Director: Pete Walker
Jezebel/Image Entertainment

Before making a name for himself with unique and outrageous horror films (THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW, FRIGHTMARE, HOUSE OF WHIPCORD), Pete Walker dabbled in the British sexploitation market with a handful of cheeky flicks like THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF GRETA and this odd mix of swinging 1960s sexuality and romance gone astray. It’s no great film by any means, but it’s an enjoyable time capsule romp worth checking out.

Butcher delivery boy Joe and gas station attendant-turned-local beauty queen Carol have had it with their small British village life, so decide to drop everything and trek to London to make it big. While Carol has much luck finding work as a model (even if most of it is in the nude), Joe strikes out at the plentiful garages he visits, leaving the two struggling to make ends meet. The couple decides that the best way to make money while waiting for Carol’s modeling to take off is for her to sell her body to strangers on the street, leading to a lucrative gang bang scenario (!) and even the couple appearing together in a porno loop (they’re even recruited by a sleazy-looking guy in a club).

Considering COOL IT CAROL is basically a slightly-plotted updating of “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” it’s surprising that director Pete Walker could actually develop sympathy for his two admittedly quite bobble-headed leads. But the fact that both Carol and Joe are too simple for words doesn’t stop the audience from actually showing interest in their adventures through the bustling big city, especially when they’re desperate for food and money, desperate enough for poor Carol to have sex with a large group of sleazy men so they can buy some dinner. These scenes in particular are very well-done, foreshadowing Walker’s future in horror by setting up uneasy tension through uncomfortable silence and creepy cinematography. This is also one of the earliest films I can think of that uses the “F” word (once). Unfortunately, after the very entertaining escapades of our romantic heroes, the ending is a complete cop-out, and an unlikely scenario, but for British youngsters who were hoping to make it on their own in swinging London, it was probably envisioned as a wise deterrent, sending the message to country bumpkins to stay put. Robin Askwith, a popular youthful actor in many British exploitation films, has no issue with nudity here, but one wonders who would want to see him sans clothing?? He has some key comic moments here, and is a likable leading man. Beautiful Janet Lynn is a wonderfully endearing brunette who isn’t the most accomplished actress, but has no issue losing her top and her casual, youthful approach to sexuality, and wide-eyed enthusiasm as she attempts to further her career, is refreshing good fun. Overall, an enjoyable little curio, with a good number of funny moments, an engaging script and wonderful musical score, and two appealing main characters portrayed by a pair of very good young actors. Definitely worth purchasing!

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of COOL IT CAROL is decent, with great colors and a bright image throughout. However, as with many Image discs, it’s a PAL converted to NTSC transfer, meaning there is a sped-up look to several scenes of motion. The mono audio is very strong during scenes featuring the wonderful brassy musical soundtrack, but just average during dialogue scenes. The sole extra is the theatrical trailer, squeezed and fullscreen.
(Casey Scott)