Director: Fred J. Lincoln
Impulse Pictures

Late LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT star/porn auteur Fred J. Lincoln adds more philandering partners to SAME TIME EVERY YEAR, a hardcore variation on Bernard Slade’s play “Same Time Next Year” (which had been adapted into a film in 1978 by TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD’s Robert Mulligan and starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn).

Three middle class husbands depart for an annual weekend “lawyer convention” but their wives know what they’re really up to; and they don’t mind since the time apart allows them to have some fun of their own. The theme of the film seems to be that men require elaborate fantasies while wives just want to get down. Paul gives his wife Liz (Star Would) a farewell wham-bam and later reclines to enjoy an extended striptease from his feather boa-clad mistress (Lee Carroll). Liz, in turn, has a rustic interlude with fellow housewife (Jean Damage, aka Lynx Canon) after fondling with “Boo the Wonder Horse”. Michael (Mike Ranger) performs a lengthy striptease – mirroring Carroll’s aforementioned performance for the edification of females in the audience – for a pair of housewives (Kathy Harcourt and Carol Cie) after having told his fellatio-obsessed wife Nicole (Loni 'Haiku' Sanders) that “good girls don’t do that” but she finds satisfaction with well-endowed gardener Tony (Herschel Savage, billed as “Joel Caine”). Jason (Michael Morrison) foregoes a home-cooked meal from wife Melissa (Tiffany Clark) to enjoy an elegant TOM JONES-esque candlelit feast with (Isolde); Melissa, in turn, feasts on a pair of auto mechanics (Blake Palmer and Jerry Wad). Chauffeur Ron Jeremy, on the other hand, impresses a jogger (Holly McCall) with his boss’ Mercedes and is rewarded with a poolside threesome with her and her roommate (China Leigh).

It’s interesting that the men take on semi-servile positions (Robert takes direction from his mistress, Jason serves the meal to his like a butler, and Michael of course performs “stud service” of a kind) while the wives take advantage of the help (gardeners, mechanics, a female stable groom). The ordering of the sex scenes – some intercut and some playing all the way through – seems random at first (so much so that you may lose track of who’s who), but the juxtaposition become apparent as the film progresses. The photography of João Fernandes – credited as “Harry Flecks” a name concocted by DEEP THROAT’s Gerald Damiano because of the 35mm Arriflex camera Fernandes used – is crisp and colorful, looking nothing like one’s idea of seventies porn: grainy with bad lighting, muddy colors, dipping boom microphones, and dingy apartment locations (don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly cheap but not at all grungy). Fernandes would move back and forth between hardcore (THE TAKING OF CHRISTINA, THE STORY OF JOANNA), softcore (like Doris Wishman’s LET ME DIE A WOMAN), and genre work in the 1970s and early 1980s – including HUMAN EXPERIMENTS and Armand Weston’s horror pic THE NESTING) before moving on to the mainstream, lensing several flicks for exploitation filmmaker Joseph Zito (THE PROWLER, FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER) and later Chuck Norris (HELLBOUND, MISSING IN ACTION III, SIDEKICKS and more). Lacking the wit and stylish eye of Radley Metzger’s works, the kink of Damiano’s contributions, and the engagement with the characters of Chuck Vincent’s films, SAME TIME EVERY YEAR is simplistic and inoffensive, but it certainly delivers the goods. The end credits are composed of a series of outtakes.

Previously released on DVD by %10 Productions and by Alpha Blue Archives (in a double feature disc with Lincoln’s A PLACE BEYOND SHAME), SAME TIME EVERY YEAR has not undergone a meticulous digital restoration, but Synapse Films offshoot Impulse Pictures’ single-layer, progressive, anamorphic widescreen (1.89:1) generally looks clean – apart from some intermittent black spots and vertical lines – with bright colors and nice detail. The matting might be of concern with regard to obscured nudity with a softcore film, but this is hardcore and it’s all kept front and center. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track vividly renders the well-chosen library music tracks and the dubbed over portions of the moaning and dirty talk with a low degree of hiss. There are absolutely no extras and the menu screens look a bit cheap for the retail price (Distribpix’s new 2-discs of the Metzger retail for about five bucks more), but Impulse’s disc is likely a considerable improvement over the prior two DVD releases of the film. (Eric Cotenas)