Director: Shaun Costello
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome does another Shaun Costello DVD duo with AFTERNOON DELIGHTS and SLAVE OF PLEASURE.

The AFTERNOON DELIGHTS of divorced buddies Alan, Frank, George, and Gary take a diversion from the usual poker night when host Pete (Eric Edwards, THE PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN) proposes a different kind of game in which they each tell the spicy story they have about their ex-wives and try to match the husband to the story. They write down the experiences of the various Mrs. Smiths and draw cards to determine who reads which story. Frank (producer Kenneth Schwartz, DRACULA EXOTICA) relates the story of late riser Mrs. Smith (Merle Michaels, FOX TROT) who is most insatiable at the time of day when her husband is at work, so she ends up getting jackhammered by construction workers Dave Ruby (SUNNY) and George Payne (THROAT… 12 YEARS AFTER). Gary relates how Mrs. Smith's (Veronica Hart, THE TALE OF TIFFANY LUST) "preoccupation with good health" includes novocaine-numbed ravishment by her dentist (Bobby Astyr, VIXENS OF KUNG-FU) and his nurse (Diane May, ANGEL BUNS). Alan relates Mrs. Smith's (Vanessa Del Rio, THE HOUSE OF DE SADE) predilection for seeking satisfaction in sleazy settings, notably a porno theater where the shedding of her masculine disguise leads to action on the other side of the screen in a sequence that looks like a straight version of a scene from CRUISING. George's Mrs. Smith (Samantha Fox, ROOMMATES) is a librarian who works out her frustrations as a dominatrix during her lunch hour on Alan Adrian (NIGHT HUNGER). Pete relates the story of aspiring actress Mrs. Smith (Serena, CHOPSTIX) whose "need to perform and her need for sex" find satisfaction when she inadvertently auditions for a porn film just in time to replace an actress who did not turn up. By the end of the evening, the players are less interested in the game than in meeting these Mrs. Smiths in the flesh.

As was the case with the previous Peekarama Costello duo of SUNNY and MORE THAN SISTERS, AFTERNOON DELIGHTS is a slick and entertaining flick with Costello and his performers in good form while SLAVE OF PLEASURE is a drearier affair in which the shortcomings outweigh the professionals like Jamie Gillis (THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN) and C.J. Laing (WATERPOWER) bring to the table. Private detective Dan McCord (Roger Caine, HERE COMES THE BRIDE) is hired by Richard Anselm (Costello, billed as "Russ Carlson") to find his missing wife Eileen (Roseanne Farrow, HOLLYWOOD GOES HARD) who went missing after an argument. Anselm has reason to suspect that his wife has not simply run off since he has been sleeping with her best friend Barbara (Laing) who has grown possessive and let slip that Eileen will not be coming back. McCord's inquiries lead him to suspect that Paris-based white slaver Henri Pachard (Gillis) may be behind her disappearance through the machinations of local operator Sultana (the spectacularly awful Gloira Todd, TAKE OFF) and her henchmen (THE MATINEE IDOL's Herschel Savage and SUNNY's Dave Ruby). McCord seeks out old associate Lefty Jacobs (Ashley Moore, HOT DREAMS) who reveals that Pachard's organization has developed a serum capable of rendering victims compliant, and it may be too late to save Eileen even if he is able to find her. Robert Kerman (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) appears as doctor in a film documenting the effectiveness of the serum on a test subject (Theodora Duncan).

As was the case with the other Peekarama Costello duo, the 35mm vault elements for A-feature AFTERNOON DELIGHTS look clean, bright, and colorful while SLAVE OF PLEASURE looks softer, grainier, and grittier due to the original shooting conditions and the archiving. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks get the job done but neither mix is extraordinary. Costello provides commentary tracks for both films (AFTERNOON DELIGHTS has a horrid theme song and utilizes "Bolero" made popular again after its usage in Blake Edwards' 10 while SLAVE OF PLEASURE utilizes Jerry Goldsmith music from CHINATOWN). On AFTERNOON DELIGHTS, he discusses his friendship with writer/producer Schwartz who had a film editing service he utilized for some of his films and his desire to produce a big budget porn film and have Costello direct it. Costello directed FIONA ON FIRE and DRACULA EXOTICA for Schwartz but reveals that he hated doing them since the actors other than pros like Gillis could not memorize pages and pages of dialogue on the first film while the latter film was butchered in post-production. With AFTERNOON DELIGHTS, he attempted to get "more bang for the buck" using vignettes rather than a linear story, a formula he discovered was successful and which he subsequently utilized with films like MIDNIGHT DESIRES. On SLAVE OF PLEASURE, Costello reveals that the film was made for Bob Dolan as the third "Dan McCord" film – following DIRTY SUSAN and THE FIRE IN FRANCESCA – and describes Al Levitsky aka Roger Caine as both a "very nice guy" but also the "worst actor ever." He admits to casting Farrow because he wanted to have sex with her, although here he is playing the lead and also cops to his foot fetish (noting that the actress did not have attractive feet) which leads to discussion of his pre-directorial career as a porn viewer and then softcore and hardcore loop performer for Jerald Intrator (including his documentary MAKING THE BLUE FILM which was a phony documentary in which he played a loop filmmaker). (Eric Cotenas)