Mad Foxes


Mad Foxes (Paul Grau, 1981)

Hal, a stingray-driving playboy, goes out for some fun with his virginal 18-year-old girlfriend. They are attacked by a bunch of Nazi-bikers who beat him up and rape his girl. Hal calls a martial arts instructor friend for help. The same night, the teacher and his students attack the bikers and castrate their leader. A circle of vengeance has begun…

I’d be surprised if somebody told me these guys actually had a screenplay while shooting this. There is no plot at all: violent/gore scene follows sex/nude scene until the WTF ending. This is 100% exploitation in its most brainless form. The film features some totally idiotic lines: “The whole world is going to admire us” says one gang member to another after they have just stabbed and disembowelled a house maid.

Fast cars, Nazi bikers armed with machine guns, martial arts/kickboxing, loads of softcore sex, rape, gory killings, an old woman in a wheelchair, bondage/sadomasochism and a two minute rock n’ roll dancing number that looks like it’s edited in from a different film. The producers probably thought that it would be wise to throw in a little bit of everything in the menu for commercial reasons; it would be interesting to know just how MAD FOXES did in movie theatres.

Hal (the leading character, played by Robert O’ Neil of HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD and CONQUEST fame) drives a fancy sports car and has sex with a different partner every night; this is pretty much all the information we are given on him. A couple of platinum records can be seen above his head in one shot so viewers could assume he is a successful musician. No information is given on his background but his transition from playboy to vigilante takes place easily, within seconds. Hal is not your typical, moral, “revenge film” hero: he is about to have sex with an underage virgin without feeling guilty at all. As if that isn’t enough, he doesn’t seem too concerned about her being raped and even sleeps with a different girl on the same day. Shortly afterwards, he picks up a stranger from the street and takes her to his family home. Predictably, he ends up having sex with her.

There is a particular moment that indicates how pointless MAD FOXES really is: while taking a walk in the woods,  Hal fires at a passing airplane (!) in an attempt to impress the girl he has just picked up. She tries to stop him without even bothering to think that the plane is flying too high to be hit. Of course, the pair end up having sex, giving the director the opportunity to display some more naked male flesh.

There is no information on the background of the gang either. There is no reason for their criminal activities, besides fun; the brainless bunch seem to enjoy themselves a lot while killing. The film never bothers to explain the reasons for their Nazi allegiance; maybe the makers probably thought that Swastikas would make the gang look meaner. Needless to say they look like clowns, running around in camouflage outfits and constantly laughing like idiots. A couple of them often walk around without any clothes on – without any reason of course. Speaking of which, the makers certainly had a strange fetish for male nudity. There is a beach sequence where a middle-aged man’s arse is on display for two minutes. In another scene, Stiletto (Jess Franco regular Eric Falk) walks around naked for a couple of minutes while the rest of the gang members sit watching. Stiletto’s death scene is undoubtedly a hymn to bad taste: it takes place in a bathroom as he is taking a shit and, believe it or not, the director doesn’t hesitate to display a painfully long close-up shot of his penis as O’ Neil throws a grenade in the crapper!

The sudden finale of the film needs a special mention: the gang leader appears to be alive; the filmmakers seemingly forgetting the fact he had been castrated and disappeared for an hour of screen time! He is in Hal’s apartment along with Hal’s latest girlfriend (who had also reappeared after a long absence) threatening to blow the place up. And he does, allowing the use of an atrocious visual effect.

Leading actor Robert O’ Neil cannot act; just take a look at the scene where he cries over his dead mother’s body. The non-actors (some of which can also be spotted in producer Dietrich’s ISLAND WOMEN) that play the bikers were probably there just to drink a few beers and have some fun. They seem to have no idea of what they are doing and they constantly laugh, even when they are not supposed to. To make matters worse, the English dubbing is probably the most atrocious ever recorded for a European cult film, with the actors’ voices and the sound FX played out of sync.

Grau’s work could have been worse, considering how trashy the film is. Still, he does a lousy job with some obvious directorial errors. The film often gives the impression that he was bored (or unable) to change camera angles or cut to close-ups and would rather display all the action in one long shot. Technically speaking, Kurt Aescbacher’s cinematography is the best thing about the film, with most scenes being effectively lit. Visually, MAD FOXES is kind of attractive, although isn’t overtly stylish.

The remastered, widescreen video of the DVD release is a miracle. MAD FOXES is one of those guilty pleasures that nobody would ever expect to see on DVD; a similar case to Luigi Batzella’s THE BEAST IN HEAT. However, one cannot be sure if the re-mastering makes such ultra-trashy films look better or worse, as it often reveals flaws that were not visible before. There’s some semi-decent gore FX, such as the maid’s popping entrails and a guy’s death by garden shears. The hard rock/heavy metal song by Krokus (!) which plays during the opening credits scene adds even more trash value to MAD FOXES as if there wasn’t enough already. The funk/rock theme which plays during the rest of the film is silly with its slap bass and would be more suitable for a comedy or a 70’s porn film. The Greek DVD on the Dark Side/New Star label is obviously sourced from the Swiss ABC DVD, anamorphic widescreen at 1:85:1, with added Greek subtitles. Needless to say, the quality of the transfer is impressively good. No extras besides many trailers for other discs of the same company, including one for MAD FOXES.

Have you ever wondered how certain films could possibly exist while watching them? This is a question you will certainly ask yourself while watching this. Even movies such as THE BEAST IN HEAT often try to make the viewer take them seriously; this one doesn’t make a single effort. Something like RAW FORCE or any of Bruno Mattei’s movies are serious when compared to the madness of MAD FOXES. You will have trouble figuring out if the comedy was intentional or it was because the makers were retarded. This must be the trashiest revenge film ever made. Even the title points out how stupid the movie is and it’s obviously trying to exploit the success of MAD MAX. MAD FOXES has to be one of the most entertaining films you will ever see and has reserved a position in my Top 5 of trash masterpieces.

(Lefteris T)