Alpha Blue Archives is essentially the all-hardcore equivalent of Something Weird Video. Dedicated to preserving out of print or never-available adult films from the Golden era, ABA has issued a number of discs dedicated to "big tit stars" (Rene Bond, Candy Samples, Little Oral Annie, Kay Parker, Lisa de Leeuw, Uschi Digart, Seka, Desiree Cousteau, Annie Sprinkle, and many more), unsung porno superstars (Andrea True, Lysa Thatcher, Serena, Rhonda Jo Petty, Shauna Grant, Aunt Peg, Loni Sanders, Linda Lovelace, Colleen Brennan, Annette Haven, the list goes on), sadistic loops and scenes from the 1970s and 1980s, and multiple-disc boxed sets collecting the films of Avon Studios and rare underground S&M and satanic sex relics. Following up on their previous wave of 10 feature film discs, Alpha Blue has released 10 more feature-length Golden Age classics on DVD. Not all 10 are worth purchasing, but read on to check out which ones you need to add your collection.
SOMETIME SWEET SUSAN (1974)
Director: Fred Donaldson
The most historically important film of the collection, SOMETIME SWEET SUSAN was the first SAG-approved adult film. Writer/director/editor Fred Donaldson never did another film, or at least the name never appeared on another film (this was probably a pseudonym used by a mainstream director). With a dream cast, including Harry Reems, Neil Flanagan (Andy Milligan’s favorite actor), Alex Mann, and Jamie Gillis, as well as two-shot wonder Shawn Harris, SWEET SUSAN is also one of the great porno chic hits from 1974. Unfortunately, the disc I received of this film simply did not play correctly on any of my players. I could view a couple seconds of each chapter until the disc locked up and I had to restart the several machines I attempted to view the disc on. I will try to get a replacement disc and add my stand-alone review to my blog on MySpace.
MIDNIGHT HUSTLE (1975)
Director: Steve Brown
Here’s a strange one: shot in California with the usual cast of horny studs and one-shot ladies, this barely-feature-length obscurity has some interesting moments and scorching sex scenes, but don’t expect anything better than a cheap fuck film.
An erotic opening scene, intercutting a surgery-room orgy with a different couple making it, with impressive oral and penetration photography, prepares the audience for MIDNIGHT HUSTLE. Why? Who knows! The film continues with two high school girls, Lisa and Connie, growing tired of their immature boyfriends and venturing into the big city to find some older men to treat them right. Their beaus get suspicious, and follow the ladies as they squeeze into sexy outfits and stalk the streets for male prey.
This thoroughly average film is an easy one to skip; as a matter of fact, there’s so little to say about it that I am left grasping for something to enthuse about. The one interesting sex scene finds the girls tag-teaming an army man they pick up. Other than that, MIDNIGHT HUSTLE is a waste of time. Rumor has it that director Steve Brown is actually Summer Brown, the female half of the Summer & Edwin Brown team that created such couples favorites as IRRESISTIBLE, EVERY WOMAN HAS A FANTASY, and 1001 EROTIC NIGHTS (as well as the gory horror cheapies HUMAN EXPERIMENTS and THE PREY).
There is a truth to the old saying that in porn, the girls change, but the men stay the same. That’s why none of the women in this one stayed in the business long enough to make a mark, while five male cast members will be immediately recognizable for their longevity in the California end of the industry. Muscular Tyler Reynolds (ULTRA FLESH) appears in the opening surgery room sex scene, and his scene is intercut with mustachioed stud Ken Scudder sharing a scene with a fair-haired no-name beauty. Before becoming a polarizing director with films like VIRGINIA and TEN LITTLE MAIDENS, balding stud John Seeman always delivered solid sexual performances. His most memorable performance was as the chauffeur in DESIRES WITHIN YOUNG GIRLS, but fans will also remember him from HARDGORE, ULTRA FLESH, EXPENSIVE TASTES, and countless other California classics. His sex scene here, as an officer named Private Parts picked up by the two horny high school honies, is typically hot. Jon Martin appears in a non-sex role as Bill, the horny high school kid. Mustachioed Turk Lyon invades both girls’ “virgin assholes”, as he so beautifully puts it.
A bonus film, THE MIDNIGHT HUSTLER, is an early 1970s relic with lovely blonde starlet Sandy Carey. This ugly cheapie, filled with gynelogical close-ups and muddy photography, can’t even be saved by Ms. Carey, usually the best thing about these weekend wonders. She truly deserved to be in better films. Taken from a battered print with dark color, the sound is so tinny and muffled that I couldn’t detect what the storyline was supposed to be. The box copy says it’s about “misguided youth…who drift into the world of street-walking and prostitution”. If you’re a completist, then I guess you should pick up the disc for both of these West Coast rarities. Just don’t expect to watch them without the use of the fast-forward button.
Alpha Blue has come into possession of a theatrical print of MIDNIGHT HUSTLE, with a number of print jumps, lines, and debris littering the image, but it’s such a rarity we’re lucky to see it at all. VCA released this on tape, and it can be safely assumed it’s still in their possession.
Director: Derek Ford
In a country renowned for its censorship laws and puritanical beliefs, the UK did indeed have a hardcore film industry, though it’s not often discussed in a history of pornographic films of the 1970’s. British sex films are often categorized in the randy comedy subgenre, with beautiful girls and bumbling oafs colliding for box office success (as in the CONFESSIONS and CARRY ON series), but Derek Ford’s DIVERSIONS is a completely different animal. True to its title, it is a complete diversion from the usual goofy, silly softcore films relying on teasing glimpses of tits and ass to sell tickets. DIVERSIONS combines surprising violence and sadism, romance, and fantasy to create a one-of-a-kind hardcore adventure into the psyche of a young girl.
