.After the maniacal murmuring of Ogroff: Mad Mutilator (1983) and the disembodied-from-reality delirium of Devil Story (1985), I figured I had seen the most prominent gore ultra-obscurities hailing from an '80s coke-fueled France. Then I ran across an auction on eBay for an Italian tape of a number entitled Sexandroide a few weeks ago. My hopes of ownership of this particular VHS were dashed when the final price blew past my measly bid to settle north of $80. So I started digging around and found this incredible cover for what's presumably the original French VHS. It should go without saying after seeing that artwork I had to see this nasty European exercise and that's when I discovered that Cinema de Bizarre carried a copy. I received my DVD-R in short order about a week ago, but sat on it until last night.
You see, Sexandroide is definitely not to be seen with anyone or anyone around. Disowned loved ones and your girlfriend erupting into tears before locking herself in the bathroom would be left in your wake. Well, unless your girl was a rail thin syphilitic ex-junkie/whore with daddy issues and a real knack for self-mutilation. Or one of your siblings happened to have perfected the art of homebrew feline vivisection and believes Happy Tree Friends makes a good substitute for Baby Einstein. One shouldn't make the mistake of lumping this in the slew of other "watch alone" material, everything from the August Undergrounds to the Guinea Pigs, as Sexandroide is so little known that it still feels very "wrong" while watching without that bug in your ear about it being sold virtually everywhere. The best way to put it is, at times, it's like the mysterious snuff transmission in Cronenberg's Videodrome.
This 57-minute, unsubtitled film is broken up into three unrelated vignettes each featuring performer Daniel Dubois carrying out dastardly deeds upon women which I assume are his act partners. The first concerns Dubois in a dungeon poking, cutting, and burning a wax figure of a girl in a voodoo ritual. The bleached blonde victim is in an equally dungeonous dive where she retreats to the restroom before having her clothes ripped off. The invisible force then makes her bleed from her nether regions (seems to like it), cry blood, slits her throat, burns her face, and finally hangs her from the ceiling.
The second segment is the real entrails and potatoes of Sexandroide with an oatmeal-faced Dubois as a zombie that tortures a hapless woman that wandered into his dungeon. After shooting a cloaked figure dead, the woman suddenly feels the urge to strip nude and dance about with torches and beat her own backside with a cat o' nine tails. Soon the figure returns from the dead, takes control of the whip, and then handcuffs the woman to a chair. Then we witness the wholesomeness of long needle nipple and tongue piercing, nipple slicing (and eating), arm butchering, severe ocular trauma, and knife bludgeoning. Finally, the blood-drenched zombie disembowels himself before his dead bride as she returns to life and they fall in love. It makes me tear up just writing that...
These photos at least prove that Dubois appears to be still doing it as of 2007. Dubois as the butchering zombie and his victim/dancer also exhibit very "theatrical" motions during this sequence like Dubois providing several lurching false starts before plunging a fake blood-filled knife into his own arm. This deliberateness and pacing points to the act being well-honed for a live audience. Most of the violence isn't real, but the nipple/breast piercings are and Ricaud provides lingering close-ups of this particular event.
The last portion isn't nearly as showstopping and plays more as a last bid for some T&A. A grieving woman is completely disrobed and bitten by her undead lover that just rose from his casket. She then reawakens as a vampire, or something, and shows us everything while dancing to Tina Turner's I Might Have Been Queen and What's Love Got to Do with It. She climbs onto her lover's casket while he pulls the cover back on and hangs a "Do Not Disturb" sign off the side. FIN.
Yeah, there's not much to Sexandroide and the most bizarre question gleaned from its impressively gory non-content is what kind of audience Ricaud and Dubois were hoping to tap with the creation of this video? Horror fans usually like splatter and bountiful womanly nudity, but given how dead the genre was in its native country at the time of its inception, was there really that much of a demand? Was it made for some seedy slimeball niche of French society? Or perhaps Dubois's freakish sideshow goes far beyond my perceptions and should be accepted into the Criterion Collection someday for its snapshot of the country's '80s dark subculture? No idea, but Sexandroide is pretty fucking gory with pretty nude women of loose morality combining to result in something you won't soon forget.
Cinema de Bizarre's DVD-R is part of their Eurotrash Collector's Editions with high quality cover art printed on Kodak paper stock that looks indistinguishable compared to professional DVD covers. The full frame image, probably the original aspect ratio, looks decent for an old SECAM VHS with no major tracking issues. Sound quality sucks, but the flick doesn't seem well-recorded to start with. No extras are included. The DVD-R is also properly authored in the DVD-R VER. 1.0 standard.