Sunday, April 5, 2020

Projexploitation, CORRUPTION, and A Special Message


Marilyn Gee as The Woman in the Red Room in CORRUPTION

A good pal of mine wrote a couple of exemplary pieces on Roger Watkins' CORRUPTION. You should go read them, since I suspect he won't be returning to this project after all this time. They deserve an audience.

Three Rooms: The Art of Roger Watkins’ Corruption

Outside the Three Rooms: The Art of Roger Watkins’ Corruption (Pt. 2)


***

I've been mulling it over and I just wanted to mention there's a good chance I'm not going to post here again. I'm not ruling out dusting Super Cine-Vision! off if it is the right vehicle for something I want to say, but the lengthy gaps in activity and my own varying interest has pretty much killed any momentum for this blog. It gets very little traffic, and if no one's reading, there's not much point.

I'm leaving the archives up for posterity. I'll still be writing about these films - just probably not here. Meanwhile, you should check out my buddy Jimmy's Golden Sin Palace which was raised from the dead last year. He has been a big supporter of this work and I owe him a great deal.

Thanks folks!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Shake It Up, Shake It Down: Rene Bond in DISCO LADY


If you have more than a passing familiarity with the Beatles, you probably know that "Abbey Road" is their real final album. While "Let It Be" came out later, "Abbey Road" was recorded after those sessions and is the Beatles' proper farewell as a band. What does this have to do with Rene Bond and DISCO LADY? Well, as it turns out, a lot actually.

Ever since I have been writing about Rene Bond, I wondered how I should handle DISCO LADY. I had never seen it, but I was aware Rene had a small, unbilled cameo. I chose to consider it a "Rene Bond movie" in the same way INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS or FLESH GORDON are Rene Bond movies. Namely, she was in it, but it was not really essential to her filmography. Well, now I have seen it, and I would like to officially revise my earlier position.

Rene Bond is not the star of DISCO LADY. She isn't even listed in the credits and has no dialogue. But DISCO LADY is absolutely crucial in Rene's filmography. Why? Because I believe it is her "proper farewell" to adult films, and her acting career in general.

To explain, Rene's actual last film is TEENAGE FANTASIES II which was released in 1980. However, it appears Rene's scenes were filmed in 1977. TEENAGE FANTASIES II is hosted by Rene, but not narrated by her. At least one sequence is lifted from another movie (ORIENTAL TREATMENT) entirely. Whatever TEENAGE FANTASIES II was originally intended to be, the final product is somewhat different.

This brings us back to DISCO LADY. It was most likely filmed in early 1978, and released that same year. It was almost certainly shot after the Rene scenes for TEENAGE FANTASIES II. In fact, my theory has long been that Rene dropped out of TEENAGE FANTASIES II before it was completed, necessitating the patchwork which finally came out a couple of years later.

THEORY: Rene Bond was no longer appearing in adult films, or indeed any movies, when she shot her scenes for DISCO LADY. Considering Bob Chinn doesn't mention working with her during the production, and makes a point that the female talent in the movie was not high profile so as not to attract undue attention from the LAPD, I further speculate he didn't even shoot her scenes and that they were done by AD Jeffrey Fairbanks. Even though she doesn't take her clothes off, much less have a sex scene, Rene Bond was reasonably well-known from adult films and stripping in the Los Angeles area.

So if Rene was out of films at this time, how did she wind up in DISCO LADY in the first place? There are two likely candidates, and they are equally plausible. One is Alan Colberg, who directed Rene in FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE...WERE LOVERS and plays the pimp in DISCO LADY. The other is Ric Lutze, who was of course Rene's one-time boyfriend and frequent co-star. Either one of them could have gotten on the phone and invited her to dance as an extra. It probably sounded like a fun night. She even wore her own dress! It's notable that in the two scenes where Rene is visible, she is dancing with Colberg in one and Lutze in the other. Those were her friends, and those were the people with whom she felt comfortable enough to cut loose.

This is why I consider this film absolutely crucial to Rene's filmography. Whether she knew it or not, this was goodbye. Well, until her run on the BREAK THE BANK game show, but she was a "civilian" in that context. This would be her swan song as far as acting goes.

As much as I love TEENAGE FANTASIES II, it was and is a wildly imperfect finale to Rene Bond's career. She doesn't look her best, her voice is only in two different takes of the same scene, and it just doesn't tie together the way the original TEENAGE FANTASIES does. I wonder if she was even aware it came out?

I'd prefer to remember Rene Bond the way we last see her in DISCO LADY. She's dancing and having a good time. She's laughing at Ric Lutze's antics, and for a moment, maybe it felt like it was still the early 70s and they were both comparatively innocent. That infectious smile is on her face, and I can't help but smile too when I see it even after all these years. It's the proper farewell that TEENAGE FANTASIES II is not.

In summary, TEENAGE FANTASIES II is Rene Bond's "Let It Be" and DISCO LADY is her "Abbey Road." I realize how utterly incongruous that comparison sounds to an outsider. However, I firmly stand by it.

Thanks to Lee Jones, Charles Devlin, Shawn Langrick, Michael Elliott, and Mike Bishop for their help on this post, whether they knew it or not.

