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Film Review: Girly (1970)

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SYNOPSIS:

A wealthy, fatherless British clan kidnaps bums and hippies and forces them to participate in an elaborate role-playing game in which they are the perfect family; those who refuse or attempt escape are ritualistically murdered.

REVIEW:

Girly is a bloodless, fully dressed, sober good time (yes it is possible) A group of adults play house like children, taking the roles of the mother, the nanny, the younger brother, and the kid sister. Sonny and Girly, the twenty something children of the family, are sent out into the world by Mumsy and Nanny to find playmate friends to bring back home. This involves going out to public parks to find homeless and/or drunk grown men and inviting them home for dinner and play time. Once the men arrive at the home they are forced to play along with the family’s games and rules. They are treated as a new child in the house. Those that break the rules get cut…… in pieces. (Insert evil laugh)

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What makes this movie worth a watch is the character Girly (Vanessa Howard) who is a beautiful vixen that you can’t keep your eyes off of whenever she hits the screen. Her character is that of a little girl trapped in a grown woman’s body. Which will make any guy a creep, as was I guilty as charged. I don’t know why that’s a turn on but it is and it is a pleasure lusting over her character throughout the film. It should also be noted that there is no way in hell Rob Zombie was not influenced by this character when writing the role of Baby in House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects. It’s always nice to watch a little unknown movie and spot something that you know has given influence to more recent and successful films.

Sonny is either gay or asexual, the verdict isn’t in yet after 40 years of scholarly debate. A typical bratty older brother that likes to tease his make believe sister whom he appears to have no romantic interest in. The movie focuses more on the adventures of Sonny and Girly than Mumsy or Nanny, who kind of just hold the fort down and make the rules. Their roles become more concrete once the New Friend becomes a fixture at the home, but still none of the characters are as developed as Girly. If you don’t find Girly’s little girl act sexy, skip the flick.

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So the family lacks a father figure until the New Friend comes along. Picked up drunk at a party along with his girlfriend by Sonny and Girly, he becomes single after his better half gets pushed off the side of a slide in a playground. He is shocked and appalled by the death of his girlfriend and allows the playmates to take him to their home in his moments of confusion. The New Friend learns the house rules and plays along to secure his survival. This outsider proceeds to sleep around and cause havoc and betrayal amongst family members. He is for all intents and purposes, what all men strive to be.

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The concept behind the movie is inventive and I feel like more could have been done. I keep in mind some limits derive from this story originating as a stage play. In a way I’m curious how this clan got together in the first place and what motivates them to play the roles they play, at the same time I realize that having no explanation makes it weirder and wackier. Maybe their saying something about the role we give family members in society based off age and gender but I hope not, the film is fun just for its zany flavor. As much as I like to preach against remakes, especially in the horror genre, this is a film that really deserves an update. Still, it does move at an entertaining pace and although definitively 1960’s in style, I think it has aged gracefully. If you’re looking for a movie that’s offbeat but not freaky enough to gross out your own old nanny, I’d suggest giving this a looking into.

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