Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1970)

Genre: Horror/Black Comedy

British film director Freddie Francis has been responsible for some of the best British horror movies of the 60’s and 70’s, notably Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Tales from the Crypt (1972) and The Creeping Flesh (1973) as well as an assortment of episodes for cult TV shows.

One lesser known film of his is Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly or the shorter Girly as it is known in US.

The film follows a very British, but very strange family, who are all role-playing at being the perfect family, minus the father. The teenage son and daughter characters, Sonny (Howard Trevor) and Girly (Vanessa Howard), play at being much younger than they really are by singing nursery rhymes, playing games and sleeping in giant baby cots. The mother, known as Mumsy (Ursula Howells), with the help of Nanny (Pat Heywood) mollycoddle these two over-grown infants.

There is also a strange relationship between Mumsy and Nanny as Nanny sleeps at the foot of Mumsy's bed.

Apart from this family being very strange, all should be well except there is a sinister nature to their role-playing. It’s not just that Girly likes to tear the limbs off her baby dolls, but they like to have a “friend” to come and join them in their warped games.
Girly, Sonny and New Friend

So where do they find their new “friends”? …In the local park!

Picking-up homeless down-and-outs, they tempt them back to the family’s stately home with the promise of booze and maybe more from the flirtatious Girly.

Once back at their home these men are made to take part in the family role-plays and even though they protest, they must dress as school boys and act as children. Once their usefulness has ended, they are “sent to the angels”.

Mumsy starts to become bored of using down-and-outs, so advises Sonny and Girly to find someone better. This leads the two demented adolescents to pick-up New Friend (Michael Bryant), but first they must dispose of his wife.

Now you would think that New Friend would be panicking - what with his wife murdered and also the threats and violence from the games, but New Friend has other ideas. He first seduces Mumsy and it isn’t long before he also seduces Girly. This is her first sexual experience with a man and it momentarily distracts her from her role-play and makes her normal for a few minutes.

Tensions rise when Nanny becomes jealous of the other two receiving all the affections of New Friend and isn't long before Sonny discovers his sister’s secret. Sonny then propositions that New Friend must now be “sent to the angels”.

This is a great film. It is so weird. The whole time the family never breakout of their role-play and continually speak in baby talk and rhyme. Only momentarily does Girly become her true age after she looses her virginity to New Friend.

Michael Bryant is great as New Friend. A man of little principle, who even when in a precarious situation as this, thinks only of satisfying his sexual needs. But he is clever because with this, he knows that he has power over the women in the group.

Vanessa Howard is good as Girly – one minute dancing around singing rhymes, the next seductively seducing and teasing their “friend”.

As a side note, Venessa Howard is maybe familiar to those who have seen the excellent Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968) where she played the character Audrey. She cut short a relatively promising acting career sighting one of the reasons being how Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly and What Became of Jack and Jill? (1972) had disappeared without trace. She ended up marrying Hollywood Mogul Robert Chartoff and now lives in Beverly Hills.

The copy I watched was from a bootleg video, so the quality wasn't too good, but I see the film has just been released on DVD.

If you like demented British horror with a twist of back humour, then you will love Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly.

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