Movie Review: “Mad Heidi” (Screamfest)

October 21, 2022

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Codirectors Johannes Hartmann and Sandro Klopfstein have unleashed on the world Mad Heidi (Switzerland, 2002), the first Swissploitation film, and it is a bonkers blend of horror, action, and comedy, filled with blood, bare breasts, and cheese of both the comedic and edible kinds.

Casper Van Dien chews up scenery like the ubiquitous cheese in the film as dictatorial President Meili, who has dreams of global domination and who owns the only legal cheese factory in Switzerland. His henchmen are developing a new type of cheese, which they discover turns men into mighty mutants — perfect for building an unstoppable army.

Meanwhile, mountain girl Heidi (Alice Lucy in a super comic and physical performance) sees her boyfriend Goat Peter (Kel Matsena) — who got his nickname from his, ahem, special way with goats to produce superb cheese — and her grandfather slain by Kommandant Knorr (Max Rüdlinger), ruthless leader of Meili’s Nazi-like army. After some high-level training, Heidi is prepared to get revenge — but she’ll have to go through some physical challenges from Meili, Knorr, and others first.

Mad Heidi started out as a crowdfunding project that hit some bumps in the road, including the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it is here in all of its colorful, gore-soaked, insane glory. Every reference imaginable to Switzerland must be on display here, from the Matterhorn to cuckoo clocks and beyond, and if there was an opportunity missed to mention cheese, it wasn’t for lack of trying by screenwriters Hartmann, Klopfstein, and Gregory D. Widmer.

The fight choreography and scenes are great, the science fiction and horror nods are a blast, the lower-budget special effects are a hoot, and the comedy lands more often than not. Mad Heidi is a mind-blowing celebration of what genre-film fans love, and if you consider yourself such a fan, you’ll want to seek out this crazy romp for an hour-and-a-half of fun entertainment.



Mad Heidi screened as part of Screamfest, which ran October 11th – 20th, 2022 at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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