Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama Review: Little Sisters (1972) / Powder Burns (1971)

(1972, dir: Alex deRenzy)

"The maker of Censorship in Denmark & History of the Blue Movie has reached a new plateau in adult films."

As you can see, there is no written review for Little Sisters. I have however, recorded an episode of Mondo Squallido looking at the film. Find out what I think of it by clicking this lovely video:

(1971, dir: Alex deRenzy)

  After a montage of the vastness of the desert (we're nearly in Herzogian territory here!) we are thrown balls deep in to a small shoot out. Yep, welcome to the Old West! Well, not exactly! Aside from cowboys, horses and fitting music, we also have chaps wearing aviator shades and scrapped cars laying about. The year is actually 1969 and we're in the small town of Sewer Pipe Creek. The local sheriff (and barkeep) is having a spot of trouble with the pesky McNasty Brothers, a trio of brothers who like to cause chaos in the town for a couple of weeks once a year. Our hero runs the scum out of town and as a result, his saloon girls aren't too happy because although a troublesome threesome, they spend more money in the town in two weeks they are gallivanting than the locals do in a whole month. Cut to a year a later and we see the now former sheriff pondering on his career and life as he knows it. After trying to unsuccessfully woo his only remaining saloon girl, a new face appears in town. A young and curvy blonde go-go dancer nicknamed “The Golden Dream”. She struts her stuff (and what a lovely pair they are!) for the barkeep and his pals. She is an instant hit, sparking the barkeep to dream of the business opportunities his new dancer can bring to town. As he's drooling over his new busty business venture, the McNasty Brothers are padding out the run time by slowly (I mean VERY slowly) roaming the desert and causing yet more mischief. They eventually return to Sewer Pipe Creek. Will history repeat itself? Well, after some innocent enough drinking and frolicking with the new dancers (that was quick barkeep!), a fight breaks out between the brothers and a couple of locals, resulting in another shootout in which all those involved are killed (even though you can clearly see them still breathing) leaving the girls to rob the corpses! Yep, your guess is as good as mine?
What can I say about Powder Burns? Not that much actually. What we have here is an ultimately unforgettable film. A clumsily staged and acted outing that has more unintentional entertainment that intentional. Don't get me wrong, the comedy element works with some genuinely funny dialogue from our sheriff / barkeep. There's some nice talent on show too. Unfortunately, none of the girls are really credited, which is a shame because even though the film lacks in terms of story (an almost porn take on Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns if you will), acting and visually appealing technical elements (with the exception of the occasionally interesting use of handheld cinematography), the girls are very nice indeed and I want to see more! There are some rather odd elements too, including an extended and sped up sequence of people drinking at the bar. I have no idea why that's included, but it is and I suppose it adds to the charm (if a deRenzy film can be charming!) of the film. It's inoffensive enough, but I could see some people having major problems with some of the out of place and odd sequences. If you're here for the porn element, you may also be disappointed as the small amount of actual sex is clumped together within the final third. Yep, this is an unconventional (just like a deRenzy film should be) piece of early porno to say the least. I didn't hate the film at all, I was just expecting much more. I mean, it's Alex deRenzy making a meta western porno! It should have been more entertaining than it was.

Overall, Little Sisters is the better of the two films. Powder Burns just completely pales in comparison. That being said, how can I be too harsh when we are presented with two of deRenzy's earlier works on one disc? It's great that we are getting his work on legitimate disc in the first place! Both films are quirky and unconventional in their own way so folks looking for a different adult experience should give these a try. If you are a fan of deRenzy, chances are you already own this release. If you want a fun experience, then this is a nice double feature that is sure to go down a treat at a drunken gathering! Both films are presented in their original aspect ratio and have been cleaned up as best as possible by Vinegar Syndrome. There is clear print and sound damage, but you have to remember that chances are the original prints were probably not in the best shape. The bottom line is this is the best presentation of these films we will ever get. There are no special features on the disc, but like I said, these are two early deRenzy films so we should be thankful we have them widely available. Let's not forget that the Peekarama series is always brilliantly priced, so you are definitely getting your money's worth. This is a must own release and I look forward to what deRenzy treats we will get from Vinegar Syndrome in the future!

