Monday, June 1, 2009

An analysis of the Poison Ivy movies. Yes, they deserve one.

The "Poison Ivy" franchise has, if nothing else, been remembered as the one that got soon-to-be-famous actresses out of their clothes and simulating sex with male co-stars much older than them. Drew Barrymore was the first to do it at just 17. The first "Poison Ivy" came out in 1992, around the same time as other sexy movies like "Basic Instinct", "Body Of Evidence" and "Sliver" hit the big screen. There really wasn't all that much to it, other than the future "Charlie's Angels" movie star pushing former "Charlie's Angels" TV star Cheryl Ladd off the balcony. Oh yeah, and 17-year-old Drew simulating sex with 59-year-old Tom Skerritt. Ew. And don't think I'm spoiling anything, because you've had 17 bloody years in which to watch the thing!

"Poison Ivy 2: Lily" popped up a few years later, this time going direct-to-video. Alyssa Milano was post "Who's The Boss?" and pre "Charmed". She was trying to ditch her goody-goody image and had also just completed "Embrace Of The Vampire", a nudie classic that also starred Martin Kemp from 80's rock band Spandau Ballet and - wait for it - Cheryl Ladd's daughter Jordan! "Poison Ivy 2: Lily" was only vaguely linked to the original, as Alyssa finds Ivy's diary and lets it lead her on a journey of sexual discovery, including simulating sex with a pre-fame Jonathan Schaech. Or something. The movie was a heap of shit and I can't remember much of it. If you're after some Milano mammaries, "Embrace Of The Vampire" is the much better movie anyway, plus it includes a foursome.

"Poison Ivy 3" I cannot comment on, because I'm pretty sure the bloody thing hasn't even been released in Australia. Because believe me, if it had, I would have seen it already. Any movie title with a numeral after it, I've generally seen. Anyway, part 3 was the movie debut of Jaime Pressly, who's now winning awards (and deservedly so) for her role as Joy in TV's "My Name Is Earl". Some research on the trusty Internet Movie Database tells me she played Violet, apparently the younger sister of Ivy. She seduces Greg Vaughan, who would later be a regular on TV's "Charmed" and Michael Des Barres from 80's rock band Animotion. My God, the coincidences just don't stop!!!

The reason for this brief history? I was lucky enough last night to sit through "Poison Ivy 4: The Secret Society". Now other than the flower motif, there's no connection to the previous films. If anything, this should have been called "The Skulls 4", because it far more resembles those movies. Except with a lot more tits. This time around, naive Daisy (Miriam McDonald), fresh from the farm, arrives at University and because she is so attractive and smart, immediately attracts the attention of Azalea (Shawna Waldron), head of The Ivies, the secret society of the title. Except they're not so secret, because everybody knows about them. Azalea actually sees Daisy as a threat to securing some internship, and is simply following that old adage of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Azalea desperately wants that internship, not to mention some better grades, and does the usual sex trades in her attempts to score them, then resorting to murder when the sex doesn't work. She tries to frame Daisy for all her bad deeds. Daisy, despite being told that The Ivies are all-powerful and have been for decades and simply can't be stopped - achieves just that by simply recording Azalea's confession on a cassette tape. Wow. Pure genius.

This movie, unsurprisingly, was shit. Pathetic plot, pathetic dialogue and pathetic sex scenes. The Internet has some mild buzz about the movie, as star Miriam McDonald is one of the leads on TV's "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (which I've never watched), and she gets her boobs out a couple of times here. Although it's not her fault, I hated the character. At the start of the film she tells her boyfriend she's not ready for sex, but once she's at university, she gives it up to the first greasy, unattractive poon-hound who looks at her twice. It's hard to like a film when your main character is a complete wet blanket. No wonder her idea to bring down The Ivies was something an untrained monkey could have conceived.

Co-star Shawna Waldron was a child star back in the mid-90s and also goes topless, but she's the far better actress. She plays the murderous vixen well, conveying both sexiness and menace. Considering that what was on the written page was utter garbage, that's quite an achievement. Should she go onto bigger things (and she deserves to), the "Poison Ivy" franchise's legacy of undressing future stars will be maintained and all will be right with the world.

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