Holy smokes. What a rough few weeks! Everyone I speak to is rushed off their feet, stressed, and otherwise overwhelmed, and yours truly is no exception. Nevertheless, I make sure to utilize my downtime efficiently by watching and thinking about copious amounts of hardcore movies. With that in mind, here is my latest installment of this quickies!
I discovered that this was actually worth watching by reading Yum-Yum's awesome review over at House of Self Indulgence. Thanks to her, I discovered one of the most interesting and "epically bizarre" (as Yum-Yum puts it) mid/late-80s porn flicks I've ever seen. In this "new beginning" Justine Jones is played by wild-peroxide-blonde Lois Ayres, and the tone is radically different from either Damiano's original film, or Henri Pachard's kooky and almost-brilliant sequel. After fucking Paul Thomas, who would appear to be the devil, Justine is propelled into her headboard and knocks her head, resulting in a surreal and delirious trip through hell in an effort to escape. Her guide is Jack Baker, who I remember behaving in a similar fashion as a pimp in Pretty Peaches 3. Not only is this an exercise in the grotesque, it's curiously erotic throughout. A must-see, in my book.
Naturally, after witnessing TDIMJ 3 with awe, I panted my way eagerly to installment 4, in expectation of continued awesomeness. I could not have been more wrong. While the previous installment is similarly deranged, it is also cohesive and moves along at a swift pace. This fourth flick feels like an afterthought -- perhaps even thrown away scraps from #3 cobbled together and shunted out onto the shelves. Not only that, it was pretty disgusting. Normally, I regard this as a quality, but Jack Baker incessantly rambling on about venereal disease, maniacally shrieking, "Drip drip! Drip drip!" starts to turn your stomach after a while. Worst of all, this film is boring -- effectively a 45 minute group sex scene followed by some random bits and pieces -- which is just about the opposite of #3. Boy, what a disappointment. On the other hand, this double-disc set has one of my favourite XXX typos, as both covers depicted on the box proclaim themselves to be Part 3. So, not a total waste.
I regard Anthony Spinelli as one of the finest hardcore directors, so I was excited to discover that I hadn't seen what is considered to be among is best films. After receiving my copy, however, I put off watching it for a long time after reading a review that made it seem like rape after rape after rape. Now, those of you familiar with my viewing habits will know I don't shy away from such fare, but it's not exactly something I kick back and watch after a busy day at the office. Finally, after a trusted fellow nerd described it as "fun," I decided this must be one of those flicks where the rape doesn't make you sick to your stomach, and I was right. In fact, this film isn't really a "rape" movie at all -- sure, there are a couple of rape scenes, but they're dynamic, thoughtful, and interesting, rather than exploitative and nauseating. Jesie St. James is a teacher who, after giving a student a BJ and then immediately masturbating to the memory of it, quits, goes through some heartache, and sets off on a sort of sexual journey. St. James is amazing, as is pretty much everyone else involved, and the film really took me by surprise with its intelligence and eroticism. This is easily one of my favourite XXX flicks.
Punk Rock (Carter Stevens, 1977)
After seeing two of Stevens more talked-about films, Teenage Twins and Rollerbabies, I finally sat down to this without terribly high expectations. I didn't expect it to be my favourite Stevens film (so far). I've developed a real soft spot for Wade Nichols over the years, but not really seen him in much, and Punk Rock sealed the deal for me. The title is misleading -- this is really a NYC 70s film noir, with little if any punk rock shenanigans, but I don't care. Drugs, kidnapping, murder, and other sleazy themes comprise this compelling narrative, which is well-told, well-acted, and well-shot. Stevens' films strike me as very low budget, yet with a high level of talent and creativity that elevate the films above their low-dollar origins, and for me Punk Rock is the cream of that crop.
Dr. Lust (Joe Verdi, 1987)
I just happened to see this movie on the shelves of my local store and thought, why not? It was cheap, and thankfully it wasn't bad. It's basically a vignette film, but done in the way I like vignettes to be -- cohesive and compelling. Vanessa Del Rio is a TV show doctor who takes calls from viewers/listeners (this is a bit confusing, as sometimes it seems like a radio show, and at other times it's as if she is looking at a camera...), and gives predictably sexy advice. Then there's a subplot about Jerry Butler (looking a bit worse for wear, it must be said) repeatedly calling, apparently enamored. That's it in a nutshell. Nothing special, but not boring, and I watched the whole thing. I guess that's a recommendation if you happen to see this for sale for $9 and like Vanessa Del Rio.
Dynamic Vices (Joe Verdi, 1987)
Also on the shelf that day was this flick -- same director, same year, and basically the same cast. I suspected it would pretty much be the same film, and it kinda was in terms of style, except that this one was great! Del Rio plays the owner of a sex club, where she hypnotizes men and women with her pussy so they become her sex slaves/workers. Nina Hartley and a dykish woman I'm unfamiliar with play a kinda Cagney and Lacey cop duo who are tracking Del Rio and using their sexuality to interrogate folks along the way. It's all super fun and engaging, but the thing most noticeable was the ample amount of attention to female sexual pleasure and perspective. This is one of those films where you sense something is different, and wonder, "Who is this for?" In this sense, I heartily recommend this seemingly-unknown diamond in the rough.