Imogene is a lovely young
woman being escorted by train to serve a prison term for an unspecified crime.
As she sits in her cabin, surrounded by a variety of people, she drifts into
fantasy, allowing her fellow passengers to enter her dream world. A handsome
student becomes a farmboy lover who takes her passionately in a romantic barnyard
setting; a bizarre horror-revenge fantasy finds her having sex with a handsome
blonde who she stabs to death and castrates while flashing back to a gang rape
she endured as a WWII nurse (!!) before dressing in a black raincoat and dumping
his body; a mysterious passenger reading a Vampirella magazine (the
first issue) is fantasized into a suave, dashing vampire who sucks her blood
post-coitus; a stranger reading a newspaper inspires the memory of when she
was mistaken for a call girl by a personals ad and bedded by a handsome blonde
American; the stern-faced ticket-taker and her female prison escort are transformed
into vicious Nazi officers who force her to fellate a loaded pistol before tying
her spread-eagled, slicing off her clothes, and somehow convincing her to have
consensual group sex; and after buying an antique camera, finds herself the
victim of a blackmail attempt by a horny photographer.
Light on plot but heavy on style and originality, DIVERSIONS is a consistently surprising and classy affair with slick photography and inventive editing and camera setups. It’s essentially a British version of a “loop carrier” (a series of sex scenes connected through one character or scenario), but because it’s the product of professional filmmakers, rises above what could have been a generic all-sex film. Director Derek Ford and his producer wife Valerie had worked previously in the softcore genre, and it’s amazing that unlike their U.S. counterparts, didn’t adopt pseudonyms for this excursion into hardcore. Unlike their comedies, this is an interesting project because the action of the film is derived from the wild imagination of the central female character. The sex scenes aren’t that erotic, but are visually unique and wonderful to look at. A twist ending makes the entire film that much more deliciously witty. Leading lady Heather Deeley was usually found in softcore films, but went all the way here in a bold move. With a face of an innocent and the body of a woman, Deeley was also not a bad actress. She disappeared from the screen shortly after her graduation from soft to hard, and was apparently last seen working in a peepshow booth in London’s Soho district in the 80s.
As evidenced by the many rave reviews quoted on the theatrical poster for DIVERSIONS, th19is British import was well-received by American critics and audiences, but before Alpha Blue got their hands on an original theatrical print (riddled with the usual green lines, red dustbunnies, debris, and print jumps), it remained hard to see so many years after its original U.S. release. It remained even more obscure in its home country, seized after its original theatrical release, retitled to SEX EXPRESS, and edited down to 50 minutes to eliminate all of the violence and dark elements, as well as any hardcore sex. This 87-minute version is completely uncut, with all the gore, bondage, and sex intact.
FEMMES DE SADE (1976)
Director: Alex de Renzy
Of all the directors working in San Francisco during the Golden Age, Alex de Renzy is hailed as the greatest, and it’s hard to argue that fact when you compare him to other directors, like Bob Chinn or Nick Phillips, or the uneven output of the Mitchell Brothers. De Renzy’s films always looked polished, with slick photography and expert editing, and his scripts regularly yielded a delicious sense of humor. His eye for beautiful ladies with uninhibited sexual appetites also worked in his films’ favor. An interesting observation of de Renzy’s films is that he rarely, if ever, included any credits on his work, leaving audiences to wonder who was responsible for duties performed on- and off-screen. Thankfully history has preserved the names of most of his regular cast members, but it’s still a mystery as to who worked behind the camera. Maybe he meant it this way, but it would still be interesting to know who was responsible for the voyeuristic cinematography, which always made the audience feel like the camera was an intruder into a real bedroom with real people fucking. With FEMMES DE SADE, de Renzy moved into the big time with his first bonafide classic, a sick, twisted mix of sexual fantasy, violence, and the decadence of 1976 San Francisco.
7-foot hulk Rocky De Sade (one-shot wonder Ken Turner) has just been released from prison, and it’s not long before he’s up to no good again. Tagging along with fellow prisoner Joey Silvera and his girlfriend Abigail Clayton, Rocky barges in on the couples’ fiery love-making for a taste of Abby. Not content with one rape, he takes to the streets of San Francisco, picking up hookers and forcing them to take part in his depraved sexual scenarios involving S&M and rape. Local erotic bookstore owner Johnny (John Leslie, in one of his many de Renzy roles), considered the protector of the local ladies of the evening, takes it personally when one of his favorite girls is battered by Rocky, and invites the brute to a masquerade ball for the sexual deviants of the city to take their revenge on him.
