REVIEW: PORKY'S / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: BOB CLARK / SCREENPLAY: BOB CLARK / STARRING: DAN MONAHAN, MARK HERRIER, KAKI HUNTER, KIM CATTRALL, WYATT KNIGHT, NANCY PARSONS / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 16TH
With a massive cult following, Bob (Black Christmas) Clark's Porky's films defined a certain era of American filmmaking. By no means was it the first, but almost definitely the best remembered of the fifties-based college sex comedies, which seemed to flourish after the success of films such as George Lucas' American Graffiti (1973) and John Landis' National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). Porky's added the extra elements that audiences wanted: more sex and unabashed nudity.
The story follows a group of college kids pulling the usual pranks and desperately trying to bed anything that moves; particularly Pee Wee (Monahan), who will do anything to lose his virginity. Cue a trip to the titular out-of-state redneck bar, run by the imposingly huge and corrupt Porky (Chuck Mitchell). Tricked and humiliated, the teens decide they must get revenge at all costs. Among this thin 'plot' is essential a series of vignettes of various sexual high jinks - most of which would put the perpetrator in court if tried today - and a sub-plot involving bullying, parental abuse and anti-Semitism, which doesn't lower the mood too much.
At times very funny, its success lies in the vulgar, puerile, and offensive nature of the subject. It's completely un-PC and as mentioned, the behaviour of the gang wouldn't be tolerated these days; however, sexual curiosity is a very natural thing (although we didn't all have peepholes in the girls' shower room) and the females are just as compliant in the antics. Motel Hell star Parsons is formidable as the Nazi-like gym teacher Balbricker, who has a personal vendetta to catch the boys up to no good and features in the most mirthful scenes, to great effect.
While other recent films out-do the outrageousness of the material, Porky's still stands proud as an entertaining example of the genre.
The main cast are relative newcomers, although Cattrall has gone on to bigger things, notably Big Trouble in Little China (1986) and, of course the popular Sex and the City series; although it's hard for those who saw the film on first release to think of her as anyone other than Lassie.
As is the case with Arrow's cult releases, they have packed the disc with some great supplementary features. As well as an entertaining commentary from Clark, there's a short retrospective with the late director talking about all aspects of the film - particularly appealing for those who don't bother with chat tracks. Mr. Skin (who, we believe, runs a popular naughty website of the same name, not that we know of or approve of such things, you understand) provides a broader look at the American teen sex comedy genre of the early eighties, and touches on its resurgence with the American Pie films. It's an interesting look at the films, although it comes from the angle of the groundbreaking nudity rather than artistic merit (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course).
Image wise, the presentation is as would be expected for a relatively low-budget film; while not popping from the screen, there's a definite improvement on the colours and detail, while retaining the grain and ambience of original viewings, although maybe not sharp enough to make out individual hairs. Now, has anyone seen Mike Hunt?
Extras: Audio commentary by writer/director Bob Clark / Porky’s Through the Peephole – Bob Clark looks back at his box-office sensation / Skin Classic! – Mr Skin celebrates Porky’s and the heyday of the '80s teen sex comedy / Porky’s trailer reel / Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jim Rugg / Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, and a previously unpublished interview with director Bob Clark conducted by Calum Waddell, illustrated with archive stills.