HOUSE OF WHIPCORD
Dir: Pete Walker
Starring: Barbara Markham, Patrick Barr, Ray Brooks, Ann Michelle, Sheila Keith
So in my voracious search to find more celluloid weirdness, I found myself stumbling over the oeuvre of one Pete Walker. Weaned on Hammer Horror and feeling that they were horror for the older, more conservative generation, Mr. Walker proceeded to go forth and create a collection of shock horror that earned him the title of Britain’s Baron Of Brutality. I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to the demented and the strange, but I chose HOUSE OF WHIPCORD since I’m always on the lookout for something with sex and violence.
The film opens with a young woman running naked down the road. (If that’s not a good set up, I don’t know what is.) We learn that she’s a French model named Anne-Marie DeVarnet (Penny Irving) who eventually attends a party where her scamp of a boyfriend shows photos from her earlier ordeal. Humiliated by his insensitivity, she takes off with another party-goer, Mark D. Sate (cute wordplay, Walker), to his quaint country estate to meet his mother. Mama just *happens* to be a highly sadistic ex-matron at a women’s prison who is responsible for the torture and deaths of inmates. The estate now serves as her makeshift prison where Mom doles out punishment and upon earning three demerits, the offender is executed.
I won’t lie, not since watching Dyanne Thorne in ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS have I seen a woman wielding a whip with such sadistic pleasure. Walker’s whole tone of this film feels like a commentary on extreme right-wing oppression and its dangers, which is rather interesting, considering the caveat at the beginning of the film, “This film is dedicated to those who are disturbed by today’s lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment,” which gives the whole thing something of an ironic tone. This fits in with a larger number of films of the era that start out with either a) an inexplicable orgy or b) a random naked girl running around during the opening credits, such as CONFESSIONS OF A PSYCHO CAT and BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL. But unlike the many of the American roughie counterparts, there is a viciousness in the violence that became Walker’s trademark in filmmaking.
Media Blasters/Shriek Show have put out a collection of Walker’s works, so I may need to take a Gravol to settle my stomach and further dive into the work and mind of this artistic sicko…
Little Miss Risk
Check out all of Little Miss Risk’s previous journeys into the wild and the wicked here!
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