The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984)

Right before I start writing a blog post, I always go through my list of tags to make sure I don’t miss anything. I always pass over Tawny Kitaen’s name, wishing and hoping that one day I’ll be able to tag her in something other than Witchboard. Well, who would’ve known, this would be my lucky day! Q read something recently about The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak and it reminded him hey, I’ve been wanting to see that movie for awhile! He showed me the back cover and I was sold.

Unfortunately, the old adage “don’t judge a film by the stills on the back cover of the DVD” holds true. No amount of highly-stylized, half-naked, leather-bound, sex-starved gladiatrices can save this movie. There were so many moments throughout this stupid thing that I really, truly wanted to like, but every single time it failed to deliver. But I suppose I’ve put the cart before the horse; what is this stupid piece of crap movie about, anyway?

Tawny Kitaen as the innocent, naive and virginal Gwendoline.

Tawny Kitaen as the innocent, naive and virginal Gwendoline.

Gwendoline has traveled from France to China in a large, wooden box to find her long, lost lepidopterist father. She and her maid Beth quickly find themselves at the mercy of wacky Chinese thieves, who sell Gwendoline into servitude for a quick buck. Luckily Gwendoline’s new owner owes a muscle-bound asshat named Willard a bunch of cash, and when he can’t pay up Willard goes apeshit and tears the place apart, inadvertently saving Gwendoline and Beth.

The charmless Willard

The charmless Willard

Unfortunately for Willard, this means he’s inherited the two ladies for the foreseeable future, and they want to go to the Land of the Yik-Yak. Through a series of whatevers and blah blahs they discover Gwendoline’s father is dead. Willard thinks his time with the girls is over, but oh no, Gwendoline’s journey has just begun! She is now adamant that she will find the elusive butterfly her father died searching for, so his death might not be in vain.

On the way to Yik-Yak, the trio are confronted by a band of cannibals and a hidden society of women who mine some kind of diamond or some shit and only get to fuck when the leader tells them it’s okay, and even when that happens they have to fight over the guy and then after they fuck him they kill him. So that’s a great story line, right? Oh yeah, and along the way Gwendoline has of course fallen in love with Willard, despite the fact that he’s a complete piece of shit utterly lacking in charisma, and I guess he’s fallen in love with her too, even though he bounces from being a complete asshole to being silly putty in her hands. Whatever.

Gwendoline and Willard in those outfits, on that chariot, still don't make this movie worth watching.

Gwendoline and Willard in those outfits, on that chariot, still don’t make this movie worth watching.

This movie can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it campy? Is it a comedy? Is it an adventure flick? A soft-core porno? I guess it wanted to be all of these things, but since it couldn’t do any one thing well enough it ends up being none of these things. Continuing the theme of what-the-fuck-is-this-movie-going-for, the characters also have no grounding; they bounce from having one personality to another within the same scene so many times there is no point in trying to distinguish what their actual motivations are.

But damn, it does look cool doesn't it?

But damn, it does look cool doesn’t it?

So you might be saying why does it matter? This is obviously a stupid movie, why would I expect so much out of it? Well, even stupid movies have to work on some level to be enjoyable and watchable, and I’m telling you even if you’re only watching this movie for the tits you’re going to be dissatisfied. Halfway through I suggested perhaps it might be better to watch the movie in a different language, at least then we could feast our eyes upon the costumes without being distracted by the awful, terrible acting and dialog. Too bad there are no other audio tracks on this disc. This movie did teach me a valuable lesson, though: I used to think that as long as a movie looked cool, it didn’t matter what the plot was, or even if there was one. Alas, Gwendoline has proven me woefully wrong. Sorry, Tawny. Maybe we’ll have better luck next time.

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