After a long semester of school and infrequent reviews on DVD Drive-In, I finally decided to tackle a number of discs that have been piling up around my DVD player for the past month or so! Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson, one of the best writers in the field, inspired me with his capsulated After Hours spotlight to do the same thing here on DVD Drive-In. This way, I can play catch up easily while also giving our faithful readers a taste of what (and what not) to buy. So, without further ado…

SYLVIA (1977) Director: Peter Savage {Armand Peters}

The After Hours Grindhouse Director series has been hit-or-miss so far, and as the series continues with Peter Savage’s SYLVIA, it hasn’t lived up to its full potential yet. FORCED ENTRY is a historically valuable, but reprehensible porno-horror hybrid, and A TOUCH OF GENIE is a previously-lost Joe Sarno hardcore comedy with a great sense of humor and one of the best casts of the era. SYLVIA, the third release in the series, is somewhere in-between. It’s successful in some ways, and rotten in others, but is worth checking out for any adult film completists like me. Previously released on a VCX disc (now out of print and missing footage to boot), this neglected New York grinder has been remastered from a theatrical (though still incomplete) print, with white lines aplenty and a number of abrupt print jumps but still looking more colorful than the VHS-sourced VCX release, and has one marvelous supplement that is mandatory listening even for those who abhor the genre or the film.

Religious wallflower Sylvia has a secret. Or to put it more accurately, two secrets: she has three personalities! In addition to her staid “home” personality, she also hides within her psyche Mona, a sexually insatiable vixen with a penchant for violent, raunchy sex, and Toni, a pot-smoking biker chick-type lesbian. Sylvia’s doctor has met all three of her faces, as well as a fourth one, Mary, a romantic desperate for marriage, who has been successfully suppressed. When Sylvia’s cousin Toby comes to visit, her accompanying roommate Sheila is seduced by “Toni”, leading Toby to seek help for her cousin through a priest (who is more or less raped in the monsignor’s office) and finally a doctor who works against all odds, including “Mona’s” psychotic bent, to bring Sylvia back to normalcy.

This X-rated updating of both THE THREE FACES OF EVE and SYBIL isn’t a great classic, but has enough interesting and worthwhile moments to raise it above other cheap efforts it shared theater time with in 1977. The photography (by future Hollywood player Michael Negrin) is crisp and features some surprising moments of panache (dolly shots, unique framing). A very good original rock music score by Horace Diaz, with a couple of catchy vocal tracks performed by Gene Press and Shelley Pinz, keeps the film lively throughout. Speculation over the director’s credited name (Armand Peters) has led many to believe this was directed incognito by Armand Weston, but there are no tell-tale signs of Weston’s stylistic choices in photography or storytelling. In the new millennium, it can finally be revealed that Armand Peters was in fact the late Peter Savage, a popular character actor who, in addition to his writing, producing, and directing duties, appears in the film as Dr. Balaban. Savage even gives himself a well-choreographed fight scene with towering Sonny Landham, an exciting moment that really livens up the final third of the feature! The fact that all these years later, we know that porn directors like “Armand Peters” and “A. Fabritzi” (THE LEGEND OF LADY BLUE) were Hollywood actors (Savage and Jesse Pearson, respectively), must lead one to marvel and wonder who some of the other mystery directors of this period really are (Martin & Martin [ANNA OBSESSED], Michael Hugo [HARDGORE], Jay Paul [TICKLED PINK], Jeffrey Fairbanks[EXPOSED, AMERICAN PIE, WILD DALLAS HONEY], B.A. Smith [DO YOU WANNA BE LOVED?], Duddy Kane [WET RAINBOW]). Rumors have begun circulating that Martin & Martin was the late John Frankenheimer, but I don’t know if I buy it.

