aka Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly
Director: Freddie Francis
Starring: Vanessa Howard, Ursula Howells, Howard Trevor, Michael Bryant
In my relentless pursuit of ever more obscure cheap thrills and mayhem, I never suspected I'd discover a 'sadistic schoolgirl killer' movie coming out of the U.K. in 1970! Pre-dating similar 'twisted family' movies such as Takashi Miike's 'Happiness of the Katakuris', Girly is a very black comedy revolving around an upper-class British family ruled by a matriarch known only as Mumsy (Ursula Howells).
Her outlook on life is quintessentially British, insisting on correct manners at all times, and instilling in her family the importance of 'sticking to the rules'. Along with her knitting partner Nanny, they run a happy and efficient family home, enjoying and encouraging the playfulness of the children Sonny and Girly.
However, this is no ordinary family unit - Mumsy's overbearing control has kept the children at an emotional age of around 6 years old, despite being in their 20's. As such, they still wear their school uniforms, sleep in children's cribs, and spend their time playing games such as 'cowboys and indians' and 'playing shop'.
Mumsy and Nanny are exceedingly indulgent of the children, even allowing them to visit the local park and bring home 'new friends' as they please. Said 'new friends' are in fact homeless winos, lured back to the estate by the promise of alcohol and certainly encouraged by the coquettish wiles of Girly and her short skirts.
Once back to the estate, the new friends are welcomed into the family with true British hospitality, including meals, their own room, and nightly baths from Nanny. In return however, they are expected to stick to the rules which first and foremost includes NOT ESCAPING, and in addition pandering to every whim as the children's new playmate.
Disobeying the rules is not tolerated, and any infractions mean the new friend is put on trial - usually resulting in the harshest of sentences. It doesn't help that the children behave like all children do, making up the rules as they go along. And it's no surprise that they've been through quite a few 'new friends' already.
However, the promise of a bit of girly-action keeps the men toeing the line, enduring constant degradations and bearing the brunt of the children's violent practical jokes.
The family's problems begin with the arrival of 'new friend in 2'. The newly captured friend assigned to Room 2 is a male gigolo, and does not at all mind being trapped and pampered in a house with three single women. It doesn't take him long to find a way of sexually manipulating the situation to his best advantage.
The ensuing jealousies make for a gloriously demented finale as the accepted family structure is called into question, rivalries are settled with brutal finality, and maybe a happy new balance will be reached at last.
When this film was made, Director Freddie Francis handed the completed film over to the studio, only for them to promptly go bankrupt shortly thereafter. Consequently, it never received a great deal of marketing and until recently was thought to be lost forever. Even the director did not have a copy.
However in 2004, bootlegs from an old VHS started to appear on the internet, and its from one of them that these screen-shots are taken. However there is very good news on the horizon! Scorpion Entertainment have picked up the rights to the film and are releasing it as a Region 0 DVD on March 30th (see link below). I've seen screen-shots of the new DVD and the quality looks fantastically better. I'll be picking one up for sure.
In summary, Girly is a deliciously black comedy and a worthy addition to the Twisted Flicks library. Vanessa Howard's sexy and malevolent portrayal of Girly is especially notable, however the acting is good all-round in this poignantly twisted caricature of a British family. However those unfamiliar with traditional British culture may find the film especially bizarre, even puzzling, given the constant references to old-time nursery rhymes and games.
aka Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly