mondo keyhole review

Mondo Keyhole (1966)

Mondo Keyhole (1966) Directed by Jack Hill

An exercise in vulgarity made a veritable sleazy inferno is the feature debut of the master of American exploitation cinema, Jack Hill. Hill’s first auspicious foray into the provocative art-house business turns out to be his most scandalous piece of sexploitation, a pioneering encapsulation of the genre’s portmanteau. Howard Thorne (Nick Moriarty) is the nefarious pervert star of this sinister extravaganza of pseudo-Freudian psychology and plenty, plenty of porn. Howard is a compulsive rapist of voluptuous young women – his wife Vicky (Adele Rein), a drug addict sexually frustrated by not being able to arouse her husband, is a clear paradigm of the sort of female Howard chooses as victims of his illicit pleasures.

Jack Hill’s co-direction with John Lamb provides an expressionistic Americana slice of the growing popularity of the debauched lifestyle of the 1960’s; a scabrous tour de force of pornographic filmmaking that assaults the conservative American sentiments of the 1950s, thus introducing the subversive counterculture of the 1960s in style. It is effectively a countercultural statement; it could even pass as a tawdry visual chronicle of the underground sex culture of that era in grimy Hollywood. But it’s not all blatant sex and wanton violence on the orgiastic exploitative canvas, the film is smartly farcical in its advocacy of its psychosexual thesis.

Howard’s infamies are deplorable and revolting but grounded in the Freudian spectrum within his overt Madonna-whore complex. In the end it can be misconstrued as a sexist satire and a figment of abhorrent misogyny, but the story leaves a satisfying space for revenge, thus convincing you that the women brutalized by Howard are the real heroines of the show. Lots of kinky people, lots of bosoms, lots of psychoanalytical palaver, but an astonishingly horny ride nonetheless for anyone willing to get morally and mentally dirty for the sake of deviant entertainment. Straight up sensationalism.


Matteo Bedon

Written by

Editor and Official Film Critic at

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