Whoever cast Joanna Bell in her first and only leading role should be shot. Unattractive, untalented, and all wrong to attempt the challenge of playing four different personalities, Bell never did another film, and it’s no real surprise why. In the New York adult film industry circa 1976-1977, there were a broad range of beautiful women who could have excelled in this role (Nancy Dare, Marlene Willoughby, Jenny Baxter, Terri Hall, Sharon Mitchell). The easiest explanation would be that Savage cast Bell because they were having an affair, but no evidence exists to give the true story. The best female performance comes from legitimate actress Pamela Serpe, the daughter of producer Ralph Serpe (ACROSS 110TH STREET), who is easily on a par with actresses in independent films of the era as she is confronted with her cousin’s mental illness. She also appears in an uncomfortable attempted rape scene that proves she could deal with tough material and still be a pro. Helen Madigan, not noted for her acting abilities, is actually quite good as Sheila, the swinger roommate who enjoys a nighttime liaison with Sylvia’s alter ego Toni. Marc Stevens shows up for a brief opening sex scene as a vacuum cleaner salesman who gets rimmed, blown, and manhandled in general by “Mona” (in fact, Bell rims all of her male partners save Sonny Landham in this film, an odd occurrence in the straight industry). Mr. 10 ½ is memorable, as always…or should I say that it’s his inches that are memorable? The other recognizable male cast members include Grover Griffith as a defiled priest, Turk Turpin (the perverted attendant in DEFIANCE) as a sweaty would-be rapist with a belt, the aforementioned Landham as an edgy heroin addict, and Bobby Astyr as the host of a wild orgy.

Sitting down for a chat about his days in the adult world is Blue Underground head honcho Bill Lustig, who worked uncredited as assistant director and production manager on SYLVIA. As with his commentaries on many other features, including his own, Lustig is a non-stop talker, providing in-depth discussion of his entry into the adult business, working with no budget quickly to turn a bigger profit with the product, and fascinating details of Savage as a director, actor, and friend. In-between saucy behind-the-scenes stories of SYLVIA (his no-holds-barred hatred of the leading lady, who attempted to kill him before Sonny Landham intervened, is a laugh riot, and he too can’t explain how she was cast), Lustig also shares tantalizing tales of his adventures throughout the industry, including brief mentions of his wonderful VIOLATION OF CLAUDIA and HOT HONEY. The original theatrical trailer (under the promotional title A SAINT, A WOMAN, A DEVIL) includes scenes not included in the film itself (involving child abuse with real children, so that may be why After Hours omitted them, or they weren’t in the print they found in the first place). Another interesting supplement can be found within the trailer vault: a sneak peek at THE WEIRDOS AND ODDBALLS COLLECTION, which will collect together the films of early-1970s porno director Eduardo Cemano. The hyperbole on the preview oversells his films’ importance in the grand scheme of the industry’s history, but they’re fun little flicks and the DVD release will feature bonus interviews with Fred Lincoln and Arlana Blue! A liner notes booklet gives further insight into the story of Peter Savage and his brief foray into the adult film world.


Previously available through Something Weird Video as NAZI SEX EXPERIMENTS, After Hours’ double-disc set brings this obscure barely hour-long quickie to the digital format paired with another even more hard-to-see Rene Bond and Ric Lutze film, WOMAN OF VENGEANCE. Unfortunately, the presentation of SEX SLAVES OF THE S.S. (the new DVD title) is quite flawed and detracts from the historical value of preserving films like these. For some reason the film begins with a contemporary wraparound giving background on the Nazi takeover of Germany and the S.S. experimentation prevalent during WWII, narrated by a bad James Mason imitator, before tacking on a newly-created title sequence in front of the movie. Even worse, two entire unrelated loops (one featuring New York starlet Erica Havens, the other resembling a Lasse Braun European loop), with awful contemporary dubbing and music, has been inserted by the company into the movie, along with plentiful stock footage, to expand the running time! And once again, After Hours has decided to letterbox the feature and 16:9 enhance it, despite the fact that the film was shot on 16mm with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I would recommend simply purchasing Something Weird’s DVD-R of the title, and pronto, because this is one campy good time!

