Jack Hill’s “Mondo Keyhole” (1966) was a decidedly sordid softcore sexploitation affair

By on January 28, 2019

Jack Hill‘s Mondo Keyhole (1966) — originally titled The Worst Crime of All — was a decidedly sordid softcore sexploitation affair which producer John Lamb later re-titled to cash in on the box office success of recently-released “Mondo” movies like Mondo Cane.

Watch this 70-minute NSFW cult classic — featuring lots of topless (and often bottomless) big-haired and big-boobed Sixties babes — now on Night Flight Plus.


The skeevy rape-centric storyline follows L.A.-based pornographer “Howard Thorne” (Nick Moriarty) who runs a profitable mail-order smut business.

Howard’s favorite hobby is following women he meets through nudie photo shoots or lurid personal ads and raping them.


The deeply disturbed stalker-rapist Thorne also dreams about his victims, so much so that he has trouble differentiating which of his sexual assaults actually happened, and which were just orgy-filled fantasies.

Meanwhile, Thorne’s beautiful blonde sex-deprived wife “Vicki” (Victoria Wren, a.k.a. Adele Rein) flounces around nearly naked trying to get her husband’s attention, which isn’t easy since he’s so distracted by his rapey thoughts.


Vicki ends up making love to herself in some of nudie cinema’s sexiest “fuck-yourself-in-the-mirror” sequences.

Her unlucky sex life likely also contributes to her dabbling with heroin, possibly foreshadowing the depiction of heavy drug use in some of Hill’s future films (Coffy, Foxy Brown and Switchblade Sisters).


When Vicki attends a costume pool party, she learns the awful truth about Howard’s sexual deviancy when he arrives separately and grabs her, attempting to rape her, not realizing it’s actually his own wife behind a Halloween mask.

Howard is later attacked by “Carol” (Carol Baughman) and her  karate expert lover “The Crow” (Cathy Crowfoot).

He awakens to find the lesbians have tied him up, bondage-style, for easy torturing.


Vicki, meanwhile, deals with her own private hell, a nightmarish Wesson oil-drenched orgy with a man wearing a vampire mask (Christopher Winters).

Mondo Keyhole was released with the taglines “He dared do what other men only dream about… and he did it again and again and again!,” and “A keyhole at midnite opened the door to the bizarre!,” among others.

Read more about Mondo Keyhole below.


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Hill began production on Mondo Keyhole shortly after completing work on his feature film debut, Spider Baby.

Hill needed to pay his bills,  though, later calling this “one of the low points of my life,” so he began working on short 16mm nudist films — marketed through mail-order as filmstrip-style “loops” — with producer John Lamb.


Back then, filmmakers shooting full frontal nudity scenes ran the risk of being arrested for obscenity, but as long as the films were considered “naturism,” they were in the clear (check out our previous post on the Queen of Sexploitation “nudie cuties” Doris Wishman).

Hill — who did the camerawork and the editing on Lamb’s films — had to strip off all of his clothes to be able to shoot in Florida nudist colonies, wearing only a belt (which held items he needed for the camera).


Lamb then got the idea to edit the black & white film loops together to make a feature-length film which could then be shown in an adult theater. This nudist footage, now called The Raw Ones, featured a few new interstitial scenes shot by Hill.

After seeing what had happened with Lamb’s The Raw Ones (1965) — major U.S. newspapers refused to print advertisements for the film’s screenings, and Hill and Lamb expected to be arrested for showing nudity, but nothing happened — Hill decided to direct his own low-budget nudity-filled feature to see if he could get his film distributed to larger audience (in regular movie theaters, and not just the adult moviehouses).


This cheapo no-budget production — Hill did everything himself, the lighting, camerawork, directing and all of the editing — involved using actresses who had posed for nudist magazines and appeared in nudie movies.

Since they had visually and audibly negligible acting skills, their voices were later over-dubbed by professional actors, which made it look and sound like they had some actual talent.


Hill also filled the movie with imagery which came directly from his recent reading of Carl Jung’s dream theories — there’s quite a few dream sequences in Mondo Keyhole — including images of flaming skulls, ticking clocks and other dream-like imagery.

Because Hill’s film featured elements of sado-masochism and rape, Hill opened the film, which he;d originally titled The Worst Crime of All, with a quote from the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud — “For crimes committed in the mind, the mind finds its own punishment” — because he thought moviegoing audiences would be curious to know which was considered “the worst crime of all” (spoiler: it’s rape).


Lamb and Hill would end up having a falling-out after Hill thereafter began directing his own films — we’ve also got the next film Hill directed for Roger Corman, 1967’s Pit Stop, on Night Flight Plus — and although Lamb had no actual directorial input on the film, he would later remove Hill’s name from the film, replacing it with his own.

He also changed the film’s title to Mondo Keyhole in order to cash in on the recent box office success of “Mondo” movies like Mondo Cane and Mondo Hollywood (these exploitation-rich documentaries typically showed young Europeans, often fully nude, having fun and hanging out while exploring their strange “customs” and hobbies).


Watch Mondo Keyhole and other great “Mondo” and NSFW sexploitation films on Night Flight Plus.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.