Fairy Tales

Director: Harry Tampa             
Don Sparks, Sy Richardson, "Professor" Irwin Corey

When I originally reviewed the soft core movie Cinderella, I was pretty sure that it was virtually forgotten today, given the length of time Professor Irwin Corey got the shaft starring in this moviefrom its initial release, having being rated X, and that finding a long out of print videocassette copy of the movie is very hard to do. But since putting up the review, I've been surprised to receive a significant number of letters from people searching for a copy of the movie - for the most part, they are people with fond memories of seeing the movie when they were kids (make of that what you will.) With the knowledge that this movie is more known that I originally thought, some cynics may say that my decision to review the follow-up - Fairy Tales - is nothing but a ploy to possibly increase the number of visitors to my site. Poppycock. I think it's an unknown movie. If I later find out it isn't, I'll admit it, but I'll keep the review up so that all those fans with fond memories of the movie have at least one official review on the Internet to read.

You might be expecting that with a title like Fairy Tales, this follow-up might be a collection of erotic vignettes (kind of how Once Upon A Girl was executed.) That's not how it is though; like Cinderella, it's one long story, though this time around it's not an erotic telling of any familiar fairy tale, just taking the characters from various fairy tales and putting them in a new setting. That's not the only difference this movie has from Cinderella; though Charles Band returned as producer, few of the other people involved with Cinderella return here. We have a different director, as well as different writers and composers, and as for the actors only Sy Richardson and one or two minor actors return.

Newcomer Don Sparks plays the central character this time around, a prince
named ...uh... "Prince", the heir to the throne of ...uh... some country or other. The movie starts with him waking up on his 21st birthday, where he finds out that now he is of age, he has to create an heir to the throne (or just to simply have sex with any woman, with no impregnation necessary - the movie isn't able to make its mind up just how far he has to go.) The problem is that Prince (the one in the movie, not the where-is-he-now musician) can't find a woman that stirs up the royal blood - except for the long-lost Sleeping Beauty, whose portrait he is attracted to. Learning that he has to have sex and possibly impregnate some woman within in a few days (for reasons never explained) or be forced to forfeit the throne, he sets out on a quest to find and have sex with Sleeping Beauty.

If you're thinking that this premise sounds awfully thin, you're right. In fact, after this Sy Richardson shows that pimp fashions haven't changed in several hundred yearspoint on, subsequent scenes either consist of Prince making yet another failed attempt to get laid, or showing us subplots concerning other characters. Actually, they can't really be called subplots, since not only do these characters have no bearing on the Prince or what he is trying to do, they don't even serve any purpose for themselves, having no kind of story in them at all. For example, one long sequence has someone being given a long tour of the various delights to be had for a price in The Old Lady's shoe (which in this telling is a brothel.) There is also a lot of time devoted to the character of King Cole (Bob Leslie), such as one scene where he sits through a long strip number. None of these sequence have any story to them; they are simply desperate attempts to force humor and/or eroticism into the movie, but end up slowing the movie down. Cinderella may have had a number of scenes that went on too long, but at least most of them did advance the plot to one degree or another.

Saddled with such a limited script, it's a wonder that some of the actors even try at all, though even then you get a sense that they aren't performing with full enthusiasm. Not only have they been saddled with characters and situations that have little point to them, they also have lines of dialogue that fall flat for the most part, ranging from lame one-liners ("No, I have a jester - he does all my fooling around") to unimaginative exchanges that include the following:

Bo Peep: What's the matter - can't you come?
Prince: Where are you going?

With material like that, you can't really blame the cast for not coming across well for the most part. All Leslie can do to raise a laugh is make some amusing facial expressions during the strip number. Sparks comes across even worse; in fact, even if the script was better, he'd still be hopelessly miscast. He has no charisma, with his forgettable performance coming across so unroyal-like, so bland, that it's hard to even remember what he looks like after the movie is over. Still, there are two performances worthy of some note. Though Richardson does seem to be bored at times in his role of Cyrus The Pimp (all he's limited in doing is giving advice to the Prince), he manages to give his dialogue some sparkle, even when it's a line like, "Hey you, Prince with the sex problem!" Another performer who adds some color is Robert Staats as Tommy Tucker, the doorman for The Old Lady. He's well cast as a fast-talking salesman-type who entices passing people to come inside. ("Ever hear of Little Red Riding Hood? Tonight you get to ride her!")

Fairy Tales aims to be like Cinderella in some aspects, not just in attempting to deliver erotic moments, but also by staging bawdy musical numbers. When I initially reviewed Cinderella, I didn't find its eroticism Well, I'm glad *someone* is having funto be that effective overall, and the musical numbers were extremely mixed. However, I am seriously considering changing my opinions about the presentation of said  material, since they look absolutely high class compared to how the same things are presented in Fairy Tales. Starting with the sexier moments - well, that may be kind of a misnomer. Not only are the so-called erotic moments in Fairy Tales not that erotic, believe it or not there are not that many attempts to even try to do something erotic. The movie seems so busy bringing in all those redundant characters and situations that I previously mentioned, it seems it had very little time left over to thrown in sex and nudity. Most of the sex and nudity is of the peek-a-boo variety. Even when they bother to show a little more, it falls flat. There is no fun to these sequences, no sign anyone was trying to be a little sexy or energetic. Even in the one sequence (an orgy inside the shoe) when the movie almost crosses into hard-core porn territory fails to entertain, because the device used to bring it into the movie comes via a contrived subplot where The Old Lady lets Peeping Tom look through the keyhole of the orgy room door. The movie subsequently builds a real sense of desperation when the second half of the movie constantly cuts back to Peeping Tom and the orgy, as if the movie is admitting it can only think of this technique to bring in more sex and nudity.

The musical numbers attempt to duplicate the memorable and witty songs found in Cinderella, but you won't find yourself afterwards humming almost all of these songs like you did with "The Snapper" or "I'm Gonna Grab It". Once again, the songs are staged in several styles; for example, one number in a S&M dungeon is performed in the style of The Andrews Sisters (except that T.A.S. kept their clothes on.) While numbers such as this had the opportunity to do some amusing juxtaposition, there is no effort in the lyrics to mine this for wit, simply instead singing to the effect of "I/We/Let's have sex" - and nothing more. The songs come across worse than they would have ordinarily, because of the fact that many of the singers simply can't sing; the Little Bo Peep actress is so awful, I could barely understand half of what she sung.

Strangely, the one good song in the movie - "You'll Feel The Magic In Me" - isn't intended to be comic at all. A disco number, it is Linnea Quigley, in her first role, manages the awesome acting challenge of playing Sleeping Beautysurprisingly catchy, and had it been released on radio during the period it most likely would have made it into the top 40. Though like the other musical numbers of the movie, it suffers from being poorly staged. The choreography and direction of these musical numbers - which wasn't so hot the first time around - is even more lazy and passionless here. I found that each musical number was more or less executed in one of two ways - three or four camera angles that framed only the actors' head and shoulders in the frame, or else lengthy shots taken further away, where the actors stand in one spot, occasionally dancing (more like shuffling) side to side a little. Perhaps the director didn't want the actors to move around too much and risk breaking through the obvious cardboard and canvas walls on the tacky sets that even high school play set dressers would be embarrassed to see. They don't just look cheap - they are dreary to the eye, and they add yet  another note of that "Who cares?" feeling that constantly rings out during the entire eighty or so minutes. Even before reaching the twenty minute mark of that running time, I had finally learned after all these years just exactly what it was that put Sleeping Beauty into such a deep coma.

Check for availability on Amazon (Blu-Ray)

See also: The Apple, Cinderella, Once Upon A Girl