Dr. Ivan Cock-Luv, in secret headquarters in Cologne, Germany, is a madman intent on making medical breakthroughs to please Der Fuhrer! Lucky for him a trio of beautiful girls was captured by the Gestapo as they explored the countryside, providing perfect fodder for Cock-Luv’s bizarre experiments. A blonde with a drawling Southern accent (in Bavaria?!) is injected with a serum that gives her psychedelic red-and-green-lit visions before being plugged heartily by “the fuck machine” and a German soldier (both of which she wears out); a wavy-haired honey blonde is schtupped in her cell by a perverted guard; and the ringleader of the girls, a voluptuous brunette, is massaged while tied to a table and her sexual energy is tested by another very willing officer before comforting her rape victim friend with some lesbian loving.

I have to wonder what the hell grindhouse audiences must have thought as this unspooled on the dirty movie screen before them way back in the 1970s! While Nazi films like LOVE CAMP 7 had been released to great success, they were nasty and rough in their nature. NAZI SEX EXPERIMENTS is a goofball sex comedy from start to finish; a “Hogan’s Heroes” to Cresse and Frost’s “Schindler’s List”, if you will. The sets are about as professional as a grade school play, with drab yellow walls, Nazi flags hung here and there, and hand-painted medical equipment, and because apparently the filmmakers couldn’t find another male actor in all of California, a blonde woman is given a fake moustache and told to speak in a deep voice to play Cock-Luv’s male assistant! Incredible! Victor Alexander delivers a hammy and delicious turn as Dr. Cock-Luv, a performance so self-aware and over-the-top that he makes Tim Curry in ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW look restrained. Alexander (real name: Jerry Delony) later showed up in inserts and wraparound footage shot for a re-release of the Bob Cresse-Lee Frost roughie INVITATION TO RUIN (the hardcore version, simply called THE INVITATION, can be found on Alpha Blue Archives’ BRUTAL UNDERGROUND VOL. 1 boxed set). The only other recognizable cast member is Margie Lanier, the large-lipped brunette beauty who was the innocent reluctant escapee in FUGITIVE GIRLS, in what may be her only surviving hardcore performance. On the same disc as this feature is a number of trailers for other After Hours discs, as well as a rare 40s or 50s-era stag reel featuring a lovely lady and a man in a rubber Hitler mask getting it on.

The second feature, WOMAN OF VENGEANCE, is a much greater find, as the film has never been available anywhere else! It’s, again, presented incorrectly letterboxed, and the print is in much worse shape than that of NAZI SEX EXPERIMENTS, but for a film of this rare vintage, I’m just glad to see it at all! Unhappily married bicycle store owner John has a meet-cute with customer Carrie, decked out in a cute red top and a dressy hat with a veil, seeking a ride…on a bike, that is. While John is busy courting the new object of his affections, his bitchy wife is having an affair with his top employee and the philandering couple are planning to murder him! Despite its muddy, cheap aesthetics and all-over-the-map performances, WOMAN OF VENGEANCE is an interesting attempt to update film noirs like DOUBLE INDEMNITY and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE but without a lick of talent behind the cameras to pull it off admirably. Rene Bond has always been a good actress, or at least capable at delivering her dialogue, since her flat-chested Harry Novak days all the way through her screen swan song, DO YOU WANNA BE LOVED? She’s a lot of fun here acting alongside her long-time paramour Ric Lutze (whose acting is typically atrocious).

More good news! Previews on disc 2 include a number of titles apparently licensed from the John Lamb library, including SEXUAL FREEDOM IN DENMARK, SEXUAL FREEDOM NOW, and THE STARLETS! Now the bad news: another title, CHASTITY AND THE STARLETS, is a shot-on-video relic from the 1980s starring Taija Rae, William Margold, John Leslie, Amber Lynn, Steve Drake, Melanie Scott, Tom Byron, and Joanna Storm, with multiple scenes from the original STARLETS inserted. I’m a die-hard Taija fan, but methinks After Hours should stick to film projects.

