidal man who is shot and killed by police.
  • A man running from a bunch of people who are stabbing him.
  • Criminals who get their hands and feet cut off.
  • A man who catches on fire during a protest.
  • A man who rides a cart (very slowly) through some burning boxes.
  • A man who is trying to defuse a bomb, and the flames go off in his face.
  • People jumping from burning buildings.  (2 different scenes.)  One is played in slow motion.
  • A man being hanged.
  • The aftermath of some gang violence.  Different sources.
  • A tribe taking some strange drug.
  • A drunken guy getting fucked with (spray painting his face, lighting his crotch on fire, wrapping his head in packing tape, and hitting him).
  • Two women fighting, then one of them strips completely naked and fights some more.
  • The headless corpses of drug runners, and then their heads.
  • Bodies on the side of a road, with their heads almost completely cut off.
  • A man with elephantiasis of the scrotum.  (WOW!  Think about the episode of South Park where Randy gets testicular cancer and is bouncing down the street on them, yup they’re that big.)
  • A freedom fighter is executed.
  • An execution by firing squad.
  • Robert Budd Dwyer shooting himself in the mouth (the full version).
  • A suspected child molester shot in the head by the victims’ father.
  • Seals getting clubbed and de-furred.  (2 different scenes)
  • A dogfight, until one dog is dead.
  • A rooster gets its head cut off, and the body flops around.
  • A cow and sheep slaughter house.  (Necks cut, sheep are shocked, skinned and insides removed)
  • A rider at a rodeo is getting thrashed around by a horse.  (2 different scenes)
  • A man is shot in the street.
  • Stills of Kurt Cobain’s body, the car crash of Princess Diana and the bodies of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.
  • Back to the beginning, with the AIDS man again.

So Mondo (which means World in Italian), or more commonly known as a Shockumentary, is a sub-genre of horror movies that very few want to tackle, and even less are able to handle what is being shown.  It’s kinda the black sheep of the horror world, but it is, at the same time, the purest form of horror.  Some may argue that these movies aren’t actually horror movies, but to me they are.  Watching America’s Funniest Home Videos is like watching a comedy, right?  Watching everything that happened during WWII is like watching a drama, right?  Why is watching people die so different?  I think it’s when you have actual death being shown that it gets people’s blood boiling.

People seem to associate death with being very personal.  Like if you show people dying, you are somehow showing disrespect.  But we have a show that is all about disrespect.  It’s called America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Hell, read the paper or any magazine anytime and you can see all the screw-ups that people are making.  Now that’s very disrespectful if you ask me.  At least these movies have a very small audience, but the paper and magazines are pretty much global.  How much is it our business if Tiger Woods is having sex with every other woman besides his wife?  None!  That’s just another form of disrespect.  At least in these movies they get permission from the families to show the footage.  Do you think they went to Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan or Mel Gibson, and asked them if it was okay to report on everything that they have screwed up?  I really don’t think so, but people will yell “freedom of the press”.  So I will yell the same thing “FUCKING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS”.  Suck it up and deal with it.  You don’t like it, then don’t fucking watch it, and don’t bitch to me about it.

Now there is another form of Mondo that has been making the rounds recently (especially within the last 10 or so years).  It’s called the Internet.  With everyone having access to video recording devices (cameras, cell phones, etc.) the amount of Mondo is out of control.  You can find almost anything on the net now.  From the Columbine High School Massacre and the execution of Saddam Hussein to the Nick Berg beheading, and it’s all there for anyone, and that’s why (at least I believe) there aren’t very many Mondo movies being made anymore.  The Internet is one giant Mondo movie.  So unless we get rid of the Internet, I don’t want to hear the complaints about Mondo movies.

Do I condone these movies?  Sure, why not?  They are a form of entertainment after all.  “How can you call that entertainment?”  Well, because people are buying it and enjoying it.  If they weren’t then there wouldn’t be so many out there.  Now, do these types of movies entertain me?  Sure, I guess.  They are definitely interesting and something completely different.  They are not for the weak of heart or the squeamish, and I couldn’t (in all honesty) really suggest these types of movies to most (really anyone) of the people that I know.  If anything they are a forewarning of the strange and brutal shit that could happen at any moment, and that we should be happy to still be alive.  It’s almost like I want everyone to watch this, so when it’s over they can look at their lives and not feel so bad about their bad day at work, the crappy car ride home, the asshole who made you the bad lunch you ate or that bad fight you just had with your loved one.  It’s a kind of movie that really puts things into perspective.  I can sit and bitch, or I could enjoy life because it’s short and there are better things I can do with my time.  On the other hand, it’s kinda paranoid inducing.  After watching it, I was kinda nervous to step out side or even drive to go get smokes.  Why?  Because there are so many fucked up people out there, and no matter how careful you are, you just don’t know what’s around that next corner.

My rating comes down to the people who like this compared to the general horror public.  Compared to a lot of Mondo movies out there, this is one of the better.  For one, everything is real and second, the footage is actually very clear.  There are a lot of Mondo movies out there that have just really bad footage and it’s all tossed together.  They are pretty sloppy.  This one is put together nicely and looks clear.

So after watching this movie I am damn thankful to be alive.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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One Response to The Drudgeon reviews Banned! In America

  1. John Bruni says:

    This is my favorite of your reviews so far. I hope I am one of those two people you are thinking of who can sit through stuff like this and not want to turn it off, because, surprise surprise, I have watched MANY of these. I love this kind of movie much for the same reason that I have a coffee table book of crime scene photos: it fascinates me. Each and every one of us will eventually wind up on the coroner’s table (unless they don’t find our bodies), and who knows how we’ll go out? Maybe we’ll die in a car crash. Maybe we’ll catch a bullet in the head. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Don’t you want to know what it’ll look like if that’s how you’re going to go? (On a side note, I saw another one of these movies, I forget the title, in which a tribe gets together to castrate one of their neighbors. It’s shown in graphic detail, close up and personal. I now know what it will look like if someone ever winds up doing it to me, so I’ll be somewhat prepared. In this same one, they showed two sex change operations, one from male to female, the other vice versa. How can someone not be fascinated by this?)

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