After several smaller (but equally entertaining) films such as THE PLEASURE MASTERS and FANTASY GIRLS, de Renzy let it all hang out with FEMMES DE SADE. His trademark no-holds-barred sex scenes, wicked sense of humor, and cast of sexually insatiable female performers are here in full force. While FEMMES has been hailed as a hyper-violent controversial classic, its primary theme seems to be one of preferring fantasy over reality. The Rocky storyline almost comes secondary to John Leslie’s fantasies, as he imagines himself in erotic scenarios with the women he encounters on the streets of San Francisco. Bookstore customer Mimi Morgan appears in a doctor’s office setting, with Leslie examining her nether regions with nurse Monique Starr assisting in a clinical procedure that becomes a threeway. Prostitute Leslie Bovee fills her insatiable need for sex in a factory setting with Leslie, Turk Lyon, and Tyler Reynolds. Oriental tourists Kikko and Linda Wong whisk Leslie away to a teahouse setting with an outdoor hot tub, providing for massage and threeway action. In comparison to these dreamy, lengthy sequences, the real-time sex scenes are grimy and perverse, with the towering Ken Turner a pretty bizarre leading man. With long white hair and an eye-popping monster member, Turner was a real find for de Renzy. Not only could he perform auto-fellatio, but he has no issues with taking a dildo on his ass in the revenge finale. Yikes! De Renzy ends the film with his usual standby sextravaganza, a wild orgy sequence throwing beautiful girls and ever-hard studs together in a passionate, no-holds-barred frenzy of flesh and fornication. Not all of them worked (the best is without a doubt the 10-man gang bang of Kristine Heller in BABYFACE), but viewers wanting a little more erotic action before the finale will find it here. De Renzy also took his camera to the streets of San Francisco, namely the red light district, allowing contemporary viewers to take a peek into adult bookstores, the marquees of strip joints and porno theaters, and . Even when compared to his later, higher-regarded films (namely BABYFACE and PRETTY PEACHES), FEMMES stands out as the most surprising film of De Renzy’s career and is a deservedly well-regarded classic worthy of repeat viewings. It also stands as my personal favorite of de Renzy’s 1970s output, so of course receives my highest recommendation possible.
Before she became a superstar, Annette Haven had a number of small roles in adult fare. The young Annette seen in FEMMES is a pale, gawky girl with a handful of lines and gives no indication of the industry icon she would become one short year later in 1977, the year that gave us BARBARA BROADCAST, DESIRES WITHIN YOUNG GIRLS, SEX WORLD, REFLECTIONS, V THE HOT ONE and A COMING OF ANGELS, all of which would become the defining films of her career. It’s also interesting to note that this staunch feminist, who claimed in interviews that she would never do a film featuring violence towards women, has this early film, with plenty of said violence, to her credit. Annette is completely outshone here by an equally stunning creature, Abigail Clayton, a honey-blonde sweetheart who never became a box office name but has amassed a sizeable cult following since her retirement. She could never be called an actress, but she was almost too pretty to appear in adult films, a gorgeous willowy nymph who somehow delivered in all of her scenes. Unlike Annette Haven, Clayton threw herself into her sex scenes with wild abandon, and created the erotic image of the prom queen engaging in wild sex acts for the audience’s enjoyment. The closest Abigail got to mainstream success was portraying a model victim of Joe Spinnell in Bill Lustig’s MANIAC, but for more Abigail perfection, check out DIXIE, A COMING OF ANGELS, SEVEN INTO SNOWY, and SEX WORLD. The third major leading lady of the film, Leslie Bovee, had just sprung on the scene with her appearance here, but would soon become a superstar after taking on John Holmes in 1977’s wonderful ERUPTION and provided a romantic interest for the tragic Dorian Blue in Armand Weston’s ultimate 1978 classic TAKE OFF. Bovee was a superb actress, as seen in Spinelli’s SEX WORLD and Metzger’s MARASCINO CHERRY, but was also a dynamo in sex scenes, on a par with Vanessa Del Rio in terms of carnality. She deserves more credit today as a legend of the adult film world. Sharon Thorpe, best remembered as the sad wallflower in SEX WORLD, is barely here as a loudmouthed hooker, and the masque ball participants include Johnnie Keyes (BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR), black beauty Desiree West, sultry brunette Candida Royalle (before she retired from acting and became a recognized director), and cult icon Enjil von Bergdorf.
Taken from a surprisingly colorful print with a few print jumps, this is one of the most satisfying transfers of the new wave of feature film releases. Unfortunately, Alpha’s print is still edited, missing about 13 minutes of footage here and there, including the original title card. The most notable omission is a sequence following Ken Turner’s auto-fellatio to orgasm, wherein he forces prostitute Melba Bruce to give herself oral. Originally released by the Mitchell Brothers, it is safe to assume they still own the rights to this film, but it’s doubtful that today’s political climate would welcome a legitimate release featuring scat (clearly faked), rape, extreme bondage, and violence (all of which are present here).
BREAKER BEAUTIES (1977)
Director: Steve Ziplow (as Steve Barry)
This is the real surprise of the second wave of Alpha Blue feature film discs! Well-photographed, with an intriguing script and a great cast of characters portrayed by popular New York City porno superstars of the time, BREAKER BEAUTIES is a refreshing change from the usual rough stuff or classy offerings from the familiar names of the city’s adult film community.
Trucker Tom has problems. When he’s not on the road with his pal Jack, he’s at home with his perpetually horny reporter wife, Sue, who berates him for his lackluster sexual performance. What Sue doesn’t know if that Tom’s aggression is saved up for the road, where his alter ego “Big Bear” rules the CB radio. Sue, her co-worker Joan, and their photographer Ed are assigned to do a radio story on local trucker bar Truck Haven and the popularity of country music among the trucking community. There, they meet Big Mama, the bar’s owner who allows truckers to bed down for the night (usually with the lady of their choice). Sue finally breaks down into tears upon learning of the swinging sexual lifestyles of truckers, considering her husband isn’t giving her enough at home.