The verdict: Though the temptation of the previously-lost WOMAN OF VENGEANCE is tempting, stick with the unaltered Something Weird release of NAZI SEX EXPERIMENTS. Final note: After Hours should really consider putting their two-film sets onto one disc. The films themselves barely run an hour, and even when combined with the trailers and loops, this entire package could have fit onto a single DVD-9 disc at a lower price point.


While the East Coast had the Dan McCord series courtesy of weekend wonder wizard Shaun Costello throughout the mid-to-late 1970s, someone in San Francisco was cashing in on the first porno detective films, the JOHNNY WADD series, with the adventures of Sam Dobbs, a handsome college frat boy-look sleuth who naturally found himself knee-deep in ladies while investigating bizarre crimes throughout the city. The most surprising aspect of these films is that while they were obviously shot on the cheap with non-thespians over the course of a weekend, they actually feature decent scripts and run a little longer than the usual storefront features. To date, only two have surfaced on home video and you get the pair right here on this handy double-disc set. Here’s hoping After Hours uncovers more Sam Dobbs potboilers in their quest for 16mm quickies, because unlike about 85% of the flicks they turn up, these are a lot of fun, transferred from good-looking, clean 16mm prints (albeit incorrectly letterboxed) and well worth spending your hard-earned dollars on (despite their addition of new music and titles)!

The Zodiac Rapist is at large! You better believe it, as we are introduced to the title villain peeping on and heartily plowing a bottomless woman in her garden. He sends letters and prank phone calls detective Sam Dobbs, sort of like the Zodiac Killer terrorizing San Francisco around the time this film was made. When Dobbs isn’t screwing his girlfriend in his office and interviewing potential female bait for the Zodiac’s wanton ways, he’s racing across town trying to catch the fiend in the act! Strangely, none of the women the Zodiac victimizes seem to mind the invasion of their bodies. When Dobbs consistently blunders the capture of the Zodiac, “the chief” sends a lady cop to assist him.

ZODIAC RAPIST is technically much more adept than the usual slop churning out of grindhouses of the era, with unique cinematography during the love scenes (not the usual gynecological close-ups) and effective framing of Johnny Wadd’s mammoth monster appendage. As the Zodiac Rapist, John Holmes is appropriately manic and fun, though it’s clear why he was used more as a prop than an actor throughout his career (much like his East Coast counterpart, Marc Stevens). There are a handful of recognizable faces among the actresses on display: Sandy Dempsey, in one of her earliest appearances but still bearing that trademark butterfly tattoo on her upper thigh; Eve Orlon, with her buck teeth a dead giveaway as one of a pair of girls interrupted while napping by the Rapist; and Linda Vroom, a large-breasted lass with long flowing blonde hair. Ms. Vroom is memorable for me as one of the ANGELS’ WILD WOMEN, and her underwater sex scene with Holmes is the highlight of the film, a genuinely erotic sequence, which is a rarity in quickies of the early 1970s. However, it should be noted that most, if not all, of the sex is stunted by Sandy Dempsey (that butterfly tattoo is a dead giveaway).

Shot prior to ZODIAC RAPIST was SAM DOBBS AND THE GURU GANGBANG, a slightly less interesting adventure that runs an epic 85 minutes (compared to the standard 62-minute length of the later film). While Dobbs is being blown at his office (pretty common in both films), he receives a phone call from an old girlfriend who has found a dead body in her pool. Naturally this being a porno film, he comforts her with some good lovin’. The maid and the TV repairman get it on in the bedroom, and Sam and his gal pal join them. 25 minutes later (!!), Sam finally examines the body and finds a note to meet a pair of hippies in a van. En route to meet a mysterious guru, the hippie chicks give Sam some oral attention. The trio arrives at the guru’s residence, where an orgy breaks out and Sam goes solo in a boudoir with the guru’s #1 lady. When they discover he’s a private dick, Sam drinks a drugged concoction that gives him psychedelic kaleidoscope vision!

