Director: Alan Colberg
Vinegar Syndrome

The latest Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama double feature showcases a pair of works by the less prolific director Alan Colberg (FRANKIE AND JOHNNY WERE…) starring John Holmes, including one of his "Johnny Wadd" flicks.

In ALL NIGHT LONG, the Hearth and Home Society – dedicated to the "contentment and satisfaction of man" – plans to bestow its honor of "Golden Rod Mascot" to one of two competitors – John (Holmes) and Ric (Ric Lutze, LES CHIC) – who is "up" to the challenge of an all night long sex marathon. Both men are given envelopes with the addresses of their first encounters, will be given envelopes to their next encounters by the previous, and the first one back is the winner. Speeding off into the night, John first winds up with Lotus Flower (Suzy Chung, EPISODES OF AN ORIENTAL KITTEN) – who looks more ridiculous than sexy – while Ric gets Tawny Wilder (first black porn starlet Patricia Lee, METER-MADES) who has already had three orgasms so Ric will have to work extra hard to pleasure her. Their next assignments are snake-fondling dominatrix Susan Strong (Sharon Thorpe, BABY ROSEMARY) for John and girly Patsy Sweet (Sally Treach, FEMMES DE SADE) – who has an appetite for "suckers" – for Ric. Their final encounters prove to be the most strenuous as an exhausted Ric finds himself falling for Lady Love (FANTASY IN BLUE's Toni Scott, strangely billed as "Rikki Gambino") while John has a threesome with "I'm Yours" (Veronica Taylor, SKI HUSTLERS) and "Me Too" (Joan Devlon, NIGHT PLEASURES). All of the action, viewed on closed circuit television, has got the society members so hot and bothered that they may not notice who gets back first in order to proclaim a winner.

While I have sometimes complained about the "plotting" of some seventies porn films I have reviewed here, it's usually because the story is such that it's unfortunate elements are not better developed, or that what is developed ends up being distracting because of what isn't. In the case of ALL NIGHT LONG, the sketch of a premise is more than sufficient to drive the film from one sex scene to another. The women are attractive and relatively fresh-face (i.e. not over familiar from tons of other films), the two lead males give something akin to performances with what little they are given (presumably they are just playing themselves), and the film has good production values, some striking set design, and attractive-if-functional photography. The sex scenes themselves are explicit but seem uninspired to varying degrees, as if the filmmakers were in just as much of a hurry to get them out of the way as the two contestants, but they cover all the bases in terms of acts and camera angles. Softcore sexploitation actor Patrick Wright (THE CHEERLEADERS) plays the M.C. and his wife Tallie Cochrane (THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS) plays one of the award winners, while George "Buck" Flower (THEY LIVE) plays society member Painin Theass.

A "Johnny Wadd" film not directed by Bob Chinn (but with creation of the character ascribed to him in the end credits), TAPESTRY OF PASSION has Johnny (Holmes) engaged by wealthy Jean Osborne (lovely Leslie Bovee, STARLET NIGHTS) to find the murderer of her "sex freak" brother Tom (John Leslie, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FLEA), the suspected latest victim in a series of ritual sex murders. Tom's wife Pat (Annette Haven, MARASCHINO CHERRY) blames Tom's lifestyle for his death and wants Johnny to drop the case. Johnny gives her some of what she's been missing from her husband, and she ends up doubling his salary to find the murderer. A search of bars, strip clubs, massage parlors, porno shops, and classified ads leads Johnny to "The Black Widow's Nest" where Wytch Adder (a snake-fondling Sharon Thorpe again) – with the help of servant/petty thief Carl (Mick Jones, SHARON'S ROSEBUD) – poisons her clients (like a spider) and them rides them in their death throws. Johnny plays hard to get with the black widow herself and instead administers a probing interrogation to the widow (Patricia Lee again) of her latest victim in order to be sure about the connection between the victims. When Carl leaves a calling card of a real black widow (actually a rubber spider funnier than the mechanical ones in Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND or even the fuzzy stuffed toy in Jess Franco's EIGHT LEGS TO LOVE YOU), Johnny decides to screw a confession out of the black widow.

Featuring virtually no mystery but just enough of a straightforward plot to move from one sex set-piece to another at a good clip, TAPESTRY OF PASSION is as well-made as ALL NIGHT LONG but a bit more leisurely (to its benefit). Bovee and Haven look great but have little to do other than screw, but Thorpe goes from cheesily theatrical to wonderfully over the top at the crack of a whip. Holmes is fairly personable, but the usually suave or sleazy Leslie makes more of an impression as the victim of an ultimately fatal compulsion (Jones isn't really given much to work with other than "lurking/hulking black servant"). It's all in good fun, even if Holmes just tip the line into misogyny not so much with his roughness during the climax but some unnecessary name calling directed at Thorpe's villainess.

Both films were scanned and restored in 2K from their original 35mm camera negatives and look as good as the original cinematography allows. The colors pop, there's no distortion in the gel lighting, sharpness is dependent on the camera focus which sometimes drifts or is not accurately adjusted when the camera moves. Shadows tend to be underexposed and a little grainy, but both films still look reasonably professional. The Dolby Digital 1.0 audio tracks both contain a noticeable layer of hiss, but dialogue is always intelligible. The only extras are trailers for both films (3:34 and 3:28, respectively). (Eric Cotenas)