Director: Gerard Damiano
Vinegar Syndrome

Gerard Damiano takes pornography into psychologically dark territory with MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE, on Blu-ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome.

Aged Aggie (Deborah Ashira) lives in the snowbound middle of nowhere with wheelchair-bound companion Richard (Patrick L. Farrelly). Although she believes her feelings of sexual desire and longing to have died long ago, she is haunted by her inability to remember just how she and Richard met and the belief that something bad came of it. Richard tries to discourage Aggie's dwelling on the past, stating simply that "You made a wish and I came." As the water comes to boil for a cup of tea, Aggie spins a quartet of scenarios about their mutual past. Was she a blonde princess (Kim Pope, INTRUSION) in search of her prince (Eric Edwards, CORPORATE ASSETS)? A teenager (Mary Stuart, THE PASSIONS OF CAROL) whose budding desires were taken advantage of by a farmhand (Harry Reems, DEMENTED)? A prostitute (Darby Lloyd Rains, NAKED CAME THE STRANGER) in a brothel, and Richard (Ralph Herman) the trick who bought her freedom? Or was a she a lonely spinster who "saved" a drifter in search of himself?

A series of twenty-odd minute sexual vignettes presented as flashbacks by a framing story, MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE manages to make a cohesive whole out of its rickety structure by examining the effects of sexual repression. Aggie is presented either as a complete innocent with a vivid imagination or a girl blamed by her mother for her sexual curiosity. Both are vulnerable to the attentions of a charming male – either an equally virginal prince or a randy farmhand – and her surrender to passion seems to confirm that the badness is within her, as embodied by Aggie the prostitute who puts on a solo show for Richard that shows demonstrates more passion than the ensuing encounter. The final act moves into darker and shockingly gory territory, and the "twist" is still effective no matter how obvious. The photography of João Fernandes (THE NESTING), under the "Harry Flecks" pseudonym he adapted for Fred J. Lincoln productions, varies its look to the stories with the first in a backlit and diffuse manner, the second stark and chilly, the third subtly filtered to bring out the glint of Rains' lingerie, while the "truth" of the final one seems hinted at by not only the framing actors in their roles (stripped of old age make-up) but also the likeness in cinematographic texture. The creepy electronic scoring is credited to Rupert Holmes who IMDb suggests is the same Rupert Holmes responsible for the Pina Colada song.

Previously issued on DVD by Arrow Productions (DEEP THROAT) from a video master that must have looked dark and murky given the cinematography, MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE comes to Blu-ray/DVD combo from a 2K scan of archival 16mm elements in a 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that looks great considering the original photography. The image is grainy but there is a sense of depth in areas where the DVDR rip I saw before flatted out into gray, and more surprising than the pop of the reds of a Mountie suit, a slit dress, and spilled blood are the occasional warm colors sunsets and natural lighting to star-filtered candle light. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track is clear but subject to the limitations of the recording and mixing. Optional English SDH subtitles are thoughtfully included. Extras are limited to a video-source theatrical trailer (3:11) and a still gallery (2:34); however, the still gallery does include some newspaper clippings about the reception of the film as obscene. The cover is reversible and a limited edition slipcase is available when ordered directly from Vinegar Syndrome. (Eric Cotenas)