Movie Magazine International

Killer Condom (original title: Kondom des Grauens)

Germany/Switzerland - 1996

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

Martin Walz's "Killer Condom," based on the graphic novel by Ralf König, is a bizarre, touching, provocative, and funny piece of work. It's the story of Luigi Mackeroni, a hard-boiled New York detective torn between his transvestite ex-partner and a street hustler with a heart of gold. If there is a hot-button issue that this flick doesn't push, I can't imagine what it is.

When he's not musing on the chances of true love lasting in this town without pity, or reminiscing about his childhood in Sicily, Luigi's tracking down an invasion of vicious creatures masquaerading as innocent condoms. How they kill, I leave to your imagination, though if you think moray eel with retractable fangs, you'll have the general idea. Done low-key, deadpan and on location in New York, it's German dialogue only enhances the general aura of surrealistic silliness.

Udo Samel as Luigi has a careworn face that is the perfect canvas for Luigi's air of weltschmerz. He and the other actors play up this satire on extremism, injustice and society's failings by playing it, you'll forgive the expression, straight. The passion and pathos of people kicked around by life a little too much meshes with the genuine terror provoked by toothed latex and is enhanced by the clever art direction that captures the gritty film noir feel of a graphic novel come to life.

The "Killer Condoms" themselves are deceptively cute. They wriggle, they coo, and by the time one of their victims realizes his mistake, he's singing either soprano or with the heavenly host. It's a concept that pricks those dark recesses of the human psyche where sex and death are hopelessly entwined and provokes the most unexpected reaction of all. Laughter.

© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 1/28/98

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