Sadly, where ZODIAC RAPIST is sexy fun from start to finish, GURU GANGBANG bogs down for the majority of the film due to its seemingly endless running time and monotonous sexual content. There are some key visual moments, like the final moments of the film in disorienting kaleidoscope vision, but overall this is a comedown from disc 1. Fans will enjoy seeing Judy Angel as Dobbs’ secretary in the same year she would co-star in the first major hardcore feature film, MONA, and Suzanne Fields shows up for a lesbian scene with her. The same blonde foreign chick who was Dobbs’ girlfriend in ZODIAC RAPIST plays the hippie who boffs Dobbs in the van. The guru is played by jolly fat man Jack King, most famous for playing ‘Uncle’ in Ronald Victor Garcia’s marvelous TOY BOX, among other character roles in California sexploitation films. For some irritating reason, After Hours has overdubbed the voice of Dobbs’ boss, as well as adding more stock footage of an observatory with more new dubbing and a needless stock explosion ending to cover up the fact that the print they found was incomplete. Ugh, why can’t they leave these movies alone??!!


Continuing his ongoing series of compilations featuring some of the hottest and raunchiest loops ever made, After Hours’ resident perv-at-large 42nd Street Pete returns with another volume dedicated to the famous faces and breasts of adult cinema’s finest name actress. I’m glad to see Pete return to commemorating the name stars of the porno chic era, as he did with 8MM MADNESS VOL. 2: SUPER STARS OF THE 70s STAGS (which yours truly provided liner notes for). Pete contributes introductions and liner notes for each short. Note to Pete: The correct spelling is Lisa de Leeuw, but thank you for pronouncing her name right!!

A rundown of the celebrities in each loop:
• “Nero Fiddles”: Sue Nero, Jon Martin (EXPOSED), Phaedra Grant (THE LEGEND OF LADY BLUE)
• “Coffee Clutch”: Vanessa Del Rio
• “Bottle of Wine”: Holly McCall (NOTHING TO HIDE), Ray Wells (“F”)
• “Lisa’s Lover”: Lisa de Leeuw, Tami Graph (cutie pie blonde who only did loops)
• “Annie’s Girl”: Annie Sprinkle, Mary Stuart (PASSIONS OF CAROL), Leo Lovemore (TEENAGE TWINS)
• “Candy and Dick”: Candy Samples (this loop is in black and white, but the color version can be found on Alpha Blue Archive’s GETTING OFF WITH CANDY compilation)
• “Raw Suzie”: Sue Nero
• “Seka Meets Rhonda Part 1”: Seka, Rhonda Jo Petty, R.J. Reynolds (CO-ED FEVER)
• “Chiquita Eats the Banana”: Vanessa Del Rio, Bobby Astyr (BABYLON PINK)
• “More Than a Threeway”: Annie Sprinkle, Alan Marlow, Levi Richards (good to see these two look-alike NYC actors performing together; they also appeared in separate scenes in PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN)
• “Seka and Rhonda Part 2”: Seka, Rhonda Jo Petty, R.J. Reynolds
• “Ass Licker”: Lisa de Leeuw, Tawny Pearl (TABOO)
• “Sandy”: Sandy Dempsey
• “Tongue Twisted”: Vanessa Del Rio
• “Lisa’s Threeway”: Lisa de Leeuw, Tami Graph, Johnny Harden (HEAVENLY DESIRE)
• “Artists and Models Ball”: Candy Samples, John Holmes
• “Sweet Seductions” (incorrectly called “Sweet Sensations” on the disc): Tawny Pearl, Mike Ranger, Tami Graph (this is a Diverse Industries loop, and their work was always lush and top of the line)
• Bonus Loop on Disc 2 “Nice Brown Jugs”: Desiree West (SEX WORLD)

(Casey Scott)