Bad Movie Club: The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak

1984 semi-erotic adventure story

Rating: 4/20 (Fred: 0/20; Libby: refused to rate the movie because she wants to be able to deny that she even watched it; Josh: 4/20; Johnny: 2/20; Jeremy: not sure if he finished; Carrie: "Internet problems," probably just an excuse to flee, kept her from finishing)

Plot: The titular heroine, played by an actress who was in rehab for cocaine instead of heroin, arrives in China on a search for either her father, a butterfly, or both. She, a friend who almost looks like Shelly Duvall, and a heroic jerk brave the dangerous land of the Yik Yak where clothing is shed and general silliness occurs.

French director Just Jaeckin, a guy who also made one of a thousand erotic Emmanuelle movies and versions of both Lady Chatterley's Lover and The Story of O, put this together, presumably because he likes to spend a lot of his post-production time Just Jaeckin off. This stars Tawny Kitaen, probably most famous for writhing on the hood of a car in a Whitesnake video. She's fairly naked in this movie along with a whole lot of Yik Yaks, but it was about as erotic as a Berenstain Bears cartoon. I did feel a little grimy after watching it though, so there's that. One poster described it as Barbarella meets Indiana Jones, but there's no real science fiction--more fantasy--and I'm pretty sure Indiana Jones would rather see his still-beating heart ripped out of his chest than have his name associated with a movie like this. Things start out insane enough with about fifteen minutes of characters speaking in un-subtitled Chinese. Gwendoline's in a box, a guy gets a grappling hook to the throat, and there's a scene with the Chinese Chris Elliot getting himself a blow job. The biggest jerk in adventure movie history is recruited by Gwendoline to go along on this little adventure, and then there's a succession of what I assume are supposed to be "perils," gradually amped up to please the S&M crowd with revealing costumes, a wacky torture chamber, and threats of forced sexual intercourse. Speaking of sex, this has one of the greatest sex scenes ever. The trio are captured and tied up by some natives--not Yik Yaks, I don't think--and Gwendoline, who has stated that she is impossibly a virgin, and the guy, who has the great action hero name of "Willard," engage in this weird verbal sex play that involves a piece of straw. It's a scene that went on forever, like Just Jaeckin wanted to bludgeon us to a state of arousal. So the soft-pornish side of this doesn't work, and the adventure stuff doesn't work. What about the humor? Well, I think there was comedy, but it was difficult to spot without a laugh track. Willard's lines are almost entirely made up of one-liners, but instead of being funny, it just makes him sound like a complete dick. Actually, I don't think he's got a single line in this that doesn't make him seem like a dick. It makes the romance forced into this story completely implausible. But I'm not sure why I'm even mentioning plausibility with The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak. This is definitely one of those cases where you'll either want to shut off your brain or kill yourself before watching. This is a movie that I could understand as a cult classic that some purveyors of bad movies might enjoy, but it didn't really seem to connect with any of my bad movie friends. I think I liked it better than the rest of the Bad Movie Clubbers, probably because I'm a pervert. And borderline insane.

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