Director: Carlos Tobalina
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome's latest Peekarama pairing is a mind-numbing double bill from the inexhaustible filmography of Carlos Tobalina.

FANTASTIC ORGY is ostensibly the story of Iris Medina (THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE), a woman so horny she seeks out a job working behind the scenes in pornography. What is really is, is a compilation of just about every outtake Tobalina shot for HER FINAL FLING (including takes botched by mis-threading the film which Medina explains as her fault because she was too turned on while loading the camera), THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE, I AM ALWAYS READY, and probably whatever else Tobalina shot in 1977. Medina (or whoever dubs her) monotonously rambles on in voice-over about how horny all of the onscreen sex is making her, as well as espousing Tobalina's pornographic utopian myth that pornographic actors have sex on camera purely for the pleasure they bring their audiences and each other (as well as the idea that starlets don't mind at all giving the horned up crew some relief between takes for the good of the film). Eventually, Iris gets to appear on camera, first in a clothed cameo in one of the HER FINAL FLING orgies, and then in a realization of her fantasy of having sex with John Holmes (who can be seen elsewhere sitting off-camera during an orgy looking bored). The fact that Iris has to point out the presences of Holmes, Annette Haven (DRACULA SUCKS), Sharon Thorpe (BABY ROSEMARY) and Ken Scudder (PRETTY PEACHES) pretty much reflects how interchangeable they are with any of the other orgy participants (as opposed to films we usually remember them from where they get to not only perform but also convey some of their personalities onscreen). Leslie Bovee and Paul Thomas (referred to by Medina in voice-over as "Philip", as in his real name Philip Charles Toubus) also appear in outtake footage (as well as Joey Silvera in some black and white footage).

In CHAMPAGNE ORGY, Tobalina and company have just finished a film and he wants to throw a champagne wrap party at the Kubrickian house of one of his actors. Tobalina just wants a fun party without any sex or other shenanigans; but the hired waitress has spiked the champagne, and the production manager has instructed cameraman Fernando Fortes (I AM ALWAYS READY) to be ready for action. Soon enough, the various guests – among them Jon Martin (HOT LUNCH), Bonnie Holliday (THE JADE PUSSYCAT), Valerie Darling (YOUNG DOCTORS IN LUST), Mike Horner (SEKA'S FANTASIES), Dorothy LeMay (TABOO), David Morris (DEBBIE DOES DALLAS), Misty Regan (THREE RIPENING CHERRIES), and Brooke West (CARNAL HIGHWAYS) along with such stimulating personalities as "Buck Nekkin" and "Tootsie Rolls" – are tearing off each other's clothes and making a mess of the minimalist apartment. Tobalina – whose wife makes sure he is drained dry before each shoot – eventually gives in and tells Fernando to shoot away since he'll be paying for it in the end.

Opening with an endless nine minute excerpt from the orgiastic action to come, CHAMPAGNE ORGY is probably true to life with Tobalina inviting over a bunch of people (mostly porn performers) to have sex so he can capture it on camera in long, lingering, zooming, and focus-lagging takes that would make even Jess Franco want to storyboard (as opposed to Tobalina's more "plotted" films in which there is at least some pretense of characterization and camera composition) from which he can form lazy films around. Tobalina's approach here crams in much spurting genitalia but to lesser effect than the more traditionally composed sex scenes with insert cutaways. Presumably some of the guests – including the ones who are not recognizable from other films – are interesting people, but they're just sweaty flesh here with no stand-out "performances" or much variety in the action and a lot of bored faces (including a guy getting a blowjob who yawns right into the camera). There's certainly a reason that a lot of Tobalina's filmography has not been well-represented on VHS and DVD before Vinegar Syndrome's admirable restorations which do not always unearth buried classics.

FANTASTIC ORGY's progressive, anamorphic (1.78:1) transfer is variable, subject to the patchwork source of outtakes (including the aforementioned mis-threaded HER FINAL FLING reel) and new footage but with generally crisp detail and attractive color. There is some hiss on the Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track, but it's almost entirely voice-over and music (with a few bits of sync sound dialogue coming across without any distortion). CHAMPAGNE ORGY's progressive, anamorphic transfer looks even better thanks to the flat lighting and light bouncing off all of the white surfaces to fill areas that might have been underexposed otherwise (it looks like the orgy was shot during the day with the sunlight streaming in through the windows). There are one or two shots where there might be a momentary light leak, but that's the fault of the photography. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is in good shape (the recording levels of the dialogue are variable but the boom operator probably couldn't get too close with Tobalina's camera rarely moving in past medium shots). The presentation has no optical credits, with its title sequence composed entirely of a zoom into the film's title on the poster art and then a pan down to the credits listing. The sole extras on the disc are trailers for the films (2:47 and 4:15, respectively). (Eric Cotenas)