The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak (1984)

This film has grown into a real cult classic and one of the reasons is the difficulty finding a copy to view. Story is about a young and beautiful damsel in distress named Gwendoline (Tawny Kitaen) who along with her maid Beth (Zabou) ships herself in a crate to China in search of her Professor father who has disappeared. She gets into trouble with the local Chinese mafia but is saved by the sweaty sailor named Willard (Brent Huff) and she convinces him with $2,000 to help her find her father who was last scene going to the legendary land of “Yik-Yak” chasing after a rare black butterfly.

Gwendoline learns that her father was killed but she is determined to find the butterfly which she wants to name after him. The three of them travel by boat and after encountering pirates they head down river and end up hacking their way through a jungle on foot and finally they are forced to trek through the desert. They are almost killed by some natives but escape and reach “Yik-Yak” but find an underground civilization run by Amazonian women in leather. They get caught and the Queen (Bernadette Lafont) has plans for them which will result in their deaths so they must figure out how they can escape.

This film was written and directed by Just Jaeckin who was also responsible for the first “Emmanuelle” film and “The Story of O” and here he creates one of the cheesiest adventure films ever and it’s loaded with images of B&D. This is based on the illustrated stories by John Willie in the 1940’s and that also had Gwendoline frequently being tied up. Those of you into the B&D scene will especially enjoy the chariot scene where they are being pulled by topless female slaves adorned with leather! Part of this film was made in the Philippines and maybe Morocco but the scenes that are suppose to be China are easily shot on a soundstage. This film presents the worst job of dubbing since those “Godzilla” movies came out in the 50’s and 60’s. Most of the time their mouths are saying one thing but the words being spoken don’t match. There isn’t much acting going on and Huff sweats continuously from his appearance until the very end. In fact, all the actors sweat through this film and I’m sure they could all tell stories about the horrid working conditions. As much as I love Kitaen (And I do) she isn’t given much to do here except find herself in various states of being topless (Thank you God!) but from an exploitation level this is part of the charm of this low budget and sleazy film. At one point in the film it starts to rain and Huff yells “It’s raining, take your clothes off”. Is this terrible? Of course. Is it watchable? Yep, And for the reasons I just mentioned and one can’t help but be fascinated by something like this. If your into cheesy exploitation films than you probably already know about this cult classic.