Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pervirella (1997)

Pervirella, like many other movies, is something that I can't help liking in spite of just how many huge flaws it has. It's a daft film, it was made for a budget that clearly wouldn't pay for one day on any blockbuster film set, and it's pretty crude, in terms of the technical stuff and the onscreen content. But it has Emily Booth as the titular character, and a supporting role for Eileen Daly. And there also happens to be a fair bit of gratuitous nudity.

The basic story concerns an evil Queen Victoria (Sexton Ming), the lovely Pervirella (Emily Booth, billed as Emily Bouffante), and an underground movement called The Cult Of Perv. Pervirella is a sweet girl, but she's a dangerous nymphomaniac whenever a protective necklace is removed from her person - something that comes in quite handy as she joins some explorers on a quest for some magical elixir and to meet some other people who like to shed their clothes as often as possible.

Directed by Alex Chandon and Josh Collins, who also wrote the movie (with additional material by Jason Slater and Nico Rilla), this is an enjoyable pastiche for those who fondly remember the wide variety of movies that came from the UK in the '60s and '70s. Familiar studios (Hammer and Amicus being the main two) provide the main adventuring element, while a number of sex comedies from the past provide the sauce that covers every scene. Love it or loathe it, it's a film stitched together to make a very British patchwork.

Emily Booth is the main draw here, and does just fine in her role. She's not asked to deliver any lengthy speeches, or to emote in any way that isn't completely over the top, but she's asked to go along with the ridiculous material, act very naive, and not worry about the many times in which she loses some of her clothing. And, in that regard, she's a great success. Ron Drand is okay as Professor Rumphole Pump, a classic British adventurer type, Sexton Ming is amusing as the evil Queen, Eileen Daly is a welcome presence, as always, and David Warbeck is very funny as the smooth and heroic Amicus Reilly. Fans of UK comedy/TV will be able to point and laugh at VERY brief cameos from Mark Lamarr and Jonathan Ross.

If you want something that feels like a proper movie then you should give this a miss, but if you're a fan of the movies that Chandon and Collins throw into their bubbling caldron then you might end up having some fun. Pervirella is a labour of love. It uses a mix of model work, some of it good and some of it intentionally, and hilariously, obvious, it uses plenty of cheap tricks to realise each sequence, and it slips some T & A into proceedings every 10 minutes or so. So it's no surprise that I like it.



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