Sunday, 31 January 2016

Vinegar Syndrome Review: Avon Triple Feature: Savage Sadists / Den of Dominance / Daughters of Discipline

  A young innocent learns the ropes!”

A pair of armed thugs (David Christopher, TAKE OFF & Dan Stevens, PRIVATE SCHOOLGIRLS) are on the hunt for a pornographer (Martin Patton, THE STORY OF PRUNELLA) who owes their boss some money. They pay his wife (Nicole Bernard, CORRUPTION) a visit and at gun point, have some fun because who said you can't mix business with pleasure? After they have given the wife their message, she decides to visit her husband's office to warn him, but walks in on him having some fun of his own with one of his performers (Ginger Roberts, DEN OF DOMINACE; her only other role). Before she do anything about it, they are rudely interrupted by the thugs and the husband, who is clearly an honourable chap, hides under the desk essentially allowing his wife, mistress and his innocent secretary (Bibi, DEN OF DOMINANCE also being her only other role) to be held hostage and subject to sadistic acts of debauchery.

  Bibi – Plaything in a prison of lust!”Looking for a good, quiet place to sink a beer, an unsuspecting man (Martin Patton) finds himself in a bar that instead of serving HARD liquor, offers something much more satisfying than a STIFF drink! As my clumsy (and childish) attempt at wit (kinda, but not really) suggests; this is a sex bar! Not just any old swingers drinking hole, but a hardcore BDSM paradise. After giving his credit card to the friendly Stag Magazine T-shirt wearing barkeeper (David Christopher), it's not long before he's on the receiving end of a Mimi (playing herself) cocktail! After a little taste of what's on offer, he decides to pay a visit to the club's “bizarre room” in which himself and the other patrons (Nicole Bernard & Greg Lyle in his only role) decide to watch a nice sadistic stage show from Ginger Roberts and Dan Stevens. This then inspires the happy customers to put on their own little kinky performances. Let's just hope our unsuspecting newcomer gets his money's worth because I can imagine that's quite a tab he's running up!

  After discovering their mum and dad's secret porn mag stash, Glenda (Victoria Sands, CONSENTING ADULTS) and her sister Rhoda (Robin Thorn, PAIN MANIA) get inspired and decide to indulge in a little sisterly affection. After that and being inspired once again by the magazines and their mother's whip, they decide to call up their pal John (David Christopher) and invite him over for a play date. Their little kink session gets interrupted when their parents (Dave Ruby, DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE & Victoria Sands CONSENTING ADULTS) return home earlier than expected! Understandably, they're a little bit miffed and decide to teach their daughters some discipline in the only way they know how!

As you can see, story and plot aren't exactly major elements to this crusty trio of films. Luckily, the films are either just under or over the 40 minute mark so it's a problem. Aside from the likes of Dave Ruby and David Christopher, the cast appears to be comprised of amateurs or people just roped in with the promise of an easy lay and a few bucks. Therefore, acting isn't anything to shout about. If you're here for some hot action, you may be disappointed as the sex is about as hot as the cast. When I say that I mean it's not. Unless you are in to bondage or rough sex these films will have you about as moist as a piece of sandpaper. You may be thinking then that this is a selection of films that should be missed. Well, if you are like me and have a morbid curiosity for the shocking and nasty, this is a great example of the artistry of one of porn's dark horses; Phil Prince. Aside from Den of Dominance, you are in for a nasty little treat. There are acts and theme's throughout that some may struggle with, but those people are a bunch of pansies right? Juxtaposing the nastiness, there's humour to be found. Those looking for unintentional laughs will scoff at the dialogue, dirty talk and Dave Ruby's ridiculous sex noises. Those looking for off-kilter laughs wilt revel in aspects such as inexplicable uses of fart sound effects, fourth wall breaking and at one point someone literally making a doorbell sound off-screen. Of course, the whacky aspects of the humour come from a mixture of budgetary restraints and Prince's own warped humour. These films may be cheap, straight to the point and not for everyone's tastes or sensibilities, but I think my fellow trash lovers will enjoy this selection.
  All films have been restored in 2k from 16mm elements and considering their age, condition and overall treatment, look and sound pretty damn good. Don't get me wrong, you aren't going to be blown away, but these are cheap quickies anyway so even if the elements were kept in the most pristine condition imaginable, we probably wouldn't have a beautiful looking finished product anyway. Of course, I can't confirm the filming conditions or the condition of the 16mm elements used, but it wouldn't be such a stretch that I'm somewhere being close to right. It wouldn't matter anyway because these films aren't really supposed to stand up to the likes of The Opening of Misty Beethoven or Sexworld so the scratches and sometimes muddy sound just add to the seediness. One thing is for certain; the films look and sound better than the god awful Alpha Blue Archives release and the still amicable After Hours Cinema releases. It's definitely an upgrade in that regard and I highly doubt these films could (or should) be presented any better. Although the release has no special features, I was still excited when I heard Vinegar Syndrome were releasing films from Phil Prince and I am very happy with the end result. Overall, this is a set that is worth the upgrade and also works as a great way to experience Phil Prince at the start (Savage Sadists) and end (Daughters of Discipline) of his short lived directorial career. Fingers crossed this release means that we will not only be seeing more of Prince's work in the future, but also more films from the infamous Avon Productions. It may not have appeared on many people's best releases of 2015 lists, but it's up there for me!
The Avon Triple Feature is available on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome as well as each film being streamable on


