Headmaster's Wasp

Date of production: 2002
Length: 83 minutes
Guest Review by Alex Gardner

In "The Headmaster's Wasp", a teacher called Amelia Grimshaw administers corporal punishment to a couple of schoolgirls called Ruth Bottomley and Hilary Smythe. Slightly quaint names like these seem to be one of the minor traditions of English scholastic spanking films and fiction, and "The Headmaster's Wasp" conforms closely to many of the accepted conventions of the genre. To this viewer, much about it therefore appears familiar - even the set and the costumes. I had recently seen the same schoolroom in the Red Stripe's "Just Another Day at St Stripes" and the same purple and black uniforms in Moonglow's "Prefects' Stripes" (along with one of the three actresses). The world of British spanking films is not large.

Familiarity, though, does not necessarily breed contempt. It can also give rise to a sort of easy-going affection. I like this film. It is not the most wildly exciting piece of CP cinema you are ever going to see. There is nothing ground-breaking about it. But it is nicely put together, it lasts a good long time, there is plenty of action, and all four performers are presentable actors.

The central character of the film is Miss Grimshaw. In the first half, she is the spanker; in the second, she becomes the spankee. The part is played by an attractive mature blonde who used to appear in more mainstream erotic films under the name of Stacey Morgan or Stacey Rowe. (As usual with British spanking films, there are no credits.) She may be wearing spectacles and a black academic gown, but the low cut of her blouse alerts us early on to the merits of her figure, and these are later extensively displayed. Her dialogue is fluently delivered, and (to English ears at least) her pronounced Welsh accent adds personality to the role. If her grammar and logic are sometimes a little faulty, this can perhaps be attributed to the heat of the moment. Miss Grimshaw suspects that Bottomley and Smythe (she calls them by their surnames) have cheated in an exam. When they turn up late for detention and show her scant respect, she puts them over her knee for a couple of spankings, the first on their knickers, the second on the bare.

The two naughty pupils are not glamour girls of the synthetic Californian type, but nice, natural-looking young women with full spankable buttocks. Again, accent aids characterization. Smythe is played by an actress sometimes known as Gina Moon (or Jana Moon). Long fair hair, glasses, and a slightly Scandinavian (?) voice are her distinguishing features. Bottomley sounds as if she comes from the West of England; the way in which she inflects some of her lines is pertly comic. A vein of quiet humour runs throughout the film.

Miss Grimshaw finds the evidence of cheating when she picks up a tightly folded piece of paper that has fallen to the floor, having previously been hidden inside Smythe's knickers. (This doesn't really make sense. The time is supposed to be shortly after 10.30 a.m.; the girls have just arrived at school (late); the exam must therefore have taken place the day before; so why does Smythe still have the crib-sheet secreted about her person? Never mind.) The teacher now re-tests the girls with a few spellings and geographical questions. Whenever Smythe gets an answer wrong, Bottomley gets the paddle, and vice-versa. (Again, the logic of this is hard to discern, but it makes for entertaining viewing). Skirts and then blouses are removed in the search for further hidden notes. Since neither girl will own up to having initiated the cheating, Miss Grimshaw proceeds to cane them both. They each receive a total of eighteen strokes. All the punishments are clearly and effectively filmed, though there could have been more facial close-ups.

The second half of the film begins with the headmaster of the school seated at his desk, a man of about sixty (with a suspiciously full head of hair). Mrs Bottomley telephones him to complain about the corporal punishment meted out to her daughter. He is initially puzzled by this, as the only person permitted to inflict physical chastisement is himself. He calls in Miss Grimshaw and rebukes her for exceeding her authority. The headmaster, a stickler for proper procedure, requires that all punishments be recorded in a book and carried out only with an approved regulation cane. Miss Grimshaw's private collection of spanking implements horrifies him. With classic predictability, the errant lady teacher (though unrepentant) opts for corporal punishment herself in preference to dismissal. The headmaster will inflict on her the same amount of CP as she inflicted on the two girls (combined, as far as the spanking and paddling are concerned). A good prolonged hand-spanking ensues, first on the tight seat of Miss Grimshaw's black skirt, then on her white knickers, and then on her bare cheeks. Then come twenty-four strokes of the paddle and eighteen of the cane. The shapely teacher makes an obviously sexy sight in her stockings, suspenders, white basque, and high heels, but the headmaster is not deflected. Throughout the punishment, indeed, the two characters continue to argue about the pros and cons of her conduct and the school's disciplinary policies with a seriousness which is oddly amusing.

Afterwards, the headmaster briefly explains the situation to Bottomley and Smythe, who decide that they do not want to see Miss Grimshaw dismissed. Insistent on the letter of the law, however, he still considers it necessary to give them the correct punishment for their own misdemeanour: six strokes each with his regulation cane. This instrument is presumably the "headmaster's wasp" of the title, though the phrase is never used in the dialogue. So ends a film which, if never especially dramatic, consistently makes very agreeable watching.

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