Director: Phil Prince
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome's first Avon collection features a trio of shorts from Phil Prince.

A low budget studio with a focus on S&M features and shorts, Avon "bankrolled" some of the darker works of porn auteurs Shaun Costello (WATERPOWER), Joe Davian (NIGHT OF SUBMISSION), Carter Stevens (WICKED SCHOOLGIRLS), and the lesser-known Phil Prince whose output included a handful of shorts (some of which were more roughie than S&M) and the brutal THE TAMING OF REBECCA.

Although SAVAGE SADISTS come nowhere near to living up to its title, it is an incredibly scuzzy experience that is cheap in just about every way (the answer is definitely yes to one of the sadist's "Where'd they find you: in the gutta? In the gutta?") While housewife Mrs. Greenberg (Nicole Bernard, BIZARRE DILDO OBSESSION) is getting raped by two thugs (HYPERSEXUAL's David Christopher and FLASH PANTS' Dan Stephens), her husband Mr. Greenberg (Martin Patton, THE STORY OF PRUNELLA) is venting the frustrations of his job on one of his secretaries. The thugs are looking for Mr. Greenberg and learn from his brutalized wife that he works "in poyne" (or, porn) and decide the best way to get to the husband is to follow the wife when she goes to his workplace to demand an explanation about the money he owes their boss. Upon learning that the mob is after him, Greenberg hides under his desk while the two thugs arrive and force themselves on Mrs. Greenberg and her husband's two secretaries. Will Greenberg get the upper hand and rescue his women or join in on the "fun"?

So cheap the production could not even afford a doorbell (an off-camera voice actually chimes "ding dong"), the sets seem to be the opposite corners of the same room with the Greenberg residence represented by an ugly couch beneath a print of Richard Avedon's portrait of Nastasja Kinski and a python while Mr. Greenberg's office is a desk is probably one from which Avon conducted business. Casting is bottom of the barrel with some particularly unattractive performers making the sex ugly before the inserts and unpleasant before the film's limp-wristed bondage which is nothing like what fans of Prince's THE TAMING OF REBECCA have come to expect. The shoddy continuity is such that it appears to be less a matter of neglect than the director's attempt to cover a scene from several blown takes and inserting coverage from what was available (with Greenberg's secretary visible at the edge of the frame sitting beside him before she appears onscreen and then disappearing from other angles once she is seated next to him).

The DEN OF DOMINANCE is an impoverished-looking watering hole recommended to newly transplanted Bud (Patton again). The bartender (Christopher again) does not serve alcohol but the establishment does give "cock blanche" treatment (it may actually be "carte blanche" but the East Coast accents are so thick) to anyone who signs up with a Visa or MasterCard. Bud gets a sampling of the service from SAVAGE SADISTS' secretary with the saggy tits while another customer enjoys Ms. Bernard. Once Bud signs up, he and the others are permitted access to the equally threadbare "The Bizarre Room" where they witness an extended S&M performance featuring the other SAVAGE SADISTS secretary and Stephens. Miraculously aroused by the performance, Bud and company are moved to try out some kinks of their own. A tad slicker in design and construction than SAVAGE SADISTS, DEN OF DOMINANCE nevertheless fails to titillate. The performers are once again unappealing and the cottage cheese thighs on view suggest the club might not be low rent because of the paucity of budget. Stephens seems to have refined his trash talk so the S&M sequence has a modicum of tension but Price's fetish seems to lie more with the bondage accoutrement than the act itself.

The DAUGHTERS OF DISCLIPLINE are Rhoda (Robin Thorn) and Glenda (Victoria Sands), both home from college and looking really rough. The bored sisters discover their parents' BDSM magazines and Glenda becomes aroused enough to try to fist her sister. Having discovered a taste for dominance, they call pal John (David Christopher again) over and wear him out so that they can chain him up and clamp him down. When mommy (Nicole Bernard again) and daddy (Dave Ruby, THE TALE OF TIFFANY LUST) come home early, they decide the girls need to be punished for invading their privacy and apparently for presuming to take the dominant role (they unchain John and show him how to wield a cat o'nine tails). Thoroughly lacking in tension but more intensely performed, the film's taboo elements are softened somewhat by Ruby's over-the-top performance (cackling madly one moment and nonchalantly reaching sideways to smack one chained daughter intermittently while simultaneously railing the other from behind). Ruby stares into the camera and laughs madly for an uncomfortably extended period that turns out to be an unedited take when director Prince calls from offscreen "Okay, let's try that again" before we cut to back, giving the movie a trace of humor that all three of the shorts here could have used.

Scanned in 2K from 16mm materials, all three shorts undoubtedly look the best they ever have. Grain is heavy given the gauge and shoddy lighting, colors are generally bold and highlights seem to bloom from overexposure rather than any issues with the element or digital color correction (in some shots skin tones change from pinkish to off-white in others); yet every stretch mark is clearly visible even in medium shots. The Dolby Digital 1.0 tracks are clean and do what they can with the original sound mixes, which I am sure are more responsible for distortion rather than any audio noise reduction. There are no extras. (Eric Cotenas)