First published in 1881, Swiss author Johanna Spyri’s novel Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written. As Wikipedia explains, the story follows “a joyful and free-spirited young girl who is orphaned as a toddler” as she develops a friendship with a girl named Klara, who is unable to walk. 141 years later, the Swiss icon Heidi has been reimagined as Mad Heidi for an over-the-top action-adventure horror comedy. A few months ago, we heard that the movie would be released through “madheidi.com, a dedicated website created by A Film Company, during a three-month exclusive window. The film will then be made available on other platforms as well, followed by Blu-ray and DVD releases and TV.” Now The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that the website release is going to happen in just one week, on December 8th!
Johannes Hartmann made his feature directorial debut with Mad Heidi, working from a screenplay he wrote with Trent Haaga, Sandro Klopfstein, and Gregory D. Widmer. The English-language film boasts a budget of $3.5 million, $2 million of which was raised through crowd investment from 560 people across 19 counties. The film presents Heidi as she’s never been seen before – with smocked dress, puffed sleeves, apron and pigtails, yes, but as a badass, kick-ass rebel with the brute strength to slice an opponent in two, top to toe, with a battle axe, for example. In a dystopian Switzerland that has fallen under the fascist rule of a cheese magnate, Heidi lives as a simple young woman in the mountains. Her grandfather does his best to protect her from the bad influences of the world, but soon her longing for personal freedom will spark a revolution. The naive mountain girl turns into a fierce fighter who has to put an end to the cheese fascists.
Mad Heidi stars Alice Lucy (Junction 9) as Heidi and Almar G. Sato (Maniac Tales) as Klara. Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and David Schofield (Gladiator) are also in the cast.
Mad Heidi received a theatrical release in some major territories last week. Did you happen to catch the movie on the big screen, or will you be watching it on the website? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.