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), unsung porno superstars (Andrea True, Lysa Thatcher, Serena, Rhonda Jo Petty, Shauna Grant, Aunt Peg) and sadistic loops and scenes from the 1970s and 1980s. Now, Alpha Blue has branched out into burning the feature films from the vaults onto the digital format. The first phase of 10 discs are all worth having for those interested in the progress of the porno chic movement and exploitation film history.
CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER (1974)
Director: Lee Frost
Eddie, a lonely voyeuristic security guard, spends his nights cruising the streets of Los Angeles in a made-up cop car. He picks up a hooker and promises to drop the charges if she has sex with him...easier said than done, when he gets rough with her and forces her to masturbate in a puddle of mud during a rainstorm. On a tranquil visit to the beach, he accidentally witnesses a young woman (Angela Carnon, a superb skinflick actress) shoot her husband to death in self-defense. After a visit to a massage parlor run by a mustachioed Bob Cresse (and seeing a clothed Uschi Digard in a surprising cameo) and having sex with two massage girls, including Mindy Brandt, he fantasizes about "arresting" the murderess and having forceful sadistic sex with her against his "squadcar". Eddie finally visits the house and holds the poor woman hostage, forcing her to have sex in handcuffs and even dolling himself up in drag (!) for some sadistic bumpin' and grindin'. An exciting police chase leaves Eddie's plans in flames.
Alpha Blue's disc is unfortunately taken from a video master, with dropouts and tracking lines appearing often. It's too bad that a 35mm print wasn't available, as the film looks ugly and is often too dark to make out what is going on.
Chronologically the earliest of the Alpha Blue Archives Collection, Lee Frost most probably shot this as one of his softcore two-day wonders. In addition to ZERO IN AND SCREAM and (reportedly) RIDE HARD, RIDE WILD, Frost shot a series of ultra-low budget sex films in the early 1970s, and the look and feel of A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER seems to gel with these quickies. However, it only saw theatrical distribution in 1974, when softcore had gone the way of the dinosaurs (and after Frost had some kind of credibility as a director, hence the pseudonym "F.C. Perl" on this baby). It's doubtful Frost shot the hardcore footage for the release version (paging Chris Poggiali!), but it's actually pretty well-integrated. The viewer could actually buy that a given cock could belong to a given actor, and that an active mouth could belong to an active sex performer (the only exception to this is Angela Carnon's body double, who looks nothing like her).
The film itself, however, is a dour affair which drags during the fantasy sequences and the pay-off sequences of Carnon being terrorized by Carns come too late into the film. CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER was reportedly despised by critics and audiences upon its release for its nasty, sleazy theme of police corruption. While roughie hardcore films were all the rage in New York City, California didn't really warm to them as much in the 1970s, so seeing this in a theater was like seeing a fish out of water. As average as the film is, it's saved by another dynamite performance by Angela Carnon. Angela was reportedly a genuine actress, with stage training, who moonlighted in skinflicks between plays, and was one of few actresses in these films who used her real name on all her pictures! She also delivers top-notch acting jobs in BOOBY TRAP, DROP-OUT WIFE, and CONVICTS' WOMEN. A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER earns extra points for the groovy opening credits theme song, which is repeated on the main menu!
Director: Michael Hugo
In the annals of horror pornos, one title has gone down in history as the sickest, bloodiest, most nauseating one of them all: Michael Hugo's HARDGORE! Also offered by Something Weird Video as HORROR WHORE, Alpha Blue has also made this one available to the curious who wondered just how nasty horror porn could get! Well, this one has to be seen to be believed!
Cutie Dianne Galke (a one-shot wonder reminiscent of THE CHEERLEADERS' Stephanie Fondue) stars as Maria, a young nymphomaniac shut away in a mental hospital run by shady Dr. George (porn's "Joe Schmoe" John Seeman) and his staff of beautiful lesbian nurses. Maria finds every opportunity to indulge in sexual shenanigans with the nurses, but each one she beds dies a horrible death! And every night she wanders from her room, she falls into a dreamlike netherworld of Satanists, orgies and bloodletting! What does Dr. George plan to do with her young nubile body, and how can she escape her fate?
Alpha Blue's 35mm print of HARDGORE has good color, but features a number of white lines and instances of debris. The film features no credits, not even a title card, so it's anyone's guess as to who plays who besides the obvious leads (but it is clear that Joan Devlon plays one of the nurses and Turk Lyon is Dr. George's assistant). The mono audio is quite good. Unfortunately the disc suffers from an authoring problem which plays out the final minute and a half of the film COMPLETELY BLACK! Yep, that's right, just as the orgy is ending and Maria is carrying out her vengeance against the Satanists, the screen jumps to black and plays for a minute and a half with a black screen. Because of this error, the disc has been discontinued...however, Alpha Blue's VHS counterpart has also been discontinued. So what you're left with is 60 minutes is a 63-minute feature. Buyer beware, the film itself is enough insane fun without the finale, but this is an incomplete version nonetheless In a real sucker punch of a disappointment, the DVD cover features photos of the axe-wielding, candle-in-pussy climax!! The complete version is available from Something Weird's Bucky Beaver XXX catalog double-featured with Vanessa Del Rio's SEX SEANCE, so it's recommended to own both versions.
