Cinderella (1977): the Nerfed Llamas Review – Snap, Crackle, and Pop…
The first week of May is drawing to a close, but Full Moon Features month is just starting up! If you haven’t checked out the overview for this wonderfully themed month, please click the following link and return there throughout the month for any updates: 2nd Annual: May is Officially Full Moon Features Month at Nerfed Llamas! How do you follow up a sci-fi western action comedy and a period piece erotic horror movie… why with a sexy fantasy musical based on the beloved tale of Cinderella.
What is Cinderella (1977): Well, I can tell you one thing… this ain’t your grandma’s Cinderella! If you know the basic tale of Cinderella (handmaiden that is turned into a princess by being chosen at a Royal Ball by the Prince), then you know what to expect here. The basic story is more-or-less the same, but there is a twist. The main conceit of this version of Cinderella does not rely on a glass slipper, oh no sirree that would be too mundane. In the Full Moon version of the Cinderella story, the chosen princess has been granted by a Fairy Godmother, and I couldn’t make this up if I tried, a magical “snapper” vagina. Apparently, the snapping action feels so good during intercourse that it makes the love making always exciting, which means true love, naturally! Only in low budget Hollywood folks. Also, there’s lots of singing. Filmed and released in 1977, Cinderella (aka the Other Cinderella) was written by Frank Ray Perilli (Alligator, Steal Big Steal Little), produced by Charles Band (creator of Full Moon Features), and directed by Michael Pataki (Mansion of the Doomed). Cinderalla starred Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith (Caged Heat, Laserblast), Yana Nirvana (Brewster’s Millions, Another 48 Hours), Marylin Corwin (Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Doctor Detroit), Sy Richardson (Repo Man, Colors), Kirk Scott (Heathers, End of the World), Pamela Stonebrook (Best Defense, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back), and Boris Moris & Brett Smiley in their only filmed appearances as the King and the Prince respectively.
What I liked about Cinderella: Oddly enough, the thing that I like about Cinderella is that against all odds… it actually works. It’s a really fun movie with singing, dancing, innuendo laden comedy, and more sex than you could possibly ever want in a movie. Seriously, this is a thoroughly adult affair, so please keep the kiddos far away from this one. There is so much that could go wrong with this movie, and yet it didn’t. That alone is a testament to how much time and effort was put into making this movie something special. This is a reoccurring theme in Full Moon Features, a seemingly thin premise is produced into a film that is somehow better than expected. There is an extra attention to detail in many of the Full Moon films that is missing in many other low budget production companies.
The music is quite clever as well. I won’t pretend that it was Rodgers & Hammerstein quality work, but it has an almost Monty Python like quality to it. There is a lot of humor in the lyrics, both subtle and direct. Nothing is sacred, as most topics of sex and intercourse are sung about in as many phrases as you could colorfully describe the acts without outright crudely saying them. I would be willing to wager that more time was spent cultivating the lyrics than on the actual script. The arrangements are well put together and float from pop, to standard, and to disco with relative ease. You won’t be singing these songs after you finish the film, but you will likely be giggling throughout their performances.
The sets and wardrobe look far more lavish than what the films budget likely was. The Royal Ball in particular was a lovely venue, and the fancy costumes on display were exceptionally put together. Most of the locations feel very medievil and match the unique location’s needs: elegant for the royals, nice for the upper class, and worn down for the commoners. There is a sort of sexy functionality to most of the wardrobe as well. This rendition of Cinderella relies heavily on T&A, and the costumes seem to have a magical quality to sort of melt away when needed… especially during musical sequences. A lot of the wardrobe, when not going for absolute period correct, is heavily steeped towards sexy. If that is your type of thing, then you will be right at home with this film. Brawny men are shirtless, commoner girls have low cut cleavage tops that always seem to slip a nipple out here and there, and some costumes are even sheer. This film was designed to be part musical comedy and part titillating steam for late night adult viewing, and both aspects work well primarily because of the terrific costumes.
Also, Cinderella is very progressive in terms of cross-dressing and acceptance of it. Cinderella’s “Fairy God Mother,” is in fact a very masculine black male, hilariously performed by Sy Richardson. Richardson knows when to change the tone and the pattern of his speech to better sell the character to the audience. Some times he is dainty, other times silly, and then he sounds like a man straight off the streets. It brings a wonderful sense of depth to this bizarre character. On top of that, Cinderella’s reactions to him are very at ease and natural. The fact that he is a grown man in drag really doesn’t bother her all that much, and this was way before LGBTQ acceptance was as evolved as it is now.
What could go either way with Cinderella depending on your personal preference: The sex and nudity. Some of it is silly fun. Some of it has not aged well by today’s more respectful standards in regards to women. And some of it is just a bit overkill. There is a lot of bumping and grinding in this flick, all tame and soft-core… but it’s still there in mass quantities. Myself personally, I didn’t mind the endless barrage of naked people, for the most part it was fun and sexy enough, but for some it may be a touch much. I imagine this film was quite the conversation piece back in the late 70’s.
What I didn’t like about Cinderella: This film is absurd, almost to a fault, which is not always a good thing. Even the best “over-the-top” comedies are able to make you care about the characters by giving them tiny compelling moments. This is the major place where Cinderella falters. There isn’t a genuine moment where you feel invested in the character of Cinderella. Sure she has it crappy, just like every other version of Cinderella, but in most other renditions there are the moments when you get to see how good and decent the character is. That never happens in this movie. She sings about her hard luck, but all while she is spinning the wheels of a device that is essentially powering up vibrators (again, I can’t make these kind of things up) for her mean step-sisters. There needed to be a moment that we wanted to see Cinderella win because she deserved it… instead we got a heroine who luckily found a thief with a magic wand that gave her a fancy dress and a “snapper!” It’s all belly laugh funny, but it never humanizes the title character like you hoped it would. Most of the other characters are not redeemable in any way, shape, or form as they are mainly there to help spread the debauchery. I’m all for a sexy comedy, but somebody ought to be the respectable one. Nope, pretty much everyone is having sex or wanting sex at all times in this flick. It doesn’t derail the film, but it does feel like a huge missed opportunity.
Also, the copy that I watched on Full Moon’s streaming site was not the best resolution. There is a lot of grain, artifacting, and blemishes on this transfer. Having seen how much they cleaned up the video for Trancers and Doctor Mordrid on Blu-Ray, it is clear that Cinderella could be vastly improved with a full HD remaster.
Bottom Line: Cinderella is good naughty fun. It’s the kind of movie you watch just for the sheer spectacle of it all. Where else can you see a full production musical with this much innuendo and nudity? Cinderella is aiming to be your one stop for erotic musicals, and it hits the mark with sensual efficiency. The nudity and sex can be a touch over-the-top, but it is all in line with the film’s mission statement. This will either work for you, or it won’t. It’s a matter of personal preference. If you decide to dive in, you will be rewarded with a once in a lifetime movie experience. I guarantee you this: there is nothing else quite like Cinderella (1977) on the market. You can watch Cinderella on Full Moon’s Streaming service, or purchase it on DVD from the Full Moon Direct online store.
For a magically musical sense of wanderlust, check out the trailer for Cinderella (1977) and see if a Royal orgy is in your future…