When most of us think of Switzerland, we think of the beautiful mountain ranges, delicious dairy, scenic train journeys, tranquil lakes, and friendly people. However, like everywhere else on the planet, there’s a darkness in Switzerland that contains all kinds of unspeakable horrors. What if the Switzerland we know and love is a lie? A carefully orchestrated trick devised by some power mad, sadistic cheese tycoon? That would be something to worry about.
The reason I ask this is because that’s the Switzerland we’ll be seeing in Johannes Hartmann‘s Mad Heidi, which is being dubbed as the first ever “Swissploitation” movie. Should this movie go ahead, it will undoubtedly be the most Swiss exploitation movie ever made, so its moniker is very fitting. Furthermore, the movie could also usher in an age of cinematic Alpian atrocity that could fill a niche in the market.
Take a look at the teaser below and then we can look at the bigger picture:
Here’s the official synopsis: “In the near future the world is sinking into war and chaos, but Switzerland has sealed itself off as an island of the rich. A despotic cheese magnate is ruling the country with an iron fist to maintain an artificial postcard-image of Switzerland. When Heidi is abducted by brutal government troops, she must defend herself and fight her war against the cheese-fueled machinery of hate. They will soon realize they just fucked with the wrong Heidi!”
This is the start of something big, folks. As the prophecies foretold, a movie about a woman named Heidi would give birth to an exploitation film genre known as Swissploitation. While Mad Heidi won’t be first exploitation flick to emerge from the land of chocolate and cheese, it will be the first one to come along and say, “Grüetzi! This is Swissploitation. Are you ready, world?”
I’m ready. I’ve always been ready. It’s about time Switzerland got its own niche sub-genre. If Mexploitation, Canuxploitation, Britsploitation, and Turksploitation can have their moment in the sun, then so can Swissploitation.
If this teaser tells us anything, it’s that Swissploitation will be defined by a few notable characteristics: Swiss stereotypes, bloodshed, and gore-splattered punchlines about a deep-rooted fear of the Other. Let’s look at how Mad Heidi will potentially play with these themes to create compelling cinema.
First up, the film’s protagonist is synonymous with Swiss literature. She’s the grown up version of the little girl from Johanna Spyri‘s 1891 novel “Heidi”, which is a cornerstone of native children’s tales. The character has appeared in lots of stories and movies throughout the years, but never as an action heroine tasked with taking down crazy cheese tyrants. I’m sure Spyri would be proud of this version of her beloved creation, though. Maybe future Swissploitation movies will re-imagine kids stories by giving them a bloody makeover?
Next up, we have chocolate and cheese. You can’t make a Swissploitation movie without their tastiest exports. I suspect chocolate and cheese will be a vital component of Swissploitation going forward. Think about it: Who doesn’t like these foods outside of people who don’t eat dairy products? Now the job of all future Swissploitation auteurs is to find a way to make these delicious treats seem deadly and repulsive.
Knives are commonplace in exploitation movies. In Swissploitation movies, though, Swiss Army Knives are the preferred method of murder. That said, Swiss Army Knives could also be the device that truly carves out a niche for Swissploitation fare. These knives are very distinct and offer a host of services after all; maybe in one scene they could pluck someone’s eyebrows off, followed by removing their eyeball with a corkscrew? This knife will inspire creative and bold imaginations to soar.
In this depraved vision of Switzerland, the powers that be don’t like foreigners. This is made clear during the scenes where people of color are slaughtered by these Nazi fucks. Suffice to say, these villains are rotten to the core and Heidi’s mission is bigger than vengeance: she represents progress and good values that will take Switzerland forward. By disposing of despots, she will usher in a new age of equality and freedom. That’s if she wins anyway. For all we know, the worldview of Swissploitation could be much more cynical and disturbing.
The birth of Swissploitation is almost upon us, but it does need our help to make the labor easier. If you’d like to support the filmmakers and their weird movie, head on over to the Mad Heidi website for more information. Help usher in the next big thing.