Shot in upstate New York during the fall, director Steve Ziplow, in his only excursion into the adult film genre, creates a compelling little film here, and also a complete original. His “timely topic” (truck drivers and their CB radios) is one that no other adult film attempted to tackle, and has become a great kitsch nostalgia theme over the years. There’s very little plot to be found, but the script fleshes out these characters well, with great dialogue and suitably hot sex scenes (all shot by Carter Stevens’ usual cinematographer, Prudence Prevails, a great pseudonym). In a memorable flashback sequence, Big Mama remembers the first trucker she ever fucked, The King of the Road, set to a doo-wop song called “Keep Your Nose Out of My Pantyhose”. The King is played by solid, muscular screwing machine Dave Ruby, who never had a bad sex scene ever!! Flash-forward editing makes his slow strip memorable, and the scene strangely is oral-only. Additionally, there’s an all-original soundtrack brimming with country music and soul songs. One of the singers is called “Linda Rontits” (!), who performs an a capella guitar show like Janis Ian, and Johnny Reb performs an extended stage set imitating Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Another singer is played by Jean Dalton, cute blonde starlet from GEORGIA PEACH, who actually does an impressive real singing and guitar-playing job before indulging in a lesbian scene with Joan. BREAKER BEAUTIES will never rank among the top films of 1977, but it’s a fun escapist sex comedy with a great 70s aura to it and a talented cast helps make this a memorable trip to Trucker Haven.
Lori Blue, billed here as “Alexandria”, was a minor starlet in the industry when she starred in this one, having previously only appeared in very low-budget features from Shaun Costello (TORTURED WOMEN, SHE’S NO ANGEL). She wouldn’t stay in New York long before trekking to California to make her major bid for stardom as one of Joanna Williams’ LITTLE GIRLS BLUE. From there, she would appear in a number of porno chic hits, including Gerard Damiano’s FANTASY, RANDY THE ELECTRIC LADY, and Robert McCallum’s TANGERINE. With her husky speaking voice, tight body, and quite underrated acting skills, she’s an endearing horny bitch as Tom’s complaining wife. Crystal Sync, despite featuring one of the silliest pseudonyms in porn film history, was an incredible actress, but her performances were often overshadowed by her odd choice in wigs (namely a giant Afro). The very best performance of her career was in 1981’s THE TIFFANY MINX, for director Roberta Findlay (who seemed to adopt Sync as a muse, casting her in just about all of her films), but on the way there, she would appear in a number of strange vehicles. At the same time she would appear in classier, more professional adult films (SLIPPERY WHEN WET, ODYSSEY), she would also slum in cheap bargain-basement pornos (APPOINTMENT WITH AGONY, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES). She’s an enjoyable supporting actress here. Sharon Mitchell, at the start of her decline into drugs and her patented “hard look”, plays a perky hitchhiker who doesn’t mince words with Wade Nichols in the back of his truck. Mitchell had proven she was a fine actress in her debut, JOY, and that’s apparently why she was hired for this film, as she has no nudity or sex scene. No matter, she’s simply adorable in her brief appearance. Thank the heavens above she has survived the tumultuous 70s and 80s and is now in charge of AIDS testing within the current adult film industry. It’s interesting that Wade Nichols, her proposed “scene partner”, also contributes a non-sexual role as Tom’s trucking partner, Jack. Kitty Suckerman, who chews up the scenery as the fast-talking, wild Big Mama, never did another film, but she’s great fun.
Robert Kerman was unfortunately stuck in typecasting through his entire career, playing dirty old men and cheating husbands consistently. It’s nice to see him play such a different character and have fun with it. One of his best moments finds him talking to the camera in a “Laugh-In” type comic bit. Reliable cocksman Bobby Astyr plays the antsy photographer Ed, who gets head from Crystal Sync and is distracted from the trucker story by sultry Hispanic model Vanessa Del Rio, who of course gives Astyr an A+ blowjob after some provocative posing. The two would pair up again as a married couple in 1979’s BABYLON PINK. Handsome blonde Don Peterson (BAD PENNY) has a highlighted sex scene with Lori Blue as her station manager, Charlie. Watch for David Pierce (HER NAME WAS LISA) telling a filthy story to Herschel Savage at one of the tables in Trucker Haven. He and Savage eventually tag-team Crystal Sync in the bedroom.
Alpha Blue has once again called upon an old VHS tape for their transfer of BREAKER BEAUTIES, so the colors are dull and washed-out and the sound muffled. But it’s an impossible to find title worth having in any form. Extras appear in the form of bonus 8mm loops. In the first, Vanessa Del Rio in a slinky black dress and white feather boa (with a cat crawling on the sofa she’s sitting on) plays with herself while her maid cleans around her before indulging in some Sapphic delights and playing with a double-headed dildo; a black butler shows up to join in the fun. In the second, vastly more interesting loop, Robert Kerman and Crystal Sync (they did loops?) unite with a third no-name girl for a threeway. A third loop, shot in the same apartment as the second loop, features another threeway with no-name performers set to Duane Eddy twang guitar. A fourth loop stars lithe raven-haired comedienne Marlene Willoughby cleaning house before her bearded stud husband comes home for some lovin’. This loop is the hottest of the group!!
INVASION OF THE LOVE DRONES
Director: Jerome Hamlin
A year after Carter Stevens created the first major porno-sci-fi hybrid with ROLLERBABIES, unknown director Jerome Hamlin (billed as The Sensory Man) contributed this low-budget entry in the bizarre subgenre. It would be several years until the ultimate mixes of science fiction and sex would be created by Svetlana and Gerard Damiano (1980’s ULTRA FLESH and 1981’s THE SATISFIERS OF ALPHA BLUE, respectively), and compared to those classics, INVASION OF THE LOVE DRONES is a cheap, tacky, but ultimately has a few memorable moments for fans of Big Apple adult cinema.