The Little Sisters and Powder Burns double feature is available from Vinegar Syndrome here as well as your favourite online retailers.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Vinegar Syndrome Reekarama Review: Come Under my Spell (1979) / Lady Dynamite (1979)

(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1979)

The film that will bring you up to a joy you're paying for!”
  The film opens up in hip and swinging San Fransisco and instantly we are introduced to some heavy student action. Before the memories of university life get the better of me (yeah right!), we are introduced Fernando, played by Fernando Fortes (I Am Always Ready). Fernando is a foreign exchange student who really, really like animals! Unfortunately for him, he hasn't had any human action since arriving in America. Thankfully, his friend Dave, played by Blair Harris (Teeny Buns) is on hand to try and rectify that. He sets Fernando up with a threesome, but it doesn't go to plan. Being the good friend that he is, Dave decides to cheer him up by buying a cheap copy of a sexual hypnotism book. After studying hard through the power of montage, Fernando embarks on his sexual adventure one woman at a time. He even gets to see some lesbian action! To show his gratitude, he allows Dave to join in from time to time, even if it can get messy (don't worry, you'll see!). The pair even take their creepy new trick to Dave's family at a wedding. How far will they go? How many notches will Fernando and Dave rack up? Will it get in between their friendship? You're either going to have to watch for yourself or find your own hypnotism book!
  Come Under My Spell is as innocent of a film about unwilling sex as can be I guess? The film is played as a slapstick comedy that I'm sure all the feminists and social justice warriors will adore! I found the comedy to be hit and miss. You will laugh more at the clumsy dialogue, especially when it's being delivered by Fernando. Aside from having a few memorable moments, the film does suffer from the occasional dull patch. In terms of the sex, it does deliver. That being said, you will be unintentionally balling (no pun intended) at the sight of little Fernando in nothing but his socks and his arse bouncing around, he's clearly having major fun! I often sigh at Tobalina's extended use of the orgy scene, but thankfully the one (yes, only one!) in this film is much more tolerable than usuals. Thinking about the film in terms of its rather disturbing subject matter and themes makes me chuckle (I do enjoy misguided comedy!). Overall, it's a straightforward film with a fairly solid and paced story with the added bonus of having the likes of Connie Peterson (Chopstix), Liza Dwyer (Over Easy) and Vicky Zederquist (in her only credited role) on screen. It also should be noted that the final third of the film is genuinely great.
(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1979)

Ready to please!”
Colleen Brennan (Supervixens) stars as Valerie, a loyal housewife of 10 years who has just found out from her doctor (Tobalina in an uncredited cameo) that she has contracted the clap thanks to her unfaithful husband. She decides that enough is enough and once cleared up, she begins a deep and personal sexual journey. Her first stop is a wealthy executive played by Blair Harris. He has wanted her for many years and luckily for him, it's all hands on deck on his boat. After a lot of hardcore nautical action, Valerie has a party to attend, a girls only party to be exact. All the girls hit it off straight away and they proceed to get to know each other better and deeper. After some serious ice breaking, the entertainment for the evening arrives in the form of hairy manly exotic dancers. One of which instantly (and disturbingly) reminds me of 80's era Alan Parsons (yuck!). After some seriously dope dance moves, it's orgy time with some added 80's sounding synth beats thrown in for good measure! After the party, Valerie's sexual journey comes to an end and she finds herself back at home with her grovelling husband. Is this her return or the final goodbye?
If Lifetime or Hallmark did pornography, this is what it would look like. A very simple melodrama about a woman's personal journey after having her life ruined by someone she loves. What Valerie lacks in logic (remedying Gonorrhoea and a cheating husband by sleeping with multiple partners is completely rational) she makes up for in sass and sex appeal. That is of course thanks to Brennan's performance. Even surrounded by good looking co-stars (I'm talking about the party scene before Alan Parsons cock blocked me!), she is centre of attention. All in all, it's a well acted film with some equally well performed sex scenes (once again, Brennan shines above all!). That being said, some set pieces do tend to drag. The film is re-watchable, if only for the cheesy charm of the music, style and of course Brennan. Fans of Brennan definitely need to pick this one up. Just make sure to use precaution!
Lady Dynamite could be considered the 'better' film of the two, but Come Under My Spell was more enjoyable (albeit unintentionally) for me. Both films do have their moments and it's a better pairing of Carlos Tobalina films compared to some of the previous releases I have covered. Both films have been restored and presented wonderfully. There may be a few visual and audio niggles here and there, but it doesn't detract from Vinegar Syndrome's good work. Each film comes with a trailer, which is always a bonus. Overall, this is a solid release. They may not be Tobalina's most entertaining efforts, but they are far from his dullest. A great introduction to his work as well as an essential release for those completing their Tobalina collection.
Come Under My Spell and Lady Dynamite double feature are available directly from Vinegar Syndrome here as well as most of your favourite online retailers.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Champagne for Breakfast (1980) Review (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