It's best to look at HARDGORE as a low-budget horror film with the addition of extended hardcore sex scenes. The atmospheric mental hospital, darkly lit chase scenes and Satanic sex ritual highlights (overseen by a masked, chanting Satan himself!) all would fit perfectly in a regional B-horror movie. The psychedelic tones of the film are interesting, as well, with one particularly inventive sequence showing Dianne Galke gliding down a hallway towards a kaleidoscopic colored doorway. The gore effects are appropriately moist and disgusting: a nurse's throat is slit and blood sprays all over; a Satanist's dick is sliced off in glaring close-up as Maria sucks on it’s a nurse's vagina is scorched by an electrified dildo (yes, plenty of smoke comes billowing out as she screams "Call the Doctor! Call my mother! Call the Fire Department!"); an innocent girl is beheaded as she is taken from behind by a hooded cult member.
Just as bizarre as the ritual sequences is a scene in "The Room", a blood-spattered hideaway where the dead bodies of nurses hang on hooks and lay on sheets, revealing all the effects of their demises. While John Seeman's assistant with a giant Afro has sex with a cold dead body (!), Seeman has his way with Dianne, who in her sex-crazed imagination whisks the two of them away to an all-white room where they have sex on a spinning table!! It gets even crazier: as Maria hangs in "The Room" as punishment, she has a vision of floating red dildos spraying gallons of semen all over her nude body! Huh?! Also enjoy seeing the boom mike shot during a normal dialogue scene, ensuring that each scene has something weird and wonderful going on. And, of course, the incredibly off-the-wall twist/shock ending will drive home the fact that all this craziness happens in just over an hour! Cult film fans should recognize the library music score from a variety of drive-in features, from Byron Mabe's THE ADULT VERSION OF JEKYLL AND HIDE (1972) to Bill Rebane's THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION (1975) to Russ Meyer's VIXEN (1968)!!
Much like 1970's SEX PSYCHO, one wonders who this film was aimed at and what the audience's reaction was to seeing such nasty violence mixed with sex! Rarely erotic but always fascinating, HARDGORE is a film often heard about and rarely seen. It's just too bad the complete film isn't available here to appreciate. The full uncut verson can be purchased from Something Weird, though, so if you want the full enchilada, it's well worth tracking down for that 90 seconds!
BUT MY HUSBAND (1975)
Director: Roberta Findlay
Roberta Findlay had been working in the hardcore field for a number of years by the time she shot ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND, which would serve as the catapult which drove lead actress C.J. Laing to stardom. C.J. stars as Nora, a very young housewife who married when she was 16 and at 23, has become too old (?!) to receive love and affection from her boorish high school teacher husband Sam (Robert Kerman, aka R. Bolla, in another reliable hardcore performance). Sam is in fact regularly sleeping with his students, including one who sends him scurrying down the fire escape when her mother comes home! Poor Nora seeks the advice from a quack, who suggests she have an affair to spice up her sex life. Her best friend, Sylvia (Jennifer Jordan in a great comic relief role, puffing at cigarettes in a long cigarette-holder), hooks her up with a variety of partners, including an art gallery owner with a fetish for bondage and discipline, a romantic Romeo-type (Eric Edwards in an over-the-top performance), and finally a lesbian fortune teller and her 13-inch Hispanic boytoy Tony Perez (whose sheer size should have given John Holmes worries!). Unfortunately, as Sam realizes he has been neglecting Nora, she has become a sexually insatiable swinger, who at the end of the day is too exhausted to even entertain ideas of pleasuring her husband!
Alpha Blue has created a composite print from a beautiful 35mm print and a faded video version, resulting in some obvious quality jumps. Heck, there are even tracking rolls which appear during some of the more controversial footage, such as C.J. simultaneously masturbating and drinking from a champagne bottle, C.J. being whipped by the gallery owner, and the most infamous scene, C.J. being vigorously fisted by Deanna Darby in a bathtub then deep-throating Tony Perez' full manhood (this is an astounding scene!). The music and video flows seamlessly back and forth between the cut and uncut versions, the drop in quality being the only clue that this is a composite print. Thank goodness the film is uncut, as it would play very differently without these key scenes included. The Tony Perez deep throat sequence is interesting because there is no money shot; C.J. is so into the oral that she never allows him to pull out, resulting in an in-mouth orgasm which must be seen to be believed!
