Produced and directed by Stuart Urban
in 1997, Preaching to the Perverted - or Preaching
as its affectionately nicknamed by its cult followers
, is an 'acclaimed and controversial
British cult film
, and is a fast paced excursion through London
's sexual underground
'. Filmed on location in a journey through the underground S&M
clubs of London
), the film is classified as an 'erotic black comedy
' - and certainly lives up to its name! Preaching takes a lighthearted look at the diverse sexualities
s, and sexual preferences
of humankind, challenges the social preconceptions
and 'sexual freaks
', and attempts to change society's outlook on sexuality and personal freedom
"I am attempting in this film to present a view of the world and sexual relationships unencumbered by adherence to political orthodoxy of any persuasion, political correctness or conventional dogmatism. Instead, the film's world is presented in a stylised way, fortified by irony and robust humour: sometimes black, sometimes bawdy. I have no idea what people will say but they won't have seen many films quite like this one. The audience will be engulfed by a heightened reality and concepts of surreal humour - the recumbent cat on the Scotland Yard sign, the organ in the House of Commons chapel that segues into the sleazy electric organ on the soundtrack of the shocking bestiality video that Harding 'forces' himself to watch."
Stuart Urban, Directors Comments, 1997
Immerse in the perverse...
Employed by a party of moral crusaders in Parliament, the 'United Front Opposing Filth', as a young infiltrator, Peter (Christien Anholt), is despatched to gather evidence for a private prosecution against fetish clubs operating all over Britain, where many of the consensual activities are classed as being illegal. From Peter's background as a virginal employee of the Holy Hardware computer company, whose motto is 'Log On To The Lord!', he is thrust into the sex-glamour-shock of the big fetish clubs and parties of underground London. Beautiful girls and handsome chaps are there in abundance, and every one of them is performing wicked acts and deeds! The Member of Parliament, Henry Harding (Tom Bell), for whom Peter works, is delighted at the incriminatory evidence his protégé soon gathers against the clubs, and in particular, against the dominatrix leader of the scene, Tanya Cheex (Guinevere Turner).
After his involvement in the fetish scene, and while gathering evidence for Harding's court case through his 'Sneaky Beaky' spy camera, Peter soon finds himself becoming infatuated with Cheex - Mistress of London's underground S&M scene, sex goddess from New York, and leader of the fetish club scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Acknowledging his feelings towards Mistress Cheex, Peter tries to convince her to calm down her acts; become 'normal' and avoid going to jail. Cheex, however, has no intention of changing her lifestyle, and wants Peter to open his mind to the 'not so conventional' areas of sexuality and sexual practices. In other words, 'pervert' him.
Peter is trapped in a moral dilemma of whether to give evidence in court against the woman who both attracts and repels him, and wants desperately to have a conventional relationship with Cheex. Unfortunately for Peter, Cheex will never allow a mere man the pleasure of 'vanilla' sex, and often requests the 'services' of Eugenie (Julie Graham), her right-hand woman, lesbian slave and chauffer to fulfil her desires. Peter is made to 'sit, watch and learn'.
Throughout the film, Peter regularly reports back to Harding with the newly acquired evidence, and eventually figures out that both Harding and his secretary, Miss Wilderspin (Georgina Hale) are not as innocent as they would like others to believe. Before undertaking the role of a political career, Harding was headmaster of a private boys' school - Miss Wilderspin was again his secretary. Putting two and two together, Peter finally realises that both Harding and Wilderspin were getting their own perverse, sexual pleasures from caning the students. The perversions of the 'morally correct' Harding and Wilderspin are confirmed when, one evening during the court case, Peter finds Wilderspin watching and thoroughly enjoying every minute of the footage he'd filmed.
When Cheex is forced into court by Harding, Peter has to make a decision concerning where is loyalties will fall. He gives evidence against Cheex and her crusade of immoral deeds, but is torn as to whether to continue and lose the woman he loves, or back down and risk contempt of court. When he finally gets a chance to talk to Cheex, he once again pleads with her to reconsider her lifestyle. Cheex simply replies 'Preaching to the Perverted now, are you Peter? If I remember, your dick got pretty stiff on more than one occasion!' Peter must ultimately make the decision of where his loyalties will fall.
"Peter's journey as an innocent abroad is presented in an amusing, upbeat and stylised way. Although some of the events portrayed in these clubs really do happen, this film is far removed from the traditional realism of British cinema."Stuart Urban, Directors Comments, 1997
The soundtrack from the film has also been released, 'exposing the last bastion of club culture to the big screen'. Comprising of a mixture of styles from contemporary British House, Techno and Drum n' Bass, humorous audio soundbites from the film, and the original film score written by Magnus and Maya Fiennes, the soundtrack takes the listener on a musical journey through not only the film, but also the clubs of the London scene.
"Preaching to the Perverted is not only a boss film but it also serves up a soundtrack to end 'em all" Muzik Magazine, "Film and Soundtrack of the month"