Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Girly (a.k.a. Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly)

So remember yesterday, when I promised that there’d be two nice and bloody movies later this week? Well, I had intended this to be one of them, but it seems my memory was quite faulty as, despite the number of murders going on here, there’s a shockingly complete lack of blood. It’s still a pretty fabulous movie, however, filled with some nice dark British humor, and you should definitely check it out.
The film follows the four title characters, who comprise an isolated wealthy British family, and the transients the “children” (both obviously adults, which should really be a bit of a tipoff to the transients) bring home to play games with. Of course, we and they soon find out that when they break the rules once too often, it’s then time for a final game, where Girly (Vanessa Howard) or Sonny (Howard Trevor) sends them to live with the angels. Into this, New Friend (Michael Bryant) arrives, and quickly figures out just what a dangerous situation he’s in, and decides to play along while he figures out how to resolve things without being murdered himself.

I must say, I admire the sheer bravado in New Friend is to seduce both Girly and Mumsy (Ursula Howells) so that he can turn them (well, mainly Girly) into weapons against both each other and the rest of the family. His seduction of Girly in particular, coming as it does in the middle of a game of cowboys and Indians which Sonny is also playing, takes some real daring, and while they keep it clean and don’t show any actual nudity, we do at least get treated to Girly’s “O” face when he goes down on her.

All five main cast members give surprisingly good performances for such a nutso story, and the humor is nicely understated and fun. The real breakout talent (and presumably the reason for the shortened name) is Vanessa Howard, of course, so it’s a little sad to read on IMDB that she quit acting a few years after this, in large part because Girly and What Became of Jack and Jill? vanished into the ether so soon after their initial releases. Indeed, that second film is still unavailable on DVD, and while I can find a copy online it’s clearly from a badly worn-out VHS, so it’s hopefully due for a proper re-mastering. Spielberg or someone should get right on that.

I’m honestly surprised that since starting the HROHFYSSBYD reviews up again, the first three films I’ve done have all been fairly blood-and-nudity-free. That’s going to change tomorrow in a big way, but it was kind of nice watching Fright, The Ghost, and especially Girly together, as though I were returning to a more simple time, one prior to Saw and Hostel and characters didn’t all have to be viciously tortured before being mercifully killed off. These were horror movies you could watch with the family, you know? Hopefully a more stable family than the one we got here.

Rating: *** ½

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