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MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY AND GIRLY
DVD region 0. Odeon.

This British curiosity has never before had a UK video release, and so this nicely remastered version from Odeon is most welcome. Released in the US as the more blunt Girly, it's without doubt Freddie Francis' best film, and a marvellous mix of horror and macabre humour.

Based on the play happy family, the film follows the adventures of a decidedly twisted family consisting of matriarch Mumsy (Ursula Howells), domestic help Nanny (Patricia Heywood) and overgrown schoolkids Sonny (Howard Trevor) and Girly (Vanessa Howard), who live in a dilapidated large house. Sonny and Girly like to make new friends - more often than not homeless people tempted with booze - who are taken home and made to play warped games until they break the rules and are 'sent to the angels'.

Tiring of tramps, they pick up drunken partygoers Michael Bryant and Imogen Hassell. When Hassell is killed by Sonny (with Bryant made to think he was responsible) they whisk the 'New Friend' back home, to torment him with practical jokes and petty rules that he isn't told about. However, this New Friend is more cunning than most, and when it becomes clear that escape is impossible, he begins to manipulate the women of the house - to the annoyance and jealousy of Sonny - and before long, this happy family is being torn apart as Girly discovers her sexuality and will stop at nothing to prevent New Friend from joining previous friends on 'the train to Heaven'.

Darkly sardonic, Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly is a real treat. Vanessa Howard is the stand-out in the cast - at one moment childish, the next sex-kittenish, yet always unstable and dangerous - you never know what she will do next. Her performance gives the film an edge similar to that of Jill Banner in Spider Baby - a film this resembles with it's dark humour, subtle nastiness and warped family values.

One of the weirdest British horror films of the 1970's - or any other time, come to think of it - Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly is a must-see!

Odeon's DVD also includes the alternative US titles and a few trailers.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (UK)

BUY IT NOW (USA)

 

 

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