Considering how dark most of Findlay's other porno films are, ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND is quite light-hearted, with a healthy sense of humor and ultimately could be one of the first feminist adult films ever shot. It's almost a romantic comedy from the 1940s like, say, George Cukor's THE WOMEN, with an unhappily married woman, her wisecracking comic relief, and a number of humorous scenarios. C.J. Laing delivers some great dialogue zingers ("If you swallowed 13 inches of cock, you'd be a little hoarse, too!") and while she doesn't have the full-breasted body of contemporaries Annie Sprinkle or Vanessa Del Rio, she is a unique, likable presence, even when performing the filthiest sex acts imaginable. It's interesting that she is playing a 23-year-old woman, but was in fact 19 years old at the time. Jennifer Jordan is very memorable as the "Rosalind Russell" character. Appearing in a comic sex scene with Robert Kerman is ruby-lipped Bree Anthony, the youthful star of the rough TAKING OF CHRISTINA (1976). An incredible departure from her earlier roughie roots, Roberta Findlay's ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND gets the highest recommendation possible. A gem of a film, adult or otherwise. Extra points for the first on-screen use of the cheesy synthesizer score best-known as the soundtrack to the American version of DR. BUTCHER M.D.!!
Director: Victor Milk ("Tony McCoy")
Harry Reems, the star of DEEP THROAT, became a celebrity overnight because of the film and its subsequent run-ins with the law, which usually had him sitting in jail or defending the film in the courtroom. Not as popular as his co-star, Linda Lovelace, but he got steady work in adult films and even found time to continue in his off-Broadway stage productions. The first male superstar of the 70s was also not afraid to appear in several notable roughies of the period. The more infamous is FORCED ENTRY (1975), where he plays a Nam vet rapist (co-starring with Diana Lewis/Laura Cannon, his love interest in FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET and sex buddy in ALTAR OF LUST (both 1972)). But SEX WISH is the more accomplished film and should be remembered today for its great cast and compelling storyline.
Harry Reems is Kenneth Bradshow, a traveling businessman who returns home to adorable fiancée Faye (C.J. Laing) after a trip to Japan. After a sensual sex scene in the bathtub which graduates to the living room, Ken gets off to an early start at the office next morning. As he leaves, Ken bumps into a stranger (Zebedy Colt)....who dashes up the stairs of the apartment building, forces his way into Faye's apartment and transforms her into his personal sex plaything. The poor girl has her mouth taped shut, her arms tied behind her back and must lay back as the nylon-masked stranger violates her with a vibrating dildo and whips her viciously until she bleeds. As he comes all over her, he screams as if someone has stabbed him in the gut (!). He finally slices her throat with a sword-cane... Ken comes home to find Faye's crumpled dead body and vows to track down the culprit with or without the police's help. As Ken stalks the streets, the killer breaks into a black couple's house and forces them to have sex at gunpoint. The soul sister (Candy Love) has some vicious dialogue to throw at the pervert...before he kills both of them and castrates the boyfriend!
Alpha Blue's disc is, like A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER, taken from a VHS master of the film. Colors bleed, tracking lines appear and motions are blurry. This unsung classic deserves a better transfer than this! Extras include the original trailers for SEX WISH and THE DEVIL INSIDE HER, a brief text page of "history" on the film and excerpts from the film UNWILLING LOVERS. This 1977 film, directed by Zebedy Colt, is apparently only available in a very poor quality video tape with very muffled sound. Colt stars as a semi-retarded man who still lives as a child in his backwoods home. His view of sex is distorted by memories of his mom and dad having sex then falling off a cliff, so he tries to emulate their sick sex acts with any girl he sees. Scene 1 stars Terri Hall as a young naked nymph on a picnic with her boyfriend who is mauled by a nude Colt! She cracks her head open on a rock, but that doesn't stop Colt from mounting her and screwing her corpse silly. Hall does an impressive acting job before she meets her maker, and this kind of necrophiliac perversion is the kind of great Colt filmmaking to be expected. Scene 2 stars Nancy Dare as a blonde girl on a date who has her blouse torn open and is forced to go down on her boyfriend in their convertible! Colt watches from behind a tree, then bashes the guy's head in with a rock, strangles Nancy and forces his dick into her mouth for a blowjob of his own. Scene 3 stars C.J. Laing (God bless her!) and Annie Sprinkle as two sexy girls giving a strip tease to Colt and the family gardener. Laing and Sprinkle indulge in sapphic delights before inviting the gardener in for a little fun as Colt watches like a child in front of the TV. Judging by the clips, this looks like a pretty good sordid little porno, and it was produced by Leonard Kirtman, the man behind the astonishingly bad CARNIVAL OF BLOOD. Alpha Blue offers it on VHS with no cover art.
Behind a pretty nondescript title, SEX WISH is a well-made, nasty, vicious hardcore roughie which would play just as well at drive-ins and grindhouses without the hardcore sex. The script is solid, with good characterization and dialogue for even supporting characters, the New York City location footage is great and every performance is a good one. Contrary to popular belief, star Zebedy Colt did not direct SEX WISH. It's hard to imagine how he could, as his psychotic performance here wouldn't give him time behind the camera! Colt rambles nonsensical dialogue, probably improvised, as he beats, rapes and tortures the unfortunate women who cross his path. To make his performance even more fascinating, Colt is apparently channeling several different personalities at once: a sexually degenerate man-child, the spirit of the prim and proper Marquis de Sade, even a disciplinary mother figure with lipstick!! This film also includes one of Harry Reems' best performances; where he was usually over-the-top in comic roles, SEX WISH finds him as the hero who must avenge his fiancée’s murder by cruising the city tracking down the villain. Sure, it's a little far-fetched that the night of the murder, he would get drunk and go home with hookers Deanna Darby and Tony Rome (a black girl, rare in these films), but it allows for a pretty erotic threesome scene with some rimming and a great closing line of dialogue by Deanna.