George is your everyday New Yorker who is suddenly abducted one morning by a phallic-shaped spaceship and transformed into a love drone through sexual intercourse with two nude extraterrestrial women. His mission: continue having sex with more humans to feed the alien race of the Oragasms, whose survival depends on the amount of sexual energy George can absorb for them. He sends his “droned” model girlfriend out to convert a photographer while he volunteers at a sex clinic. The clinic doctors, however, witness George’s alien alter ego as he “drones” his sex partner, and call upon government investigators to look into the potential alien invasion. When the investigators are droned themselves, it’s up to the diligent Dr. Femme and her vacant blonde assistant to stop the invasion.
Obviously shot quickly with no script and by non-professional filmmakers, LOVE DRONES is an example of the kind of low-rent fare that was being churned out while more capable directors like Metzger, Weston, and Vincent were making New York the home of sophisticated pornography. The complete opposite of sophisticated, DRONES is a whacky mix of slapstick humor, one-liners, BODY SNATCHERS plot points, and unenthusiastic sex scenes. Everyone seems to be having a good time, performing day work to pay the rent, but the film meanders all over the place, creating some confusion amidst the fun. The spaceship set is an impressively designed location (once again probably using the same warehouse as FANTASEX, PASSIONS OF CAROL, ANGEL ON FIRE, and many other adventurous adult films), but it appears only briefly in-between scenes shot in a number of seedy-looking New York apartments. The one stand-out scene finds secret agent Sarah Nicholson (under her porno pseudonym “Jennifer Jordan”, and also credited for sound!) playing a chess game with the alien-possessed Alex Mann. When Mann transforms into a glowing alien lifeform, Nicholson flees for her life, only to find her car won’t start. A helpful biker offers her a ride…only to whip around and drive straight into the waiting arms of a crowd of love drones, who rip her clothes off and hold her down, kicking and screaming, while Mann fucks her on a glass table. The muscular Mann, familiar from many Joe Sarno films, appears in two sex scenes here, but both are strictly softcore. Another quite bizarre sequence finds the bald, black woman-covered-in-white-paint Queen of the Oragasms beamed down to the spaceship to have sex with George, a very unique and strange vision to be found in a porno film. All in all, LOVE DRONES is for New York City porn completists only; no one else would really get its charms.
Eric Edwards, tied with Jamie Gillis as the busiest male performer in New York at the time, is a satisfying male lead, but it’s kind of disheartening to see him such a shoddy production when he had proven himself capable of a funny vehicle in the form of Radley Metzger’s PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN two years previously, not to mention his villainous turn in Armand Weston’s THE TAKING OF CHRISTINA in 1976. He seems to be having a great time using a fake robotic voice throughout the film. Husband and wife team Tony Richards and cutie Bree Anthony (who performed a tumbling and sex routine in ALICE IN WONDERLAND) have spaceship sex, and dashing paranormal investigator Levi Richards (PAMELA MANN) has sex with a horny drone in her apartment. Sarah Nicholson only has the one scene described above, but her wild 70s garb and giant sunglasses bring to life the Janis Joplin persona she emulated in real life. You may recognize obese Kevin Andre as the gay client in the opening scene of PAMELA MANN; he plays Dr. Femme’s street pick-up here. Redhead Lori Blue (who had previously appeared as Shaun Costello’s wife in SHE’S NO ANGEL and a globe-trotting whore in TORTURED WOMEN) plays a drone rubbing herself with giant vibrators on the spaceship. The biggest surprise is JAMIE GILLIS in a non-sex role as the earthly leader of the drones, holding a mass meeting in his living room! David Savage is credited as the biker who delivers Sarah Nicholson to the drones, but it’s not the same David Savage from PAMELA MANN. Cult film fans will recognize the creepy choir library music in the first spaceship sequence from its similarly disturbing use in Roger Watkins’ LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET. Another piece of music with a spy theme was still in a stock music library used by my TV Production class as of 2001!
Like most of their other releases, Alpha Blue’s transfer is taken from a very used tape master, with a fuzzy image and muffled sound. By default through ownership of the Adult Video Corporation library, TVX should own this one, and Alpha’s disc looks about the same as one would look from that company (i.e., from a faded videotape).
TEENAGE PAJAMA PARTY (1977)
Director: Jim Clark
No other director specialized in the “young girl” subgenre of adult cinema as well as Jim Clark. Best known for his 1978 blockbuster DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, Clark had previously unleashed this pretty awful weekend wonder, with a great cast and the theft of David Bowie’s excellent “Fame” in the opening credits, but little else going for it.
Want a plot? Here ya go: a bunch of teenage girls gather in Barbie’s apartment for a pajama party. They’re harassed by a heavy-breathing perverted old man who calls them regularly while jerking his gherkin, share their sexual fantasies, and finally have a good old-fashioned orgy while the folks are away.