Monday, 25 January 2016

Vinegar Syndrome Review: Pretty Peaches (1978, dir: Alex de Renzy)

  Introducing Desireé Costeau as 'PEACHES'”
Hugh (John Leslie, DRACULA SUCKS) is about to marry Lily (Flower, SHIELA'S PAYOFF) and he wants his bubbly daughter Peaches (Desireé Costeau, HOT RACKETS) from his first marriage, to be a part of the festivities. Thankfully the stepdaughter-stepmother relationship starts off well with the trio hitting up the nearest slot machines. Unfortunately, Peaches comes to the realisation that she now has to potentially compete for her father's love and attention. After sinking down a few shots she does the sensible thing and jumps in her jeep to let off some steam. Whilst on her little bender, Peaches is involved in an accident and subsequently left unconscious. Thankfully, however help is on hand as Kid (Joey Silvera, CARNAL HAVEN) and Jesse (Ken Scudder, CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST), two good Samaritans who are having their car problems “nurse” her back to health. Once Peaches has regained consciousness, she realises that she is suffering from amnesia. Seeking their opportunity to have their own personal plaything and the potential of making some good old fashioned ransom money, they invite her to stay with them and help her get better. Kid suggests she pay his “Uncle Percy” a visit. Instead of help, Peaches finds herself on the wrong end (as if there's a right one) of a forced enema. After such a traumatic experience, her spirits are lifted when she finds a potential job as an erotic dancer. Unfortunately, what starts out as an above board (if not slightly scuzzy) audition turns in to Peaches being forced in to an all-girl dominatrix show (it happens to best of us). Just as things are reaching breaking point for Peaches, she has a chance encounter with a handsome psychiatrist (Paul Thomas, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) who may hold the key to not only healing Peaches, but reuniting her with her worried father as well bringing her genuine happiness. No matter what the outcome, this is a de Renzy film so it's only going to get even stranger!
  Pretty Peaches is certainly a stand out film. Where else are you going to find a warped adaptation of Voltaire's Candide that plays sexual atrocities off as a goofy comedy? Yes indeed, all of the physical, emotional and psychological abuse dished out to the naïve Peaches is played for laughs! Being a de Renzy film, it wouldn't surprise me if it was purely intentional. Therefore, it may not sit right for some of the more sensitive amongst you, but it sure did make this corrupted soul smirk! From being bubbly and innocent to a complete emotional mess, Costeau plays Peaches perfectly. You really go from swooning to feeling genuine sympathy in a heartbeat. She suffers pretty much every sexual shame you could imagine; raped whilst unconscious, forced enemas, bondage... All that's missing is being shat on! The film is brilliantly cast and as well as those already mentioned, seeing the likes of Blair Harris (TROPIC OF DESIRE) and Sharon Kane (BABYLON BLUE) really help to elevate the film even more. Of course, the lovely Desireé Costeau is the star of the show (not even her bob cut hairstyle can put you off!) and steals every scene she is in. You will be eating out of her hands! All in all, this is a bizarre little comedy that will make you question your existence because of some of the things you WILL genuinely laugh at. It's a simple story that's well written and even though it's a porno with a feature length running time; you won't need to press that fast forward button. You're probably not really going to get off on the action, but it's definitely “interesting” to say the very least. The ironic thing is, de Renzy is capable of much seedier and sinister delights! There's a reason why this film is a classic. There's a reason why most consider this de Renzy's greatest film.
  A wonderful film like this deserves the gold star treatment and golly gosh has Vinegar Syndrome done just that! Restored fully uncut in 2k from 35mm elements, the film looks and sounds fantastic. Of course, there's some minor damage here and there, but it's only there if you are actively looking for it just to bitch on forums. Not only does the film look and sound wonderful, but there's some great special features too. There's a rare interview with Alex de Renzy himself in which he talks about the film, his career and those he had the pleasure to work with. There's also an interview with film historian Dr. Ted Mcilvenna, founder of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality which gives us more of an insight in to the prolific de Renzy and a bit of a dick tease regarding multiple unedited documentaries from the great director. Aside from those two wonderful interviews, there are also trailers for Pretty Peaches 2, Femmes de Sade and Baby Face 2. As you can tell, it's a wonderful release and a must own.

