Sadly, a waste of Robin’s time and talent. He plays one of a group of American (huh?) youngsters who take a trip to a foggy and abandoned British island only to get killed off by a mysterious person. Was it a girl in their group who’d gone mad? Or was it someone else who’d already been on the island? More people are sent to find out, while the surviving girl is hypnotized into revealing what had happened to her.
Robin looked great as long as he didn’t have to talk. Because his beautiful British voice was dubbed in with THE dorkiest American voice ever! Ugh, I couldn’t stand it. Half of his charm is his real voice. There wasn’t even a REASON why this group had to be American instead of British. Surprisingly enough, I was glad he was killed off early in the film so I didn’t have to put up with this travesty for very long. When, later on, another good-looking longhaired British guy was on the boat back to investigate the island I wondered why Robin couldn’t’ve had HIS role??? At least Robin mentions in his autobiography that this was the film that led to his getting the starring role in “Horror Hospital” so at least something good came from it!
A rather hard to find film, at least here in the U.S. I did find a “region free” DVD copy on Ebay which I snapped up. Region free is important when you’re collecting British films since different countries have different “region” codes for both DVD and VHS. Perhaps you’ve heard of their “PAL” system and our “NTSC” system. Now, I’ve done a little research on the subject and apparently it is easy to convert DVD players into “region free” players simply by typing in the right code. This I still have to try to see if it works.
Back to the movie. Robin stars as British soldier Gordon Laid (get it? Let’s Get “Laid”? hehe) just home from WW2 and looking for some quiet relaxation. Yes, that means this is one of his rare “short hair” movies. That didn’t bother me as much as his voice. Why he was required to speak in an annoying high-pitched tone I have no idea. But then, a lot of the movie is just plain silly like that. The main theme is that he arrives at his apartment building to find a dead body in an open apartment. The place just so happens to belong to his favorite actress, who persuades him to dump the body somewhere. He does, but is seen – well enough to have a likeness drawn up of him for the police, which they plaster the city with. He also happens to pick up what he thinks is a cigarette lighter but is really some top secret device that some bad guys want. He spends the rest of the film trying to evade both the police and the bad guys. And, oh yeah, for no reason at all there will be quite a few fantasy sex scenes tossed in. Robin says himself in his autobiography he doesn’t know why all that was added, as the storyline didn’t really call for it. Now HE wasn’t in many of these scenes, but if you like lots of naked women (most of whom aren’t even in the story) getting it on with each other, then you’re in for a treat with this one! I had to fast forward through this nonsense.
In summation: I was glad to see it once, but too bad I couldn’t’ve just rented it.
The first “confessions” movie I’d ever seen, and regrettably, it was heavily edited for the TNT channel. I still have yet to see the real version! I keep hearing how X-rated these confessions films were and so far I just see them as cute, silly, and just a little bit naughty. Robin plays young, innocent, clumsy Timmy Lea who lives at home with his parents, pregnant sister and her smooth-talking husband Sid who owns a window cleaning business. Timmy goes to work for his brother in law, who introduces him to some of the um…”behind the scenes” benefits of the job. Hapless Timmy finds himself getting seduced by one housewife after another, all the while not getting anywhere with his girlfriend (played by Linda Hayden, his eventual real-life girlfriend up through the ‘80s). Finally she agrees to marry him but is left at the altar when Timmy finds himself accidentally knocked out and loaded into a moving van bound for out of town! Poor Timmy somehow gets back home just in time to find is jilted ex-bride making out with his brother in law!
Heheh, I found this whole film just hilarious. Robin plays this role wonderfully. The humor is so very British. Subtle, wry, intelligent, yet wacky at the same time.
UPDATE: Finally saw the unedited version! Read that review here!
It’s only logical I should review this movie first, as it’s the first Robin Askwith movie I’ve ever seen. What’s not to love about this film? Has everything a bad horror movie needs. A creepy castle which is used as the “hospital” – which I looked up on the internet, apparently it’s some kind of manor museum and park grounds you can rent out for weddings and stuff! If I’d only known! A mad doctor churning out zombies from hippies. An adorably British train and rail station manned by a mysterious stationmaster. A creepy dwarf as the doctor’s sidekick. A pretty mod British girl (Phoebe “Vanessa” Shaw) as the helpless love interest who stands around screaming a lot and waiting to be rescued. I love how, upon meeting on the train, she is at first very standoffish and wary of Robin (“Jason”). After he assures her he won’t be raping her, she turns charming and pours out her entire life story to him!
Robin really shines as the hero in this film, giving us those adorable expressions of confusion, outrage, and terror he’s mastered so well.
I first became aware of the British actor Robin Askwith when I was 12, in 1981. Growing up in L.A., my favorite thing to watch on TV at the time was “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” where a vamped-out Cassandra Peterson would play “Elvira”, showing a super bad horror movie each week and making fun of it during before the commercial breaks.
So, one day I was in my bedroom rearranging my posters of whatever rock group I happened to be into at the time and had Elvira on my TV. This week was a movie called “Horror Hospital” from 1973. I glanced over at it as it started….rock band playing….camera panned over to a disgruntled young longhaired man. My mouth dropped open. He was the perfect combination of Brian Jones and Mick Jagger! I was infatuated from then on.
Elvira would show each movie once on Saturday night at 8pm, then repeat it on Sunday at 4pm. So, I got to see it twice before it faded into memory for me. This was the age of no VCRs or DVDs…no internet. I had no way of finding out if Robin was even in anything else. No one I knew had ever heard of him. So…time went by and life goes on and fanship fades.
Fast forward to the early ‘90s. I happen to be browsing the cable TV listings and see that the TNT channel is showing a couple of movies, with….Robin Askwith listed as being in them! Excitedly I tape them. They were hilarious! “Confessions of a Window Cleaner” and “Confessions of a Driving Instructor”. Little did I know at the time was that these were the series (4 movies in all) he was quite famous for in England. The TNT versions were heavily edited, but apparently the original English versions were pretty naughty. Also in ’89 and ’90 I had made it over to England. My obsession at that point was the early ‘70s glam rock band The Sweet so I concentrated my efforts while over there on searching for Sweet stuff. Although I did ask one shopkeeper if he knew who Robin Askwith was. He kind of gave a smirk and a nod. Hmmm. But he did dig up some photo stills of another “Confessions” movie: “Confessions of a Pop Performer”. Which I put up in my bedroom when I came back home. Once I had a fellow Sweet fan over who was visiting California from Kansas. She is THE only person I’ve ever known who took a look at the photos and said, “Oh look, Robin Askwith!” Seriously, no one in the US seems to know who he is.
Down through the years I did stumble across other bit parts he played. An ex boyfriend of mine loved the movie “If…” and I noticed that a teenaged Robin played one of the schoolboys in it.
So, why am I now, at age 40 (2010), a wife and mother to a 6 year old, being silly enough to decide to try to see every movie Robin has ever made and blog about it? Aargh, I guess I love having a pointless hobby. Everyone needs one. And I think Robin is an amazing actor that doesn’t get nearly the appreciation he deserves. And he doesn’t have a big enough presence on the web! I’ll try to watch (or re-watch!) one of his movies a week and write a little something about it. Hopefully someone out there will find this enjoyable!