C.J. Laing is, like Terri Hall, still not being given her due credit all these years later. She was a recognizable name in the 70s, but not a superstar like other girls of the time, and in 2005, is a gem discovered only by a select few. Her unique face and perfectly shaped body kept the raincoat crowd happy, but she also possessed a great on-screen personality and was not a bad little actress, either. She became smut film "royalty" when she was given the second lead role in Radley Metzger/Henry Paris' BARBARA BROADCAST (1977). The fact that Laing is so adorable and likable makes her degrading rape scene all the more devastating. She reportedly now lives in San Francisco running her own restaurant. C.J., you're a doll who is sorely missed from the screen today. Gorgeous Terri Hall, who worked with Zebedy Colt in a number of films, was one of the very best actresses in New York City adult films, but despite her featured billing, she doesn't appear until the final 10 minutes of the film. She is a young hooker who is grabbed by Colt and dragged into a dilapidated building to be raped and murdered; nothing is required of her except to scream "Let me go!" and "Please don't!". More on Terri in the review of THE DEVIL INSIDE HER below. Sue Franklin, who plays Alice, the consoling neighbor who becomes the new love interest, is actually Nancy Dare, who made lots of hardcore film appearances. She's pretty good here, required to act more and only appearing in a very brief sex scene, and it's a wonder why she never really graduated to anything other than "featured player". Another supporting actress here, Candy Love, appears with her husband Ronnie Love (they were most probably a sex-show couple who performed live on-stage). Her forced-sex scene is very nasty, but may provoke some laughs when Candy's wig falls off....!
Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize Robert Kerman, aka R. Bolla, as the detective investigating Faye's murder; he doesn't appear in a sex scene. The film was edited by C. Davis Smith, who photographed all of Doris Wishman's best films (BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL, INDECENT DESIRES) and was no stranger to adult films himself. Simply put, SEX WISH is a must-see. It mixes stimulating sex scenes with nauseating violence, but relies on a storyline, good performances and a bizarre surprise ending to succeed as more than a mere fuck flick.
STORY OF JOANNA (1975)
Director: Gerard Damiano
Gerard Damiano was, for a long time, the best adult film director of the 1970s. His break-through hit DEEP THROAT brought pornography out of the backroom and into the mainstream, and he followed it with THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, another porno chic hit. Damiano was a director who cared most for the performances, the visual look and the script of each film, and he reached his career peak with THE STORY OF JOANNA. He would continue to make great films of the golden age of pornography, but none so eloquent, beautiful and erotic as JOANNA, his version of the classic "Story of O".
Jason, a mysterious and wealthy man, eyes the beautiful and innocent Joanna dining at a classy restaurant with her mother, and invites her back to his sprawling mansion for dinner. But little does Joanna know what sadistic and nasty behavior she provokes in Jason. Will she survive her stay in Jason's care?
Alpha Blue's widescreen print has seen much better days. There are red and white lines and little red "dust bunnies" which vibrate all over the image. All of the controversial S&M and gay footage is left intact, but for some reason this print omits a number of dialogue sequences which are present on the previously released AVC DVD. Most of the dialogue is missing because of print jumps. According to a detailed post by Scott Favareille on DVD Maniacs, this Alpha Blue disc also has its reels mixed up, resulting in each scene basically playing out of sequence. Alpha Blue has said they are planning to release a second edition with both widescreen and fullscreen versions to correct the missing footage problem, but this has yet to be seen. Extras include the original STORY OF JOANNA trailer and trailers for THE DEVIL INSIDE HER (with Terri Hall) and the Satanic Sickies and Sadistic Seventies series.
Damiano's film is probably the best-realized and classy of the Alpha Blue feature film series. The first 15 minutes of the feature plays like a sophisticated romance, with sweeping classical music played over every scene. But once dinner is through, Jason's sadistic streak comes out. He forces her to have sex from behind against the dinner table, and soon Joanna is tied up and being viciously whipped by Jason while the maid watches in dominatrix gear! In addition to Jason's vicious acts, Joanna is intrigued into a lesbian encounter with the maid. But it isn't long before Joanna begins to enjoy the bondage and painful games Jason throws her way. She even becomes the "party favor" of a group of Jason's aristocrat friends. STORY OF JOANNA looks like a Henry Paris/Radley Metzger production without the humor, and it's no surprise Variety reviewed it (positively) during its original run. The audience really feels for Terri Hall's Joanna, who continues to try persuading Jason to love her to no avail. Possibly the most powerful moment of the film is the butler's transforming of Joanna by shaving her pubic hair and cutting off her beautiful locks, while Joanna sits silently crying, tears streaming down her face as she watches in the mirror. The hauntingly beautiful ending, which really must have depressed many a theater audience, is not easily forgotten.
Jamie Gillis, who had been in loops and low-budget films since the early 70s, cemented his reputation as one of the greatest actors in the industry with his performance here. He has unconvincing grey hair color, but is still an incredibly convincing bastard! Gillis would play many sophisticated sexual deviants through his career, but this is probably his best along with THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN. Gillis is still active in the adult film industry, and still talks of the Golden Age with wonderful memories. Zebedy Colt, the infamous director and star of such sickies as THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and SEX WISH, plays the butler. He has a stand-out scene with Terri Hall, and it's pretty clear from their interaction in this film (he tells her quite believably, "God you are so beautiful") they got along well enough to work together in numerous films after this. Colt, a real-life homosexual, even gets to give Jamie Gillis a blowjob here!
This was also the major feature film debut of the late, great Terri Hall. A dancer for the Stuttgard Ballet (she displays her talent in a dance scene here!), she had previously made appearances in films by Lasse Braun and other New York filmmakers, but she was finally given a role which appreciated both her body and her acting talents. Terri makes the transition from fresh-faced innocent to insatiable vixen believably, and her performance ensured she would continue getting work in a number of films which would allow her to have lots of great sex and stretch her thespian muscles at the same time. Terri only really made her mark in adult films in the space of two years, 1976 and 1977, with a handful of performances thereafter. According to co-star Jamie Gillis, she fled to her hometown of Elmira, New York to live with her parents and died there in 1995 from complications of cancer. She left behind an incredible film legacy, with strong supportive fans who loved her performances, both sexual and dramatic. Recommended follow-up Terri films: THE DIVINE OBSESSION (1975), THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, THE TAKING OF CHRISTINA, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER, TERRY'S SWEET REVENGE, GUMS, THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (all from 1976). The other female lead, Juliet Graham, is most recognizable from her turn as the Queen of Hearts in Bill Osco's X-rated version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1977). She plays the usual dominating female role she was familiar with in other films of the time. According to Osco, she is still around and willing to talk about her career.
Damiano has a cameo in the opening bar scene, drinking a fruity drink at the bar, so audiences are permitted a look at the genius behind this erotic masterpiece. An A+ example of the genre which will hopefully be issued in a super-hetradyne special edition sometime down the line.
DEVIL INSIDE HER (1976)
Director: Zebedy Colt
Here is a real unsung gem of the Golden Age of Adult Films. Terri Hall (jeez, she was a busy girl!) is Faith, a beautiful young woman who lives on a New England farm with her family in 1826. Director Zebedy Colt is her father, an uptight religious man who whips Faith in the nude when he catches her holding hands with muscular, lowly farmhand Joseph (Dean Tait, who some may recognize from CRY UNCLE!). The two plan to marry, but Faith's sister Hope has feelings for Joseph, too. She calls upon the will of Satan to help her break the two lovers apart, but she is in over her head when the Devil has kinky, evil games in store for the entire family. He changes shapes to become Joseph, Faith, Hope and other members of the family to have sex with each person (yes, even between parents and daughters!) to take possession of their souls. In a bizarre subplot, Hope visits a witch who teaches her how to give oral by letting her service a blonde mustachioed wood sprite (Ras Kean)!
Alpha Blue's print is culled from a very good-looking 35mm print, with some grain during reel changes but overall is clear and features good-looking colors and acceptable sound. C. Davis Smith's accomplished color photography is preserved beautifully (gaze in awe at poetic longshots of Nancy Dare and Terri Hall huddled together in the middle of a barren field). In addition to the feature film, extras include a text bio and rare interview excerpts with director Zebedy Colt (who passed away in July 2004), trailers for DEVIL INSIDE HER, HARDGORE and SEX WISH, a clip show promoting Alpha Blue's SATANIC SICKIES film series and a bonus hardcore scene from the no-budget Satanic sex ritual film THE DEVIL'S DUE (1973) featuring Harry Reems and Andrea True (who co-starred together in Gerard Damiano's MEATBALL).
The film opens with a kaleidoscope of colors squirting amongst each other, obviously an homage to Roger Corman's similar psychedelic opening to THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964). Viewers may be fooled into thinking they're watching a dramatic low-budget horror film rather than a 42nd Street porno relic; other than Terri Hall's nude whipping scene, there is no sex until 14 minutes in (the film is 69 minutes!). It makes the sudden appearance of megahung Rod Dumont as a fiercely masturbating Satan with stretchy testicles that much more surprising!! Wow! The scene is accompanied by bizarre backwards-speak and chanting monks, letting the audience know they're in for a really twisted little sex flick. Amusingly, every person possessed by the Devil is immediately adorned with garish eye make-up which would make Divine jealous! A lot happens in 65 minutes, and Zebedy Colt manages to keep things always interesting and consistently surprising, even to veterans of Golden Age pornography. THE DEVIL INSIDE HER is a special example of the Satanic Sickie subgenre of 70s porno, and comes highly recommended.