Pretty Peaches is available as a stand alone DVD or part of a limited edition Pretty Peaches Blu-ray as well as being available on


Friday, 22 January 2016

Severin Review: She Killed in Ecstasy (1971, dir: Jess Franco)

(1971, dir: Jess Franco)
 Dr. Johnson (Fred Williams, COUNT DRACULA) is a hard working scientist who has it all; his beautiful wife (Soledad Miranda, VAMPYROS LESBOS) a luxurious lifestyle and a potential scientific breakthrough that will revolutionise medicine, That's until his Dr. Huston (Paul Muller, LADY FRANKENSTEIN), Dr. Crawford (Ewa Strömberg, THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA), Dr. Donen (Jess Franco himself) and Prof. Walker (Howard Vernon, ZOMBIE LAKE) deem his work and his methods to be a crime against nature and a detriment to their own reputations. As a result they shut him down, strip his license and destroy his laboratory, hurting his wife in the process. All of this causes him to go insane. Fearing for her husbands safety, Mrs. Johnson takes him out of the city and the pair take up residency in a beautiful house on a remote island. Unfortunately, there really is trouble in paradise as the shamed doctor's mental health deteriorates leading him to take his own life. Consumed by grief, his beautiful widow has a desire to seek revenge on those responsible for her husband's downfall. She decides to do this in what she considers the cruelest of methods; seduction and cold blooded murder. She doesn't have long to pull it off as she has an inquisitive inspector (Horst Tappert, DERRICK) on the case.
What we have in She Killed in Ecstasy is a genuinely well made erotic thriller inspired by a Gabriel Marcel play Naturally, there is an element of sleaze to be found, but it's much more restrained than some would expect. The film is ultimately somber in tone. It may not be the most complex of stories, but Franco has created something that has real weight to it. Soledad's vengeful widow is genuinely sympathetic and although she carries out horrific acts, you get the sense that she's suffering internally as she is dishing out her gruesome revenge. She may be getting said revenge for her husband, but it's not something that she truly relishes. Not only does she seduce and murder, but in a style not too dissimilar to posthumous execution, she mutilates the genitalia of her male victims. From her genuinely seductive gaze to her portrayal of a woman losing her mind; Soledad's performance is nothing short of extraordinary. Had she not suffered such a terrible fate, her career would have been full of stand out performances like this, I'm sure. Those wanting to appreciate Soledad in an aesthetic sense will adore this film too. Wether she's completely naked or elegantly dressed, you won't be able to take your eyes off her. Of course, Franco regulars like Muller and Vernon put in a good performance too. Although not the bloodiest or goriest of films, the suicide and murders are staged in a somewhat shocking and impactful way. They could have either been too comically over the top or painfully tame, but thankfully that's not the case. To compliment the film, the jazz score provided by Manfred Hübler and Sigi Schwab (VAMPRYOS LESBOS) ranges from fitting the mood perfectly, to being a strange juxtaposition. Not only that, but orchestrated pieces provided / lifted from Bruno Nicolai (99 WOMEN) are used to devastating effect in the scenes involving the grieving widow and wrongly disgraced husband. This could quite possibly be one of Franco's most emotional and piercing films and being at just over 70 minutes long, it's a very easy watch for even the most critical of Franco's work.
  Speaking of which, it's such a shame that Franco was so dismissive of this film and his work, because considering this was just one in a string of swiftly produced films, the level of artistry to be found here is nothing short of mesmerising. From the use of beautiful architecture to the set and costume design, this is a film that proves just how much of an artist Franco really was. Thankfully, the picture and sound quality compliments the film perfectly. Aside from some noticeable dips in quality, there's nothing to complain about in terms of presentation. In terms of extra features, there are interviews with Jess Franco, Paul Muller and Soledead Miranda expert and Stephen Thrower. To top it off there is also the german trailer for the film. A handsome list I think you will agree! This is a must own for both seasoned Franco fans and newcomers alike. In fact, it's probably one of the few accessible Franco films. There's really no excuse for anyone falling under those categories to not add this to their collection.