After the promising opening sequence of a group of schoolgirls walking down New York City streets and crashing into lead character Barbi’s apartment, leading to a record player blaring David Bowie’s “Fame” (with some new synthesizer licks added to cover his vocals) as the girls disrobe and shake their nude booties to the music, one would expect a silly porn comedy 1970s-style. However, it’s apparent that the majority of the film was shot on the fly over an afternoon and evening in the apartment of one of the director’s friends, and the remaining fantasy sequences shot in a studio on Broadway (looks to be the same one Roberta Findlay used in FANTASEX or Shaun Costello used for PASSIONS OF CAROL). It tries to be imaginative and offer some visually interesting set pieces, but the sex is robotic and unrewarding, and this reeks of desperation to make a quick buck. To be frank, director Jim Clark never made a great film, but of his brief oeuvre, this is the bottom of the barrel. For completists of the leading ladies only.
Not even the cast, including several enduring cult icons of the 1970s, can save this excrement. PAJAMA PARTY is noteworthy as an early film in the careers of C.J. Laing and Sharon Mitchell, both youthful anything-goes actresses who became the toasts of the town in the New York adult film industry. Both look the part of underage nymphets, especially Mitchell (she could have indeed appeared in this one while 17, as she did in JOY and VIOLATION OF CLAUDIA), but don’t really make much of an impression here, as they would in other films. Poor Terri Hall, second-billed as “Terry Hall”, is completely wasted in a dream sequence where she waves a giant fire hose at fireman Robert Kerman and gives him oral before she and Pamela Grimes give him oral and pee on him post-orgasm (!). After 1976, Terri wouldn’t make any really noteworthy films, instead being passed around by exploitive filmmakers as her rising star was on the wane. Grimes, an appealing black girl with a giant Afro, is reported to be Candy Love, familiar from SEX WISH, but they don’t even look alike and for all intents and purposes, Grimes, an appears to be a one-shot wonder. Susaye London, an unsung starlet discovered by Carter Stevens and who made far more low-budget quickies (APPOINTMENT WITH AGONY, LISA MEETS MR. BIG) than she did great films, appears in a dream sequence with sheik Wade Nichols (a gay man who became a regular in straight porn before landing a recurring role on the soap opera “The Edge of Night”, recording a disco LP under his real name Dennis Parker, and committing suicide after learning he had contracted the AIDS virus). London and Nichols, for a time, seemed to be a package deal, appearing together in Carter Stevens’ excellent PUNK ROCK!, Armand Weston’s TAKE OFF, and this film. Priscilla Major and Barbi James wouldn’t do any other films after this one (Clark had a knack for finding young girls who would become one-shot wonders), but their threeway with soda jerk Michael Gaunt, utilizing lots of sloppy food in creating a human banana split, is disgusting. James returns for a threeway with bodybuilders Gary Cook and Philip Marlowe in a scene that is maybe the highlight of the film (which isn’t saying much).
Culled from a very washed-out tape, Alpha Blue’s transfer of this film is pretty terrible. I received a copy of this under its 80s retitling, NEW WAVE PAJAMA PARTY, from a friend and it features better color and a clearer image than the source material seen here. It’s fitting that this shitty film does, indeed, look like shit.
PRETTY PEACHES (1978)
Director: Alex de Renzy
Of his trinity of classics (FEMMES DE SADE, PRETTY PEACHES, BABYFACE), PEACHES is hailed as Alex de Renzy’s very best, and apparently he thought so himself. It’s your basic story of a young innocent thrown into a tumultuous world full of sex-crazed nuts, but with de Renzy’s particular brand of comedy and sexual escapism, it became one of the best-loved films of 1978.
Pretty Peaches (Desiree Cousteau) is one sexy dimbulb of a girl, motoring down the highway in her Jeep en route to her father (John Leslie)’s second wedding to a lovely black girl (the two-movie wonder Flower, with great comic timing). Afraid she will become her father’s second favorite, she speeds off only to get into an accident that gives her amnesia. In her quest to remember her identity, Peaches is raped while unconscious by Joey Silvera; visits a kooky doctor who gives her surprising treatment in the form of an enema; is accosted by a group of lesbians in a bizarre performance piece with a cheering audience; is fooled into bed by a playboy posing as a doctor (Paul Thomas); and finally reunites with her folks at an oil-soaked swingers’ orgy (a de Renzy trademark). In-between worrying about Peaches’ whereabouts, Daddy has a threeway with his adventurous bride and irritated Swedish maid Juliet Anderson (in her hardcore film debut!).
Like de Renzy’s other films, PRETTY PEACHES is light on story but heavy on hot, passionate sex scenes. This is a plus for those who like raunchy action with performers intent on having the best sex of their lives. Unfortunately anyone going into this one expecting a well-scripted comedy on the level of, say, COED FEVER or DESIRES WITHIN YOUNG GIRLS should be forewarned there is very little script here. It’s still damn funny, though, as we follow Peaches as she incites sexual fever in everyone she meets. Some of the best moments seem improvised, including Joey Silvera and his buddy arguing while trying to fondle Peaches as they share a bed and Juliet Anderson’s garbled attempts at a Swedish accent. The film’s two most infamous scenes (Peaches receiving an enema and her lesbian gang rape) are played for laughs, with the latter especially providing for some of the funniest moments as Peaches is thrown into the nightclub act by being accused of sleeping with one of the mad harpies’ boyfriend. Her reaction is priceless! As a whole, PRETTY PEACHES endures as a classic worthy of attention today due to its ability to still arouse and titillate all these years later, but released in a year surrounded by better sex comedies (MARASCINO CHERRY, BAD PENNY, TAKE OFF), it’s simply not as good as those because of its quite healthy emphasis of sex over story.
