"Take your hands off that penis, son!" There aren't many films that feature a line like that. There is a twin-brother-and-brother who perform together in hardcore gay porn but I doubt even they'd have gone near uttering such a line. And there has, to my limited knowledge, never been a father-son pairing of porn stars so that may be a unique utterance. Pervert! isn't A-list talent slumming it over a claimed love of sleazy cinema, it's a genuinely dirty, homegrown love letter to Russ Meyer, Frank Henenlotter and Ted Mikels that, as the cover shouts out proudly, features much Sex! Death! Freedom!
Opening with a bright, brassy riff that's some distant cousin to the Pearl & Dean theme, Pervert! takes us straight into big-breasted women go-go dancing in the desert, bumping into one another as the screen splits to offer us screen-sized close ups of jiggling breasts and wobbly buttocks. Somehow passing these women by unnoticed, James (Sean Andrews) drives on through the desert in his Mustang, stopping to pick up a hitchhiker, who might well be the only woman in the entire Mojave who's not shaking her doo-dahs in the hot midday sun. Unfortuantely, before James can get any action - it's a film where getting action ranks as high as, in its backwoods setting, sipping moonshine and digging holes in the desert for no good reason - she opens the glove compartment, out of which spills a near-tidal wave of pornography, women's underwear and a rubber prop that looks suspiciously like the Lucky Lips I once saw featured in Forum magazine. Feels like a real woman, it said back then but Pervert! has a stray dog run in and gobble them up, his jaws squeaking with every bite on this rubberised vagina, which doesn't sound like a real woman at all.
"What are you, some kind of pervert?" Oddly, the hitchhiker runs off again just as I was expecting her to say, "Hmmm... panties...wanna fuck?" in the time-honoured tradition of a porno, leaving James heading home from college to his father's house, where the widowed old man Hezekiah (Darrell Sandeen) has just remarried, this time to the young, blonde and well-proportioned Cheryl (Mary Carey). Not that Hezekiah is in any kind of bad shape as, nightly, he bends Cheryl over the bedpost and gets dirty with her while James masturbates in the bedroom next door. But Cheryl is a lusty young thing and stealing James away from a day digging holes, pours fresh honey over her ample chest and encourages the young lad to get lickin'. And as Hezekiah sleeps in the summer sun, Cheryl makes like she's stuck fast to James, riding out the summer in the outdoors shower, at the wheel of Hezekiah's pickup, in the desert and down amongst Hezekiah's preserves. But things take a turn for the nasty when his daddy shows James the meat-sculptures that he's been working on, with his workshop humming with the smell of rotting livers, eyeballs and testicles. Then Cheryl turns up bloodied and near dead and James thinks that his father is the murderer. And he's wondering what did happen to his mother?
There are some shocking moments in Pervert! Not the obvious ones mind - such as a redneck mechanic drop-kicking his toddler son back into the garage with a, "Get back to work!" or an actress sat doggy style with a fat dick emerging out of her mouth - but more old a beardy old man like Darrell Sandeen doesn't just get to marry one horny young woman but while her body's still warm turns up back at home with ex-stripper Alisha (Sally Jean) before having nurse Patty (Juliette Clark) sit on his face. Given how his only interests seem to be preserving things in glass jars, not just fruits but just about anything, and his meat sculptures, one would have thought it unlikely that he's equipped for seduction. Never mind the wanton violence, big-breasted women dancing in the desert and the voodoo, it's how an old man manages to bag three buxom young women that one wonders at. Such is the thing that gives twelve-year-old boys hope. That and Clearasil.
But then there's much in Pervert! that's unbelievable, not least how much it owes not only to Russ Meyer - that debt is obvious, even from the cover - but to Frank Henenlotter, whose Basket Case and Brain Damage it riffs on continuously. The blood and gore is that bright red of corn syrup and food dye, there are plenty of gags and even the monster, when it's finally revealed, owes a debt to Elmer in Brain Damage and the stop-motion animation of Belial in Basket Case. But it's in tone that Pervert! is closest to Henenlotter. Looked at against blockbuster releases, Pervert! is a hopeless mess. Anyone whose Russ Meyer experiences don't extend far from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is like to be aghast at this Up!- or Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens-inspired shambles. But there's the same charm here as there was in Frankenhooker, The Evil Dead - it even pops in with penetration by a monster just like the tree rape while there's a Belial-styled sexual assault from the monster's point of view - leaving it the sort of thing for those who like a little nudity in amongst their cheap horrors or the bright splash of blood around really huge tits, all the while offering some big laughs from some very cheap lines. And who don't mind their films so shambolic that they're on the verge of falling apart.
I'm guessing but I say that Pervert! was originally produced on video rather than film stock, such is the micro-budget expended on this film. Soft and fuzzy is how it looks on the DVD and though it's widescreen, that's no guarantee of a quality production as even the average camcorder has a setting to take it off fullscreen. Whilst not suggesting it was made on the average £150 handycam, it doesn't really look as though the behind-the-scenes tech was very much better. Add to that print damage, stray hairs in the corner of the screen and a camera that tends towards lurching through each scene and this is a rough watch but very much in keeping with the kind of material that it is. Again, if you could cope with the Ram-o-cam, Sam-o-cam and the various other names invented by Sam Raimi that mean sticking a camera on a plank of wood and running around with it, this shouldn't be much of a problem.
There's a choice of DD2.0 and DD5.1 but there's precious little between them, perhaps a little more happening in the rear channels in one but they're very much of a like. The audio track is on a par with the picture, meaning there's some background noise and the odd crackle and pop but so long as you can appreciate the surreal sound effects - the diarrhoea is a particularly Ugh! moment - most of it passes by fine.
Into The Chasm Of The Hyperixens (30m09s): This making of begins with writer Mike Davis and director Jonathan Yudis talking about their problems getting films made in the past, which led to Pervert! Going on to the cast, crew and, eventually, the stop-motion team, this making of begins with the pre-production meetings, into the shoot, where the heat did for a few members of the cast and Yudis had to look out for the two male leads, both of whom arrived with their own medical conditions. And everyone complains about dehydration. This goes on to the final edit, stopping only minutes before the premiere. There's plenty here in terms of running time but it doesn't say a good deal about the actual film. Better just watch Pervert!
Extended Lesbian Scene (2m12s): Of course, there's a lesbian scene in Pervert! although it is rather a short one. This reveals, literally so, the fuller girl-on-girl action between Mary Carey and Juliette Clark.
Deleted Scenes (5m12s): Suggesting that all the gags made it into the film, these are a fairly droll set of scenes, with one very long one between James and Patty that goes on far too long. But there is one good one that explains Patty's fear of the male penis that made this viewer think of Phoebe Cates' why-I-hate-Christmas moment in Gremlins and made me think twice of ever going swimming with squid.
Finally, the DVD rounds off with Bloopers (2m03s), a Photo Gallery and a Trailer (3m23s).
It's not just a decade out of date, more a quarter-century being the kind of film that Palace, in amongst The Evil Dead, Basket Case and the films of John Waters, would have made their own in the early eighties. Everything about Pervert! is just so, the adult actresses aren't the steely-eyed, fake-breasted girls of hardcore but lusty strippers who're carrying a little too much weight but look all the better for it. The horror is just cheap enough, the blood really fake and the dialogue often wonderfully and deliberately bad. And, like Meyer would have done, it throws in a Nazi hillbilly and has some chunky rock to round it out. It's very far from being right for everyone but I enjoyed it plenty. Right for anyone who wonders why they don't make films like Basket Case any more. Well, with Pervert!, they do.