Pervert! Review

This film is rated Horny-14.

James (Sean Andrews) goes to visit his father Hezekiah (Darrell Sandeen) in his desert ranch. But Hezekiah has shacked up with the much younger and much stacked Cheryl (Mary Carey, a porn star who also once ran for governor of California). Cheryl immediately sets out to seduce the virginal James. But then James starts having nightmares of ritual sacrifice, of which he is the victim. And why is Hezekiah making sculptures out of raw meat?

If you have never seen a Russ Meyer movie, your reaction to Pervert! may well be summed up as WTF. It's not a parody, as Meyer's films are more than a little tongue in cheek anyway. But as pastiche, Pervert! ticks the boxes: bright, high-contrast camerawork, an on-screen narrator (Malik Carter), episodes of graphic violence, women with hour-and-a-half-glass figures (who frequently display their attributes in close-up). Oh, and some stop-motion animation, which I won't spoil for you.

As such, Pervert! is moderately amusing for the hour and twenty minutes it's on screen. The cartoonish tone is well sustained, and the cast perform with gusto if not always with great acting skill. Director Jonathan Yudis appears as a car mechanic who lusts after James, and Yudis's toddler son William gets one of the biggest laughs in the film. The skill of the filmmakers isn't in doubt and no doubt this film was as hard to make as any other – not helped by being shot in the desert in 100-plus-degree heat – but making a film which exists solely in relation to other films strikes me as a little too easy and pat. Like his work or not, Meyer made his name for his originality in the softcore sex movie genre. Ultimately Pervert! comes across as a reinvention of the wheel. So let's hope that Yudis goes on to make something that stands on its own feet. As it stands, Pervert! is entertaining enough. It was reviewed sober, but no doubt the experience will be enhanced by a beer or two.



The DVD


Pervert! is released by Arrow on a dual-layered DVD encoded for all regions. It begins with a trailer (2:47) for Arrow's series of cult films on DVD and Blu-ray. (Pervert! is DVD-only.)

The DVD transfer is in the ratio of 1.78:1, opened up from the intended 1.85:1, and anamorphically enhanced. The film was shot on Super 16mm, so it's inevitably a little softer than one originated on 35mm would be, which is more noticeable in longer shots, but the colours are suitably bright.

There are two soundtrack choices, in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround (2.0). The 5.1 track is the one of choice, with some good use of the surrounds and the subwoofer. There are no subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, which is always a regrettable omission.

There are two commentaries, both featuring Jonathan Yudis. In the first he is paired with writer and co-producer Mike Davis, in the second with editor Fitz, cinematographer Guy Livneh and special effects producer Timothy Johnson. In both commentaries, the participants seem to be having a good time and you do find out some of what goes into making low-budget features – a budget of $50,000 and a shooting schedule of twelve days. However, as with many discs with multiple commentaries, I do wonder if it would have been better to have all the participants on a single track. Particularly as much of what you hear can also be found out from the making-of documentary.

This is “Beyond the Chasm of the Hypervixens” (30:09). It follows the usual format of interviews mixed with on-set footage and clips from the film. The film, and some of the interviews, were made before Russ Meyer passed away, which necessitates an explanatory subtitle when Davis wishes that Meyer (whom he calls “the American Fellini”, no less) would make another film.

The remaining extras begin with “Extended lesbian scenes” (2:12), of which no more need be said. Next up are some deleted scenes (5:12), which are in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic with timecodes in the black bars, plus some not-especially-funny bloopers (2:03) presented the same way. The on-disc extras conclude with a self-navigating stills gallery (4:15) with fifty images, plus the theatrical trailer (2:56).

An eight-page booklet comprises “I'm a Pervert, You're a Pervert”, an essay by Robin Bougie mostly taken up with an interview with Jonathan Yudis.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
5 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 11:50:16

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