1980, dir: Chris Warfield

“The called her “Champ”... and she was!”
Leslie Bovee (Maraschino Cherry) stars as Champagne, a young, attractive and majorly successful advertising executive and vice president of her fathers cosmetic company. She's on the search for a new chauffeur. Thankfully, she may be in luck. Enter Harry ((he'll be doing that a lot), a simple everyday Joe, played by John Leslie (Dracula Sucks). Harry works as a small time chauffeur, but also applies to be a bouncer at a strip joint. Even though he makes a GREAT first impression with his new potential employer and her friend, John puts professionalism before leisure and pleas to his employment agent Gladys Whitmore, played by Kay Parker (Untamed), that his job provides him with too many horny women! Unfortunately for him, Gladys is also a bit of a 'freak'. Sick of it all, Harry hears of Champagne's search and does what any sensible person would do. Yes, you guessed it! Pretend to be gay to secure the job! It obviously works (take notes everyone!) and he's given the job. Straight away he's tasked with driving her to a local bar for a little pick-me-up. Aside from driving her from sexual liaison to sexual liaison, he also takes the role of being her bouncer, masseur and all round gay BFF. Of course, being so hands on with the lovely Champagne leads Harry to develop some strong feelings and sexual urges of his own. Can Harry keep up with his 'professional' work ethos? Will he get found out? What capers will he and Champagne get in to on the way? You're going to have to get yourself comfortable, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and find out for yourself. You Devil you!
  Overall, Champagne for Breakfast is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of comedic porno chic. Chris Warfield (Sexworld) has crafted a genuinely stylish and funny film. This comes as no surprise as the film has an intelligent and witty script penned by John Hayes (Baby Rosemary), as well as great performances from both Leslie and Bovee. Leslie's portrayal of a gay character is never over the top or a misfired caraicature. He is instantly likeable and you are happy to follow his story. Bovee's Champagne is a strong minded woman who is elegant and has an innocence that makes her steal nearly every scene that she is in. Credit also has to go to the supporting cast. The likes of Kay Parker, Bonnie Holiday (Fantasies), Paul Thomas (Pretty Peaches) and Sharon Kane (Babylon Blue), to name just a few, all put in great performances (no matter how big or small) and make this a star-studded event. Not only that, but Elton Fuller's (Purely Physical) cinematography and the overall art direction from Vincent Earle (TheRibald Tales of Canterbury) and related crew make this a very aesthetically pleasing piece of film. There is also a great use of both interior and exterior locations. These stylish aesthetic touches, as well as the theme tune from Jack Stern (C.H.O.M.P.S) and the library music score make this film really stand out. If you want comedy in a porno setting that genuinely works, this film delivers. It's witty when it needs to be, just as it's slapstick when it needs to be. There's also a great segment of dark humour involving Paul Thomas that will have smiling from cheek to cheek (you sicko! You know who you are!). Naturally, with cast that this film has, the sex is of the highest quality and very varied. Champagne gets involved with a group of rent boys, a builder and of course a female friend. There's also some good action for Harry involving a car wash with a difference. With a runtime of around 102 minutes, there's thankfully a great balance of high quality smut and genuine story. This is a very stylish, funny and satisfying film that would go great as a double feature with the likes of Maraschino Cherry or Barbara Broadcast.
The film is presented in the original aspect ratio and has been restored in 2k from the original 35mm negative. It's safe to say that the film looks and sounds great. It's definitely an upgrade from Alpha Blue's Kay Parker Double Feature DVD (as if that would be a surprise!). In terms of special features you get both hard and soft trailers as well scenes from the soft version of the film. If you are a fan of this film, this is an essential upgrade to say the least. If you are looking to get in to the world of porno chic, this is also an essential release as the film stands up with the best of them. I have to raise a glass (I HAD to include another pun) to Vinegar Syndrome for this release. A beautiful restoration job of a genuine gem of a film. Go out and buy this one as soon as you can!
Champagne for Breakfast is available directly from Vinegar Syndrome here and most of your favourite online retailers.