She Killed in Ecstasy is available on DVD & Blu-Ray from Severin Films.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Vinegar Syndrome Review: Long Jeanne Silver (1978, dir: Alex deRenzy)

Before I begin ladies & gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to thank you for making 2015 a great year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, a messy NYE and of course, I wish you all a happy 2016!

(1977, dir: Alex deRenzy)

“I've Got a Secret: I fooled Mother Nature”
 Our film gets off to a great start with the titular Jeanne Silver (WATERPOWER) letting us know that she is handicapped and horny, as well as boasting about having a bigger member than the legendary John Holmes. After such an introduction, we're thrown right in to action with Jeanne enjoying a light hearted threesome with her friends Joey (Joey Silvera, EXPECTATIONS) and Amber (Amber Hunt, CRY FOR CINDY). During this little frolic, we see Jeanne's handicap for the first time. Of course, she utilises it! After that, Jeanne tells us about the almost unlimited sexual opportunities high school has to offer (I obviously went to the wrong school!) and shares her exploits with a boy from her art class who just so happens to be gay. He may not be in to girls, but Jeanne has a trick up her sleeve, I mean her trouser leg! Yes indeed. We all know what happens next! They both enjoy it so who are we to judge!? Following that party trick, Jeanne tells us about fellow students China (China Leigh, TEENY BUNS) and Lori (Lori Blue, CHOPSTIX) who are somewhat prudish. Being the giving girl that she is, Jeanne shows off her Cheri magazine photo shoot and tells them abut life and sex with her stump. Understandably intrigued, they retreat to the bedroom to see what all the fuss is about. Needless to say, their curiosity is rewarded! For her penultimate outing, Jeanne tells us of that time she was a birthday present for a chap named Paul (Paul Thomas, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) from his wife Sandy (Sandy Pinney, HER LAST FLING). It's a birthday treat that he will never forget. For her final encounter, Jeanne tells us about one of the many lesbian encounters with her horny, leather clad neighbour (I have no idea who she is). Ending on a high sapphic note for sure!
 Long Jeanne Silver is a unique experience indeed. The film is essentially a series of vignettes broken up and structured around Jeanne addressing us, the audience. To some extent, it's a rather candid documentary with dramatised reconstructions if you will. You really believe that what we are seeing is in fact the life of Jeanne Silver. The conversation between Jeanne, China and Lori especially has a real sense of legitimacy about it. Even the way some of the sex is filmed further cements that. If you have never seen the film, you probably know why this film is as well known as it is and somewhat infamous. To be honest, as much as that scene is quite shocking (a quick search on even the biggest porn site will expose you too much more extreme sexual acts) and stands out, the real star of the show is Jeanne herself. Not only is she a knockout (she's just as, if not more attractive nowadays), she's funny, carefree and downright bubbly. More importantly for me, even though this film is obviously centred around her handicap and how she utilises it, her personality and all round screen presence shine through. Considering that this is a deRenzy flick and it's centred around an amputee, it's not as sleazy or bizarre as you would think. It's really quite a sensitive and an all round human film. Jeanne isn't portrayed as a freak, she's celebrated as opposed to being exploited. Everyone else involved do a great job too, but then again, they have no need to show off their acting chops. The film might have quite a reputation, but it's so much more than that. At around 65 minutes, the film flies by and is an easy watch. Overall, it's a winner that you can go back to time and time again.
Who would have thought we would get a restored and uncut version of this gem? It may not be the greatest looking or sounding restoration job from Vinegar Syndrome, but considering it's restored from a 16mm Archival Print, that can be forgiven. In terms of special features, there's only a commentary track. As much as I would have loved a trailer (if there actually is one that exists), I am not going to complain because the commentary track (recorded over the phone so it's perfect) is from Jeanne herself who is essentially going in to the film blind. It's entertaining as it is amusing. Overall, this is a must own for fans of the film and newcomers a like. It warms my cold, almost dead heart that a film like this is now has a restored, easy to obtain and ultimately legitimate release. Not only that, but it's great to see that thanks to this release, the wonderful Jeanne Silver is now finding a new audience and getting the respect that she deserves. It's also great that most of us can now get rid of that pesky Alpha Blue Archives disc!

Long Jeanne Silver is available on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome.