The legendary Charles Band had already been producing low budget genre fare by the time he decided to make Adult Fairy Tales (simply Fairy Tales in the US, and the title used on this HD print). By the late seventies, there was a strange phase of making saucy musical interpretations of otherwise innocent stories. Band himself had already released his version of Cinderella (1977), which was enough of a success to move onto the other fairy tale characters.
It’s the twenty-first birthday of the Prince (Sparks), and as a way of celebrating, his advisors provide a nice nubile young woman to ‘service’ him and pop his cherry. Unfortunately, he can’t rise to the occasion and reveals that the only person that does it for him is the princess in the portrait in his room. And here’s the rub: she’s been missing for several years. He’s told that without the wherewithal to produce an heir, he will lose his claim to the throne and all that goes with it. Within days!
So he sets off on a quest to either find the princess or cure himself of his affliction, and along the way meets all manner of famous characters from children’s storybooks. All of whom seem more than happy to drop everything to try to help him (particularly Little Bo Peep, who just can’t seem to keep those damn sheep in her sights).
He’s recommended to visit Gussie Gander (Fogarty, who starred in the 1975 exploitation classic Trip With the Teacher) at her large shoe of disrepute. Gander and her pimp (that’s ‘Person for the Improvement of Men’s pee-pee Problems’) Sirus (Richardson, the coroner in Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies series) try everything they can to help the Prince get aroused, including (for a hefty price) even letting him into the locked room at the top of the shoe.
No doubt this seemed like a good idea at the time, and following the explosion of hard-core sex movies in the US in the early seventies (and the subsequent clampdown), making a bawdy musical may well have been a way to get bums on seats. However, watching forty years on, the result is quite painful. None of the musical numbers neither work or nor are memorable - not even the one sung by Motown queen Martha Reeves (yes, of the Vandellas fame!). Worst still, the jokes are not funny enough to raise a smile let alone anything else. While UK comedies such as those made under the Carry On and Confessions banners still amuse today, this ribald vaudevillian take on kid’s stories just doesn’t translate. Whether it’s because it’s ‘too American’ is debatable, and there’s no denying the fun of seeing such a large amount of (female) flesh on show, the bottom line is it just feels too forced.
Perhaps of interest to some horror fans is the first film appearance from scream queen Linnea Quigley. Although after finding out in the commentary that she lied about her age at the time and was only sixteen, it’s an appearance that leaves one feeling more than a little uncomfortable.
The HD transfer makes the most of the widescreen image (shot by the now-highly regarded Daniel Pearl, whose debut The Texas Chain Saw Massacre you may have heard of), but as the majority of the scenes were filmed on a soundstage, it’s kind of redundant. It is, however, the longer 'director's cut' that sees almost ten minutes of extra naked cavorting reinserted. As for the extras, all we get are a trailer and said commentary from producer Charles Band and writer Frank Ray Perilli, which is actually much more entertaining than watching the film alone.
Sadly, and tragically for a sex comedy, Adult Fairy Tales fails to raise anything, not even a titter.
ADULT FAIRY TALES (1978) / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: HARRY HURWITZ / SCREENPLAY: FRANK RAY PERILLI, FRANNE SCHACHT / STARRING: DON SPARKS, SY RICHARDSON, IRWIN COREY, ROBERT STAATS, BRENDA FOGARTY, LINNEA QUIGLEY / RELEASE DATE: MAY 14TH