Desiree Cousteau, in her first major adult film role as our Peaches, will either be considered endearingly stupid or perpetually annoying depending on the viewer, but one thing cannot be denied: this girl had an incredible body! A virtual Betty Boop come to bouncing life, with beautiful all-natural breasts (perhaps the best in the industry of the time), a pert behind, and curves in all the right places, Cousteau also possessed a bubbly personality that made her an instant favorite overnight. Somehow she won an AFAA Best Actress Award for her performance here (Samantha Fox in BAD PENNY would have seemed a more natural winner), and after a mere 5 years in the business as California’s favorite busty nitwit, she disappeared and hasn’t been heard from since. Rumors circulate around her whereabouts (varying from a mental hospital to her own psychology practice in Atlanta), but her cult lives on today. John Leslie, sporting a beard, seems to be having a great time appearing in a number of sex scenes, but this also doesn’t seem to be one of his more dedicated performances. He’s definitely done better. I was most impressed with Flower, a black starlet whom I had never heard of; this surprisingly capable comedienne also delivers the goods in the sex department. Her only other appearance was in 1978’s equally great THE OTHER SIDE OF JULIE before she faded into obscurity. The lesbian rapists include big-breasted brunette Holly McCall (NOTHING TO HIDE) and small-breasted Mimi Morgan, and watch for reliable sextras Turk Lyon, Ken Scudder, and Blair Harris during the orgy. A young Sharon Kane and cult figure Nancy Hoffman take on Joey Silvera in an isolated and almost unnecessary sex scene, too.
Taken from various different prints, Alpha Blue’s presentation of PRETTY PEACHES is the most complete version we’ll ever get on DVD. Currently languishing in the vaults at VCA (reportedly only in an edited tape master), Jim Holliday discussed why the original film would never hit DVD uncut on the disc of PRETTY PEACHES 2. With its scenes of rape, enema use, and incest, today’s political climate simply won’t allow the company to release this one in its original form. So this illegitimate release will have to suffice. There are a number of print jumps, resulting in some scenes losing a good bit of dialogue, or abruptly ending and shifting into others. Joey Silvera’s scene with Sharon Kane and Nancy Hoffman in particular comes out of nowhere in a sloppy print jump.
HER NAME WAS LISA (1979)
Director: Roger Watkins (as Richard Mahler)
After the incredible distribution snafu surrounding THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL (to become LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET), writer/producer/director Roger Watkins entered the most profitable independent film community of the New York area: the adult film industry. A man who had learned under director Nicholas Ray and had shown great potential with his dark look into human depravity with CUCKOO CLOCKS, Watkins made no secret of his disdain for wallowing in pornography, and this is most evident in his first adult film, HER NAME WAS LISA. A dreary drama with two of the biggest names in New York City porn, LISA is unerotic and unapologetic, and is best viewed as a runner-up for Watkins’ nihilistic masterpiece CORRUPTION (1983).
Massage parlor girl Lisa (Samantha Fox) is dead, and at her funeral, those who knew her remember the road to her tragic demise. First we have Paul (Rick Iverson), a sensitive photographer who takes a shine to Lisa and hopes to enter a relationship with her. When he walks in on her having sex in a studio with a magazine publisher, their relationship crumbles. The publisher, Stephen Sweet (David Pierce), flashes back to the time when Lisa donned dominatrix gear and had a particularly kinky sex session with him…only to repay her with a vicious rape scenario for two of his wealthiest friends (Bobby Astyr & Randy West). Lisa finds solace in the arms of Carmen (Vanessa Del Rio), a mysterious Hispanic woman who eyes her in a steam room, and the two women enact their revenge on Sweet. But it is Carmen who leads Lisa down the road to destruction, introducing her to Lady H and setting her up for a date with two swingers (Robin Byrd & Ron Hudd).
LISA is a porno film made by a filmmaker filled with self-loathing and anger at the state of his career. All of the sex is shot clinically and without passion, completely by the numbers and apparently shot in a hurry, probably because it was the least interesting part of the film for Watkins to shoot. His script is largely a mess, meandering from person to person in Lisa’s life. However, the film finally wakes up out of its unstylish stupor with Lisa’s heroin use. A fish eye lens transforms the gorgeous Carmen into a monster with teeth like daggers. The sexy couple invades Lisa’s room, speaks in slow-motion, with disjointed dialogue, and uses her as she writhes in drugged ecstasy. These final 10-15 minutes of the film are the most powerful, and show the talent that Watkins was forced to apparently waste on this ugly film. This final segment is the only reason for aficionados of the genre to check out this otherwise mundane and unrewarding film. Watkins himself would agree.
It’s interesting to note the connections between this film and MYSTIQUE, directed by Roberta Findlay. Both films were shot in 1979 and feature scripts by Roger Watkins, a star in Samantha Fox, and Randy West playing a rapist. Additionally, both films are very dark, focusing on main characters being taken advantage by people they trust, most probably because of Watkins’ state of mind at the time. Having tasted the ugliness of the film business, one can feel the venom he endured through the experiences of Alma (MYSTIQUE) and Lisa. Lisa pushes away the one person who offers her love, but finds herself being used, degraded, and ultimately destroyed by everyone else she places her trust in. LISA is bleak and unentertaining, but it features two strong central performances and a stylish finale that indicates better things to come from this hesitant member of the adult film industry.