Colt's film is very well-scripted, with the obvious names of "Hope" and "Faith" helping to symbolize a good Christian family being invaded, and the entire cast is believable in their roles. Dean Tait's tongue-wagging performance as the Devil in disguise is a little much, though... Tait is an enigma to adult film fans: he would play straight here, but in the same year would play a vivacious bottom boy/gay lover of Gerald Grant in Jerry Douglas' bisexual epic BOTH WAYS! Be sure to look for Annie Sprinkle bathing in golden showers and falling victim to all kinds of sadistic behavior in the Devil's Orgy climax scene, a sequence which led her to semi-retirement for three years! Best of all, Terri Hall delivers an atypically good performance for an adult film; her dramatic chops are head and shoulders above most of her contemporaries. She also gave memorable turns as the young innocent turned masochist in THE STORY OF JOANNA (1975) and the exact opposite as a sexually jaded actress training Constance Money in THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (1976). Terri was, and still is, a hidden gem of the adult film world, and remains an enigma to her fans years later. If you squint hard, she even kinda looks like Andrea Martin from SCTV! On a sad note, it was recently discovered that Terri passed away in 1995 in her hometown of Elmira, New York due to complications of cancer. She will be missed. RIP. Also of interest to New York exploitation film fans is that producer Leon De Leon is Leonard Kirtman, director of the incredible CARNIVAL OF BLOOD (1972)!
WITHOUT MERCY (1976)
Director: Shaun Costello
The name of "Avon Studios" is one whispered of in tones of perversion and wonder by fans of Golden Age pornography. No, the door-to-door cosmetics saleswomen didn't unite to make porno! This studio was named after a chain of theaters operated in New York City by the infamous Chelly Wilson and her lackeys "Murray" and Stella Stevens (no relation to the popular Hollywood actress). The Avon theaters would frequently balance showings of 8mm loops and underground adult films with live sex shows featuring performers like Marc "10 1/2" Stevens and Tina and Jason Russell. Jason, after divorcing Tina, would become the primary force behind the making of DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY, Avon's very first in-house production. He financed the incredibly low budget for the 16mm opus and recruited S&M specialist Shaun Costello to introduce the unsuspecting 42nd Street raincoat crowd to the kinky and perverse world of Avon films.
Plot? There is no plot in DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY! Beautiful Jewish princess Marlene Willoughby answers an ad in Screw magazine to a madame in a high rise New York apartment building. After walking in on a lesbian scene between hookers Terri Hall and Vanessa Del Rio, Marlene is shown the ropes by kinky older madame Ultra Max in another lesbian pairing. In a series of extended vignettes (much like 8mm loops with sound: Vanessa Del Rio has a pounding good time with handsome mustachioed John Leslie; leather-clad Terri Hall makes Fred Lincoln (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) her slave and orders him to mount her from behind; superclassy C.J. Laing (ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND) is angrily dominated by Marc "10 1/2" Stevens and his Coked-out Hispanic friend Marc Anthony; Hispanic spitfire Vanessa Del Rio and her terrified girlfriend are defiled and degraded by Roger Caine and Ashley Moore; masochist Grover Griffith is tied up, humiliated and pissed on by Ultra Max and Marlene Willoughby; and closet rope freak Jamie Gillis is used and abused by Ultra and Marlene.
Alpha Blue has been lucky enough to discover pristine 35mm prints of all the Avon films. DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY does feature several print jumps and frequent white lines and debris, but considering these films should by all counts be lost and have never been on video before, there really is no place for complaint. The mono audio carries across all the screaming, dirty talk and odd library music (which includes an instrumental version of The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back"!) beautifully. Extras include a series of trailers. This film's theatrical trailer, hosted by Marlene Willoughby, features most of the kinky highlights in a compact morsel. Trailers for THE DEVIL INSIDE HER, A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER (created by Alpha Blue, but which strangely isn't on that film's disc), NIGHT OF SUBMISSION, HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY and previews for Alpha Blue's Satanic Sickies, Big Tit Superstars and Sadistic Seventies series. Additional goodies can be found in a brief production essay by Sleazoid Express' Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford, an appreciative Marlene Willoughby stills gallery and a rare loop with Vanessa Del Rio and Marlene sharing one lucky fella!
In 62 minutes, DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY quickly becomes possibly the most uncomfortable and demented adult film which unprepared viewers have ever seen! The assault on Vanessa Del Rio is particular vicious and hateful, and seeing adorable C.J. Laing being turned into an unidentifiable fleshpot bound in miles of rope is an image that is hard to forget. And it's not often that adult films would feature a sadist clamping the breasts of a woman and dangling her in the air a la CANNIBAL FEROX (no blood!) as a highlight of eroticism! However, for every sequence of pain, there are some truly erotic moments: for one, Marlene Willoughby looks incredible in a black leather trenchcoat which she disrobes to reveal barely-there black lingerie. Avon's premiere film is not one to revisit very often, but is an essential piece of adult film history. This is as extreme as adult films got...and Avon would get worse and worse!
For more on the history on Avon Studios, read the incredibly well-researched and fascinating "Avon Story" article by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford at Alpha Blue Archives' website!
SUMMER IN THE CITY (1976)
Director: Gail Palmer
Filled with shag carpeting, giant Afro's and lots of gooey money shots, HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY is another Golden Oldie of the adult film genre. Of the ten Alpha Blue feature film discs, this is the only one shot out of the normal filmmaking arenas (New York and California). Shot on location in Detroit, Michigan, of all places, this super-roughie manages to tackle race relations and politics while staying true to its hardcore sex roots and injecting elements of the popular blaxploitation subgenre.
After refusing to go all the way with her boyfriend, Debbie walks into her home to find her mother being joyfully tag-teamed in her bedroom by two men. The shocked young girl runs into the street and is promptly abducted by a quartet of black ruffians, including a retarded fellow (shades of I SPIT ON HER GRAVE). Her screams of help are heard by an old man who refuses to help when he sees he would have to deal with rough black street thugs to save her! Debbie is raped by Duke, the leader, in the back seat, then taken to an isolated cabin to become their personal slave. She is forced to cook, clean and serve the men any way they want. The leader, Duke, takes possession of her but loses her to another gang member in a poker game, who beats her with his belt before raping her. He puts it more eloquently: "I'm gonna fill that honky belly o' yours with Black Power!" Duke begins taking a liking to young Debbie and becomes fiercely protective of her, especially when his former #1 lady, Black Orchid, threatens to slit her white throat!
Alpha Blue's 35mm print of HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY suffers from several print jumps, eliminating dialogue and portions of scenes. Colors range from faded to bleeding. Considering this film probably didn't see too much of a release, it's a stroke of luck that a print showed up all these years later. The mono audio gets the dialogue and music across well. Extras include trailers for HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY, HARDGORE (created by Alpha Blue), DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY, SEX WISH, A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER (also created by Alpha Blue) and Alpha Blue Archives' Sadistic '70s, Satanic Sickies, Teenage Lust and Big Tit Superstars series. Also included are two 8mm loops, "The Militant," with a Black Power militant beating up a hogtied white girl and forcing her to drink booze before having his way with her, and "Black Rape," with a black guy forcing another white girl to drink booze and have sex with him. A brief text page with original taglines for the film is negligible, except for the fact that it reveals that the director, "The Hare," released a tie-in paperback novel for the film!!
Directed by Gail Palmer under the alias "The Hare," HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY is unlike most adult films. It has a storyline and characters, but barely moves across the screen. It plays better as a documentary; the camera often sits still on dialogue scenes which seem improvised and Lisa Baker as Debbie seems appropriately stunned into silence. The numerous rape scenes are incredibly unerotic, but the film is best viewed as a hardcore version of Dave Friedman's THE DEFILERS (1965). A unique subplot finds a white politician paying the black gang to begin a race riot, there's a romantic sex scene between Duke and Debbie and a surprisingly violent climax pulls the rug out from under the viewer! Shot on pennies on sparse sets and using complete non-professionals, HOT SUMMER is a bleak depressing viewing experience, but one that comes recommended. It's also a hoot to hear unauthorized use of oldies like The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City", The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack", a song by The Five Americans, The Supremes' "The Happening," The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself" (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and Robert Knight's "Everlasting Love"!
OF SUBMISSION (1976)
Director: Joe Davian
Adult films of the Golden Age, from both the East and West Coasts, spawned a number of bizarre mixes of hardcore sex and the supernatural. Witches, black magic rituals, Satan worshippers and voodoo cults were featured in a number of favorite classic porno films, including this one. NIGHT OF SUBMISSION plays like a shoddy low-budget horror film with raunchy sex included, and at only 55 minutes, doesn't wear out its welcome.
An opening sex scene introduces our hero: a fat bearded lummox who is lucky enough to schtup his mistress Annie Sprinkle in front of a blazing fireplace (poor Annie....). He is a newspaper reporter who has uncovered a surefire frontpage story. A local bar he frequents is run by a black man known as the Red Baron, and his patrons are all members of a secret voodoo cult which holds its rituals in a beautiful townhouse (in Queens, it looks like). Innocent young girls are beaten with whips and tuning forks (!) and are violated by massive dildos! An orgy breaks out at the climax of one ceremony, with two or three guys to each girl. The only problem is that all pictures taken of the rituals turn out blank, so the reporter drags his bitchy wife to a ceremony where she is beaten and has her tits clamped while she screams bloody murder! In a twist ending, all the typed pages of the story become blank pieces of paper.
Alpha Blue's DVD includes a transfer from a good-looking 35mm print, with few instances of emulsion or jumps. Debris and lines pop up every once in a while, but New York City films aren't known for being preserved in massive vaults. The mono audio is good, capturing every moan and line of cheesy dialogue perfectly. Supplements include trailers for NIGHT OF SUBMISSION (hosted by Ms. Sprinkle), THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE STORY OF JOANNA. But the most interesting extra is a biography of Joe Davian and his involvement with Avon Films! The man apparently had a Dacchau tattoo! Extra points for including the gorgeous original poster art as the DVD cover artwork. Funnily enough, the film was advertised as being in widescreen but the feature is shown in fullscreen, with a few noticeable omissions of information on the sides. Or this could be bad framing on Davian's part.
NIGHT OF SUBMISSION is a rare departure from the Avon Studios by director Joe Davian. The man responsible for such favorites as HOUSE OF DE SADE, DOMINATION BLUE and APPOINTMENT WITH AGONY doesn't skimp on the violence and rough stuff here, either. It's perplexing who he directed this film for: all the Avon personalities are here (Annie Sprinkle, Vanessa Del Rio, C.J. Laing), and film historians often mistake this as coming from the infamous house of pain. The dialogue is almost all off-the-cuff; Davian probably just told the actors the set-up and told them to wing it for the cameras. They trip over each other's line and even interrupt each other; it's a joy to watch unprepared porno actors try to stretch their thespian talents. C.J. Laing is hilarious in a non-sexual role as the news photographer snapping photos through the apartment window; she uses an exaggerated Jewish yenta voice and improvises most of her comic dialogue. Every time the reporter patrons the bar, a dramatic Streisand impersonator warbles "Memories" to anyone who will hear her. Vanessa Del Rio is Marie, a bar waitress who invites the reporter to a ceremony and gets anally raped for her mistake! Helen Madigan is in here somewhere...and you might recognize Clea Carson, aka Loren Michaels (a waitress in BARBARA BROADCAST) as one of the cult members who has an extended sex scene with Red Baron during the climax. The sex is the dominating element of the film, and rest assured, it's quite heavy stuff. There's lots of cunnilingus, interracial sex (Red Baron gets to screw every girl in the cult, it seems!), leather bondage and plain old missionary position, all performed with reckless abandon. However, it all becomes a little much and the fast-forward button is a blessing. When approaching Avon-inspired roughies of the 70s, NIGHT OF SUBMISSION is an interesting curio but is far from essential.
JEANNE SILVER (1977)
Director: Alex de Renzy
For every one Linda Lovelace or Marilyn Chambers, there are at least 12 lesser-known talents with just as much personality and sexual panache. The most unique of these unsung exhibitionists is without a doubt Long Jeanne Silver, whose screen appearances still induce double-takes from viewers who haven't heard of her. Who is Long Jeanne Silver? Well, the late great Alex de Renzy's special film he created for her is presented here completely uncut and provides a glimpse into the mystery of Ms. Silver.
The film opens with a threesome scene with Jeanne Silver, Joey Silvera and Amber Hunt (CRY FOR CINDY). Normal porno stuff...until Jeanne whips off the black stocking she wears on her left leg and reveals...A STUMP! That's right, Long Jeanne Silver is the world's first (only?) amputee sex star, with a giant phallic-shape where her leg used to be! She takes it good from Silvera then gives it hard to Amber before the required moneyshot. Jeanne brings home a cute boy from her art class...only to discover he's gay and he wants to take on her stump! The most interesting scene is the dialogue leading up to a lesbian three-way where Jeanne plunges into China Leigh and Lori Blue. They discuss with Jeanne how she uses it as a phallus, her centerfold in Cheri magazine and how she was born with a birth defect that left her minus a leg (with a parrot squawking in the background!). It's like a scene out of a documentary, and provides a fascinating glimpse into Jeanne's personality and sex life. Paul Thomas and his wife invite Jeanne home to add a little spice to their sex life. The improvised set-up to Jeanne coming over shows Thomas' superb sense of humor. Capping off the film is Jeanne in yet another lesbian pairing, a mysterious brunette neighbor played by Kristine Heller.
Alpha Blue's 35mm print has seen better days; there are no credits to the film and the final send-off to the camera by Jeanne is truncated by print jumps, but colors are generally good. Extras include a superb Long Jeanne Silver stills gallery (with her entire Cheri spread and other magazine photos, all set to a superb mystery 70s song), a bonus scene from DESIRE FOR MEN (1981) with pretty Jeanne giving head and stump humping Carol Connors (also see a transsexual taken from behind by a black guy!), and trailers for PRISONER OF PLEASURE (more Jeanne!), DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY, HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY, THE STORY OF JOANNA and Alpha Blue Archives' Sadistic '70s and Teenage Lust series.
LONG JEANNE SILVER is really nothing more than a freakshow event which earned a fortune at the box office and made Jeanne the most-talked about adult film star for about five minutes. The sex is nothing special unless the stump is involved, and then the audience has to keep watching this trainwreck of a porno flick! Jeanne is a sweet young girl, with a pretty face, beautiful body and a healthy personality, so she's very worthy of having a vehicle built around her; she introduces each sexual segment with good-natured fresh-faced sexuality. Because amputee sex (clinical term: gomorrahy) never took off as a kink film element, Jeanne soon disappeared. What was left behind was an average, but completely unique star vehicle and a handful of appearances in other S&M-flavored films. She officially retired in 1985, never to return to the public eye. Where she is now is as much a mystery as who she was when she broke onto the scene.
Despite HARDGORE being discontinued, all the other feature films are available at Alpha Blue Archives' website and can be bought in bulk together for a discounted price. Only a few are available at other outlets like Adult Laser's Edge or Adult DVD Universe, so the ABA website is your best bet: http://www.alphabluearchives.com (Casey Scott)
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