On paper Mondo Sacramento fits the bill for a modern “mondo” style shockumentary. Showcasing three “truth is stranger than fiction” type short stories, each segment has its fair share of occult driven lunacy. From batgirls to kinky ice cream parlors, the director’s love for Sac-town’s darker side is obvious and sincere.
For what it is worth, Mondo Sacramento cannot be accused of aiming too high. In fact, filmmaker Jason Rudy had his sights set directly in the gutter, and with that in mind his film is a success. Every frame is iniquitously filthy, with enough blood, nudity, and diabolism to intrigue even the most perceptive of the simple-minded.
Those looking for a genuine “Mondo” documentary will unfortunately be left wanting. While Mondo Sacramento does attempt to recreate gruesome tales of the macabre, ultimately the final product is too campy to take seriously. The great Mondo films of the past succeeded by convincing the audience that the horrifying acts of tribal savagery (Ultime Grida Dalla Savana), sexual exploitation (Mondo Hollywood), and human brutality (the Faces of Death series) were in fact authentic. Mondo Sacramento more closely resembles a considerably less polished episode of Unsolved Mysteries than let’s say Mondo Cane VI.
Ultimately this is a fun, if not inconsequential, B-movie horror romp. In a paint-by-numbers sense, Rudy crafts a safe little genre movie a couple of teenage boys would be more than happy to watch at 1 A.M. on a Saturday after a night of not getting laid. It is obvious Rudy does much with very little, and the movie has an air of camaraderie that you only get with super low budget films. It’s probably safe to assume Mondo Sacramento was shot over the course of several weekends. You get the feeling everyone involved had a good time shooting their scenes, and that notion of alacrity does more for this film than the blood and breasts. Even the film’s weakest section - a series of talking head interviews with the employees of an ice cream/massage parlor, is nearly made watchable by the sheer enthusiasm of those on screen, and for that Rudy should be very grateful.