Director: Kemal Horulu
Vinegar Syndrome

Kemal Horolu tells a tale of decadence and despair in the 1980s porn classic NEVER SLEEP ALONE, on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome.

Dan (John Leslie, TABOO IV) and Lisa (Tina Marie, GO FOR IT) have a "beautiful open marriage" in which they are both allowed to sleep around. Things become tense, however, when Dan disapproves of her interest in his business partner Mark (Joey Silvera, SEXWORLD) as he would rather she did not sleep with their close friends. Lisa calls him on his hypocrisy due to his fervent interest in their neighbor Diana's (Honey Wilder, TABOO II) young roommate Natalie (Joanna Storm, HER WICKED WAYS). In spite of Lisa's jealousy, Dan appeals to Diana to arrange an assignation between him and Natalie while she is away with Lisa at a BDSM club. While Lisa whips George Payne (BLUE MAGIC) into shape, Dan has his way with Lisa. When Lisa finds out, she confides in Diana about wanting to get even, so Diana arranges an encounter between Lisa and Mark. When Lisa falls for Mark and starts to see him exclusively, Dan arranges some additional machinations with Diana that push Lisa over the edge.

One of the more strongly-plotted porn films of Horolu (whose LUSTFUL FEELINGS,THE VIRGIN AND THE LOVER, and THE SEXUALIST were among Vinegar Syndrome's early releases), NEVER SLEEP ALONE – made back-to-back and sharing some footage with AND WHEN SHE WAS BAD – succeeds in moving the audience in its game of musical beds primarily through the performance of Marie while Leslie, Silvera, and Wilder do their usual dependable work in and out of their clothes. The story is strong but still thin enough to accommodate vignettes between Ron Jeremy (ROOMMATES) and Tigr (STAR ANGEL), dominatrix Sharon Mitchell (THE VIOLATION OF CLAUDIA) and Alan Adrian (A TASTE OF MONEY), as well as a threesome between Wilder and two guys at Plato's Cave, Wilder, Leslie, two Girl Scouts (Tigr and CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST's Sharon Kane) and a vibrator, and Silvera, BAD GIRLS' Lenora Bruce, and OUI GIRLS' Anna Ventura in the locker room of the tennis club.

Transferred from a 2K scan of the original 35mm camera negative, the image is bright and colorful in a very eighties porno-chic way – courtesy of Bob Chinn's regular DP Ken Gibb (HOT LEGS) – with a virtually flawless image apart from what looks like a bit of patch-up from a print in the first few shots of the third reel and an odd frame tear. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio is fairly clean and the dialogue mostly clear with some fluctuations presumably the fault of the original mix rather than the mastering. Besides the film's trailer (3:35), the disc includes an audio interview with actress Storm that is playable as a secondary audio option over the film, but it is not a commentary. Storm discusses her beginnings as a topless dancer touring the country before getting into film. Although she had not seen any of her films and had changed her life when she got married, she is now single and has familiarized herself with her works courtesy of DVDs provided by interviewer Casey Scott. Her observations about her various films are more general than her memories of working with specific directors and performers, but she does feel as if she was lucky to have worked during a period in which porn was still shot on film with actual screenplays, shown in theaters, and promoted on the street like more mainstream works. She also discusses the differences between working in porn on the east and west coasts in terms of budgets and ambition. Since this is not a film-specific commentary, it makes quite a nice supplement to the Rialto Report podcast interviews. (Eric Cotenas)