Samantha Fox began her career at the top, with a small part in Gerard Damiano’s 1977 masterpiece ODYSSEY. From there, she would appear in several low-budget features before becoming the muse of director Chuck Vincent by playing the title role in the witty comedy BAD PENNY. By 1979, she had become a name at the box office, and proved adept at both comedy and drama. The same year she played the doomed Lisa, she would portray the bubbly, hilarious Jill to Jack Wrangler’s Jack in Vincent’s essential JACK ‘N’ JILL. It’s a fascinating pair of performances, but in LISA, we get to see some of the real Samantha. She would reveal in interviews over the years that she had experience as a call girl, and would eventually become an alcoholic as her success in the adult film world grew to large proportions. Fox is a brilliant actress, and she proves she had talent to spare in this film. Her grizzled exterior in her early scenes, her sneering dialogue as the dominatrix, and her helpless bawling as she succumbs to drug addiction show Fox at her best.
Vanessa Del Rio needs no introduction, but this needs to be said about her: her acting prowess was just as impressive as her sexual skills. As the seductive Carmen, Del Rio commands the screen, delivers her dialogue smoothly, and looks especially great as a dominatrix playing a part in Lisa’s revenge scheme. Though she would give a number of great acting performances over the years, she was always hired because she delivered in the bedroom. That’s understandable, considering the purpose of porno films is to get the viewer off, and every one of her sex scenes is electrifying…but one wonders if she wished she had been given more chances as an actress. Watching her in any number of films will prove this (THE DANCERS, COED FEVER, DRACULA EXOTICA, GIRLS USA), but LISA is a great introduction to Del Rio the actress. Her sex scenes are typically sizzling, despite being shoddily filmed, but seeing her as both a sultry succubus and a sadistic bitch is much more rewarding. Watkins must have loved both of his leading ladies, as he would cast them in his subsequent adult film ventures THE PINK LADIES and CORRUPTION.
Rick Iverson, who also used the name Jake Stewart, is one of the worst actors of the Golden Age, but because he was a cute guy with a great body, he would appear in a number of films in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I first saw him as the gardener in Jim Clark’s abundantly stupid THE GOOD GIRLS OF GODIVA HIGH in an awkward sex scene. His scene here with Samantha Fox is equally awkward, with no clear signs of penetration and displays Iverson’s apparent desire for doggy-style sex (every film I’ve seen him in features him in this position). An equally good-looking male stud, Ron Hudd, appears here, and was a much more reliable sex performer than Iverson, becoming a regular in New York films in no time. Samantha Fox’s live-in boyfriend from 1979 until his early death in 2002, Bobby Astyr, has an uncomfortable scene as one of Lisa’s rapists. Robin Byrd, a few years after she began her cult cable access TV show, appears as the female half of the couple who fucks Lisa in her drugged haze.
Alpha Blue’s transfer of HER NAME WAS LISA is taken from a very poor VHS source, with a black bar at the bottom of the screen (possibly to obscure copyright information?) during the opening credits. It looks slightly worse than TVX’s recently released cut DVD of the title, but is for the most part clear and bright.
THE VELVET EDGE (1979)
Director: Eddy DeWitt
Ending the collection with a blip rather than a bang, THE VELVET EDGE is a mildly interesting adult film from the West Coast. It’s actually two films in one: a sex orgy film with the usual sucking and fucking, and inserted sequences from a completely unrelated film.
Sergio, a dashing blonde stud, has organized a sex party with some of his swinging single friends. Before the action begins, he discusses his grandfather and his adventures in the 1930’s. As he and his friend plan to rob a bank, they meet two lovely female thieves already in the process of hitting the jackpot. The quartet runs into each other on a back road after the robbery and joins forces to cross the country robbing more banks, but runs afoul of Mexican bandits and their big-breasted senorita, who kill the men and rape the women. As the story is being told to the party guests, they naturally indulge in the pleasures of the flesh they came for.
The real reasons to watch VELVET EDGE are the 1930s sequences, clearly from an unfinished or unreleased sexploitation film from at least 10 years earlier. With plentiful period cars, costumes, and sets, this looks like a Dave Friedman film, with its beautiful women with 1960s hairdos and impressive production values. Some of the scenes are reminiscent of New World’s BIG BAD MAMA. The sexploitation scenes are spiced up with hardcore inserts, cleverly inserted a la CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER, and one of the cock doubles is Mike Ranger (see below). It’s too bad this complete sexploitation film isn’t available, as it looks to be one of the better period-piece genre entries. However, if you’re looking for solid sex scenes, there are plenty of those, too, including a woman being tied down and brought to orgasm with a French penis pump (!).
As Sergio, the host of the sex party, Mike Ranger is, as he always was, a sexual animal, ever hard and looking great. He doesn’t sport his trademark mustache, and shows off his wooden acting skills, but there’s a reason he would become a reliable sex performer throughout the late 70s and early 80s. His opening sex scene with Jennifer West is the best of the entire film. He didn’t perform hardcore in INVASION OF THE LOVE DRONES (see above), but Alex Mann does get a blowjob here, after his move from New York to California in 1978. Mustachioed Turk Lyon was in almost every film shot in San Francisco in this period, and he shows off his specialty, anal sex, in a forced sex scene with Jennifer West.
The supplemental material on the discs consists of a trailer collection including previews for FEMMES DE SADE, DARK DREAMS, THE BRIDE’S INITIATION, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER, ANGEL ABOVE DEVIL BELOW, HER NAME WAS LISA, INVASION OF THE LOVE DRONES, RITES OF URANUS, MIDNIGHT HUSTLE, DIVERSIONS, and Alpha Blue’s line of Porno Superstars, Cult Porno Directors, Sadistic Seventies and Satanic Sickies discs. (Casey Scott)
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