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  Mad Bomber, The Your Detonate MateBuy this film here.
Year: 1973
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Vince Edwards, Chuck Connors, Neville Brand, Hank Brandt, Christina Hart, Faith Quabius, Ilona Wilson, Nancy Honnold, Ted Gehring, Jeff Burton, Dee Carroll, Paula Mitchell, Cynthia MacAdams, Brett Hadley, Royce D. Applegate, Jack Garner
Genre: Thriller, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man (Chuck Connors) carrying a paper bag notices the pedestrian in front of him has dropped some litter, and he immediately accosts him to reprimand him, telling him off and accusing him of being what is wrong with society these days, so the cowed litterbug puts the object in his pocket and walks away. But this social crusader has a darker side: he is William Dorn, and he has a bee in his bonnet that the society he lives in deserves to be punished, so he will do exactly that, with a selection of home-made bombs left around the city of Los Angeles. His first crime scene is a college which is inflicted with an explosion in its foyer, killing or injuring some of the students, and Lieutenant Geronimo Minelli (Vince Edwards) is on the case…

Think on that, the hero of this story really is called Geronimo Minelli, which may indicate this was not your average thriller, but then Mr B.I.G., Bert I. Gordon, was not your average filmmaker. He was best known for his science fiction movies where a giant monster (or several) would go on the rampage, but he made just as many thrillers, many of them as trashy as this one. The picture he painted of The City of Angels was more of a city of devils, as the whole area appeared to be in a state of crime-ridden crisis, where if you were not a victim of some evildoer then you were the perpetrator of the lawbreaking, be that theft, rape or murder, it seemed everyone there had a crime on their mind.

The description Minelli's police computer gives (apparently a psychiatrist isn't needed, you simply have to type your information in and it'll magically tell you all you need to know) is of a paranoiac with a grudge against the world at large, which curiously looked to be a description of the filmmakers as well, judging by their view of America. Not only was there a mad bomber on the loose, but a mad rapist as well, played by Neville Brand whose attacks are filmed in fairly graphic detail, which has you wondering if we were supposed to be perversely entertained by watching anonymous bit part actresses having their clothes ripped off, considering the unwholesome degree of interest Gordon showed in depicting them.

Brand's George Fromley is, in a very contrived twist, the only man who knows what Dorn looks like as he was visiting a mental hospital to find another victim (yeesh) and what do you know, the bomber was there too, so Fromley caught a glimpse of him. Minelli knows that if he catches the rapist, he will catch the bomber, so sets up a few sting operations to lure him out leading to a bizarre montage that suggests a young woman can hardly walk down the street without some degenerate manhandling her given how many lust-deranged men the cops pick up. Fromley is one of those, and Minelli finally gets him to talk by threatening to put a bullet in his brain (!), because he's a no-nonsense lawman who gets results, and not because his push for justice has made him as crazy as the criminals, oh no.

Fromley identifies Dorn via an identikit machine that proves ridiculously accurate (did they have a special Chuck Connors setting, we wonder?), but what of our titular villain? He is regularly caught up with in scenes where he admonishes the rude and inconsiderate, be they impatient drivers or a waitress who won't look him in the eye when he's ordering a cheese sandwich (big deal!), but possibly his funniest sequence (none of his is meant to be humorous, incidentally) is where he visits Fromley at the porno shrine the rapist has set up to his weirdo wife (Ilona Wilson), and as the pervert is reaching the point of solo satisfaction - well, you can imagine. Just when you think this can't get any more wrong, it does precisely that, a relic of the nineteen-seventies where boundary pushing resulted in a very confused idea of what adults wanted from their entertainment. Certainly The Mad Bomber, a prime example, contains plenty of camp amusement, but its nasty edge means you cannot wholly endorse it to anyone aside from seasoned vintage trash fans who know what they're letting themselves in for. Music by Michel Mention.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Bert I. Gordon  (1922 - )

Known as Mister B.I.G., this American writer, director and producer came from advertising to make a host of giant monster movies in the 1950s - King Dinosaur, Beginning of the End, The Cyclops, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth vs the Spider and War of the Colossal Beast. Attack of the Puppet People featured minituarisation, as a variation.

The 60s saw him make various fantasy and horror movies, such as Tormented, The Magic Sword, Village of the Giants and Picture Mommy Dead. The 1970s only offered two giant monster movies, Food of the Gods and Empire of the Ants, plus horror Necromancy and thriller The Mad Bomber. Subsequent films in the eighties were made with the video market in mind.

 
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