PERVERT! DVD Review
Lust in the Dust!I'm a huge Russ Meyer fan, I'm also a huge HG Lewis fan. So is Jonathan Yudis, the director of Pervert!, and he wears his influences on his sleeve. The film is a balls out riff on Meyer's frenetic oeuvre and Lewis' innovative gore films, and Yudis does pretty darn well by both of them.
Pneumatic girls, crazed old men and a spate of bizarre murders are the order of the day in Pervert, a degenerate tale of sex, meat sculpture and chainsaw wielding good time girls that picks up were Russ Meyer left off!
James has come out to his father's dusty ranch in an obscure corner of the desert only to find that his dad has lost his mind. With cast members dropping like flies and flies unzipping at every opportunity, James has to work out whether his father is icing the locals while trying to keep a procession of local girls satisfied.
There more to the murders than meets the eye but will he be able to keep it in his trousers long enough to work it all out? Find out in this colourful tribute to the classic skin-flicks of the 1970s.
Since the film is so obviously based upon the works of the aforementioned filmmakers, there is a urge to compare the new work to the original. Thankfully, Yudis doesn't seem particularly interested in competing with those films, instead he sets his sights on homage. Meyer and Lewis fans will find plenty to giggle about in these films. There are several shots lifted directly from films like Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (which Pervert! actually shares a location with) and Up!, a third act twist that recalls Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and the ever present dominant and overtly sexual female characters that overpower their weaker male counterparts. Pervert! plays a bit fast and loose with the dialogue, which is something that Meyer wouldn't have done, however, Michael Fitzgerald, the film's editor, does a pretty damned good job mimicking Meyer's very hard to copy editing style.
The second half turns into more of a horror/gore fest, which is where Lewis' influence is more on display. The references are a bit less obvious here, though they are there if you look hard enough. The one most troublesome thing for me about the film was the radical change in style and tone from one part to the next. They are both very fun segments, but they feel like they are coming from two completely different films. Toward the end, Yudis even throws in some slasher-styled POV shots that recall neither Meyer nor Lewis. I definitely prefer the first half of the film on the whole, but the twist toward the end is really a gut-buster and features some really fun claymation, so that was a treat.
Pervert! is pretty successful in what it tries to do, I think maybe it attempts to do a bit too much, though. It isn't exactly like a Seltzer/Friedberg movie by any stretch, but it feels a bit too on-the-nose at times. Overall, I enjoyed the film, and if you're a fan of Meyer's films you owe it to yourself to see this because it is the closest I've seen to a Russ Meyer film since Russ hung up his megaphone after Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens.
Here's where I have a bit of confusion. I've been reviewing Blu-ray discs much, that I find it hard to discern quality on DVDs these days, but something looked a bit off to me. As I was watching it, I thought to myself, "I guess this looks pretty good for a film shot on digital in 2005", but it turns out it was shot on Super 16 film. It doesn't look like film to me, I don't know what it is, but it looks like digital. The sound on the disc fares better, although the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is probably overkill, the 2.0 track is perfectly fine, no major damage and the dialogue and effects come through loud and clear.
Arrow Video have provided another stellar set of extras for Pervert! that are well worth checking out. They've provided two commentaries, both with director, Yudis, and each with different members of the cast and crew. I found both to be very informative and easy to listen to without a lot of dead air. Yudis and team are happy to dish out behind the scenes info and anecdotes, which is what makes a good commentary in my opinion. Also included is a thirty minute making-of documentary. This piece, titled Beyond the Chasm of the Hypervixens, is a neat look behind what it took to get Pervert! off the ground and on the screen. There is footage of early table reads as well as information on casting and shooting in less than ideal conditions. In addition to those substantial extras, there are a few minor pieces as well, including extended lesbian scenes which add up to 3 or 4 minutes of naked chicks grinding on each other, trailers for the film, a couple of inconsequential deleted scenes, and some bloopers. The bloopers aren't bad, anytime you have more than one porn star in your cast, there is bound to be a few dialogue flubs, but at least they're naked. As usual, some of the real stars of this Arrow Video release are the custom artwork by The Dude, Tom Hodge, which is outstanding, and the accompanying booklet featuring an essay on Pervert! by Cinema Sewer artist and sleaze aficionado Robin Bougie, as well as an interview between Bougie and Yudis.
Arrow Video's presentation of Pervert! on DVD is pretty damned good. I have some issues with the video quality, but the US disc looks about the same, so it may come down to the source materials. The content is what really matters though, and it is a fun, stupid, insane, loud, and goofy film. I dig it.
Arrow Video presents Pervert! on R0 PAL DVD.