Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Mad Heidi

My notes on Mad Heidi, which is out now on UK digital platforms.

Billed as a ‘Swissploitation’ film, Mad Heidi is directed by Johannes Hartmann and Sandro Klopfstein, who also co-wrote with Gregory D. Widmer and Trent Haaga (whose varied CV – H4Z4RD, Cheap Thrills, 68 Kill, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV – suggests where this project is coming from … ie: closer to Tromaville, New Jersey, than that neutral country in the middle of Europe where all the banks are).  It follows the Alfred Hitchcock dictate of using everything local to the setting if possible – eg: when making a film set in Holland, work windmills and tulips into the plot.  So, what do we associate with Switzerland – cheese with holes, mountains, alpenhorns, Swiss army knives, chocolate, that red cross flag, politeness tinged with smugness, lederhosen, yodelling, goats and goatherds, cuckoo clocks (actually, these aren’t Swiss but that Harry Lime monologue made a connection which is hard to shake off) and Johanna Sypri’s much-filmed-and-televised children’s classic Heidi (which doesn’t get a credit and isn’t even listed in the IMDB’s ‘references’ page on the film).

This is slightly more interested in its source material than the odious, tiresome Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey, but really only takes a few character names from it and ‘mountain girl’ heroine Heidi (Alice Lucy) has more in common with Uma Thurman in Kill Bill as she suffers a lot, has a women-in-prison spell, then is visited by the spirit of Helvetia and empowered to get revenge using ‘traditional Swiss weapons’.  The baddies are President Meili (Casper Van Dien), a cheese tycoon who is persecuting the lactose-intolerant, and Kommandant Knorr (Max Rudlinger), who killed Heidi’s parents and boyfriend Goat Peter (Kel Matsena) and tried to off her hard-to-kill grandfather (David Schofield, always welcome but oddly cast).  There’s a women in prison sequence (which drags on a bit too long), a training montage, death by chocolate (a prisoner is tortured with fondue and choked by a Toblerone), a gladiatorial ‘schwingfest’, a lot of face-pulling pantomime performances in the Troma manner (which, as usual, gets irritating after about a quarter of an hour), anal action with a mustard-tipped bratwurst and a sequel hook for the further adventures of Heidi and her friend Klara (Almar G. Sato).

It is what it is, and is amiable enough – though I think Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies was funnier.  An odd omission – in horror, there’s one big Swiss name which doesn’t get a nod here … so we can expect Heidi Meets Frankenstein on the other side of the Alp.


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