THROAT… 12 YEARS AFTER (1984) Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Director: Gerard Damiano
Vinegar Syndrome

Seventies porn maverick Gerard Damiano addresses his first big hit with THROAT… 12 YEARS AFTER, on Blu-ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome.

Five years into his marriage to a woman who thinks keeping her slippers on during sex is the height of kink, sexually frustrated Walter (George Payne, THE TAMING OF REBECCA) picks up a nineteen-year-old hooker (Sharon Mitchell, NEVER SLEEP ALONE) for a one night stand, but it is he who turns out to be the "virgin" in terms of relative sexual experience (illustrated by a vignette from her high school days blowing a classmate through a chain link fence) and he leaves both invigorated but also feeling guilty. When even the meter reader Joe (Eric Edwards, CORPORATE ASSETS) can see that her marriage is unhappy, Walter's wife Marsha (Michelle Maren) confides to him that she does have sexual fantasies but she is just as embarrassed to ask Walter to do things as she is to do the things he asks of her. Impulsively throwing herself into a fling with Joe, Marsha ponders whether she still loves Walter and might now be capable of being more sexually free with him just as Walter is also reconsidering his marriage in light of his indiscretion. Their friends Andy (Joey Silvera, SEXWORLD) and Louise (Sharon Kane, ONE WAY AT A TIME) have an entirely different set of problems. Both unrepentant swingers, Andy likes to frequent the "everything goes" S&M sex club "The Sewer" with his partners (the most recent being HER WICKED WAYS' Joanna Storm) while Louise prefers letting her fingers do the walking by ordering up hookers of both sexes (TABOO IV's Jerry Butler and OLYMPIC FEVER's Laurie Smith); yet, both are pondering why they carry on with a consenting open relationship when they both admit to one another that they are each other's perfect partner.

With the tagline "A reflection NOT a sequel", THROAT… 12 YEARS AFTER is indeed not a sequel as there are no carried over characters nor does anyone have a clitoris in their throat; rather, the "reflection" might be on how sexual attitudes have changed and grown since the film as well as how cinematic pornography has evolved artistically and culturally since 1972 (with 1984 being considered the end of the "porno chic" era). The result is slick with nice production values, slick photography, and a soundtrack with original songs, but the film's dramatics are uneven. Just as we are starting to relate to the Walter/Marsha storyline on a level beyond titillation, the film switches over to Andy and Louise with a decidedly lighter tone as if it were two different films as the remainder is filled out by admittedly entertaining sex scenes but with less depth than it seemed to have been attempting in the first half. The male performers give dependable dramatic support, but it is the women that are surprising and most engaging, from Maren's angst and Louise's cynicism to Storm's bubbleheadedness and comic relief of The Sewer's saucy "mother" Annie Sprinke (THE AFFAIRS OF JANICE); that said, Silvera is actually touching when his character confides to his wife that she was the first to make him feel like a real man, and that he goes to The Sewer nightly out of a need to repeatedly prove his manhood. The film ultimately runs out of steam before it tries to cleverly tie things together.

Released on VHS by VCA in the eighties, THROAT… 12 YEARS AFTER comes to Blu-ray/DVD combo in a 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen transfer from a 2K scan of the original camera negative, and the results are wonderfully crisp and colorful throughout apart from the coarser looking opticals of the title sequence. Colors are bold in the wardrobe and the gel lighting, from the infernal reds of Walter's encounter with the hooker to the lingerie Marsha has bought but never had the nerve to wear before. Some exterior shots look softer and grainier, but these are either stock images or were perhaps shot with an extra long focal length lens to be unnoticed by the public. The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono track has some hiss and crackling in the silences but the dialogue is always clear and the music has a lush presence from the title theme onwards. Following A TOUCH OF GENIE, this is the second hardcore Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray/DVD combo title to include English SDH subtitles (transcribing song lyrics, dialogue, and ascribing SDH designations to groans and grunts).

Extras start off with an audio interview with actress Sharon Kane moderated by Casey Scott, in which she discusses getting her start with live sex shows while looking to pay her rent and schooling, but she would also tour as a clothed dancer with music groups. She moved onto film when the sex shows got monotonous and discusses the differences between West Coast and East Coast porn filmmaking of the time. She also provides recollections on the film and working with Damiano, as well as discussing her experiences with other cast members and other notable credits. "Making Michelle" (31:48) is a moving interview with actress Marin who reveals that she took off to New York at seventeen to be a star and was escaping a both a violent relationship and memories of being molested as a child by two pediatricians. She discusses how she moved from beauty pageants to modeling to nude modeling before landing dancing roles in two adult films (clothed in the FLASHDANCE parody FLASH PANTS and topless in the PORKY'S parody PIGGY's). She concedes that throughout her modeling and short porn career that she was seeking validation in the wrong ways and the wrong places, realizing that she really did not want to be doing this sort of work on PUBLIC AFFAIRS. She worked for a short time as an escort but quit the day she learned that a colleague died from AIDS. Of the film, she shares some fond memories of Edwards, Payne (and his dieting tips), and Damiano but she still cannot watch her sex scenes although she is critical of her own acting in the non-sex scenes. Also included is "Filming Throat" (20:15), an interview with cinematographer Larry Revene (previously interviewed on Vinegar Syndrome's release of Roger Watkins' CORRUPTION) working on Chuck Vincent productions at Damiano's Adventure Studios (a former restaurant) before getting to meet the man. He sheds some light on Damiano's partnership with studio owner Vince Benedetti who both went to hairdressing school together to meet chicks. He discusses how his own experience directing meant that he and Damiano often did not have to discuss the shot setups, and that he worked with a number of actors several times because they had appeared in other films being shot at the studio, offering up some capsule commentary on performers like Ron Jeremy and Barbara Dare. The theatrical trailer (3:26) is also included. (Eric Cotenas)