For reference:

IMDB Page

IAFD Page

Buy this release (with HARD SOAP, HARD SOAP) directly from Vinegar Syndrome!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Rene Bond at 69


Rene Bond was born October 11th, 1950. Today would have been her 69th birthday. Of course, Rene didn't actually make it to 69. She died entirely too young at the age of 45. I'm certain she had no idea when she passed away that she was on the verge of a renaissance as a cult figure. I suspect Rene Bond is even more popular now than she was at her height as a model and performer.

Hey, can you guys do me a favor? Rene's cause of death was for years listed as "liver problems" and this has gradually evolved into "cirrhosis due to alcoholism" without a shred of new evidence to support the claim. It appears to be based solely on conjecture. It also appears to be wrong.

One day on the Rene Bond - Tribute Facebook page, an old friend of Rene named Joan showed up and provided the following information:

Rene was one of the first women to get silicone implants when they first started the breast enhancements. It was later discovered that hers had been leaking for years, destroyed her immune system.

Rene was lucky in the sense she did not fall on hard times financially. She met and married a fairly well-to-do younger man (Hubby #3). They had two sons via surrogacy, they traveled extensively, lived in a beautiful home in a nicer area of the SFV.


When Robin Bougie of Cinema Sewer inquired as to whether Joan believed the implants were the direct cause of Rene's death (and we have since learned Rene had the procedure done twice), Joan was unequivocal:

Yes, I do. She was ona camping trip with her family, came down with a sore throat on a Thursday and died the following Sunday. She had been constantly ill for several years, had to miss my daughter's wedding (her goddaughter) which broke her heart.

I agree, she never needed the implants, she had a terrific body.


You can find these quotes with links back to the posts with the original comments in this piece. And if you have any doubts about Joan's authenticity, she had shared personal photos with Rene (including one of Rene at age 15!) prior to posting on the page, and the fact that she and Rene were classmates can be verified by a vintage high school yearbook which can be found online.

I don't know if Rene suffered from alcoholism, but neither do any of the people who list it as her cause of death. It sure sounds like that part of the equation is wrong. At worst, it might have been a contributing factor. But I have also been told Rene may have had a preexisting condition dating back to at least the mid-1970s which required medication. So it's entirely possible it was a combination of causes, with silicone leakage being the primary culprit.

The favor I'm asking is for us to finally set the record straight on how and why Rene died. Your author had a sister who died from alcoholism, so I take this matter seriously. However, I think we do a great disservice to Rene Bond if we paint a picture of her final years as sad when it seems that the exact opposite is true. It doesn't diminish the tragedy of her untimely death to acknowledge she had a reasonably good life until it was abruptly over. And if you need proof, I think this post and the links I've supplied are at least a start.

From a personal standpoint, I never met Rene Bond, but I feel a connection to her that is surprising to me. Her warmth and friendliness transcend time as far as I'm concerned. Everyone who speaks of her loved Rene Bond. I love her, too. Happy birthday, angel.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Swedish Sorority Girls (1978)


John Christopher's SWEDISH SORORITY GIRLS (1978) is a movie I've been thinking about picking up for a long time. It has a cast of people I like, and the DVD was usually pretty cheap. Since I got a refund on something recently, I took the opportunity to add the film to my collection. I'm very pleased with the results!

However, this is not me saying SWEDISH SORORITY GIRLS is a great one because it's not. There's not really any plot beyond the erotic adventures of Ann (Erica Havens) in Sweden on a trip to visit her cousin Ingrid (Colleen Anderson, aka Heather Young). That's basically all there is as far as any substance in the abbreviated run time of just over an hour.

And you know what? That's perfectly fine. SWEDISH SORORITY GIRLS at least doesn't overstay its welcome with excessive padding, despite IMDB incorrectly insisting it runs a full 90 minutes. It also has a sense of humor about itself, which is always welcome. The funniest part is undoubtedly the fake Swedish accents affected by most of the main cast members. Those alone are worth the price of admission.

I can't exactly recommend SWEDISH SORORITY GIRLS since there's just not a whole lot there. However, I enjoyed it despite dragging my feet for a long time about seeing it. If it looks like your cup of tea, and it's cheap, I say give it a shot.


But wait, there's so much more!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Sexual Odyssey (1985)


Part of me hopes against hope this movie is hiding in an unmarked film can. You see, though most Carlos Tobalina adult movies from the 1980s have either been re-released by Vinegar Syndrome or are at least available for release, SEXUAL ODYSSEY is missing in action as far as elements go. The other part of me wonders why I care as this is pretty uneven for even a Tobalina movie, which of course exist in some alternate universe.

The plot is admirably demented - Jerry Butler plays a confirmed homosexual (!!) who goes to Dr. Carlos (listed as "Dr. Karlof" in the pressbook but you're not fooling anyone Dr. Carlos) for conversion treatment. I wonder if Tobalina even realized this admittedly ridiculous idea actually existed? At least Dr. Carlos' method is more benign than the real thing. These parts are the source of much mirth, including both Tobalina and Butler attempting to pronounce the word "fecal." It's completely offensive but totally unaware of its offensiveness.

If you're wondering, hey, how do I know how Tobalina's character is listed in the pressbook, there's a reason and it's a doozy. It's because SEXUAL ODYSSEY credits most of its cast and crew by simply displaying the pressbook on-screen! What's more, the film's title is conveyed via the poster rather than, you know, actual titles. It makes you wonder if Carlos ran out of money in the budget, or if he changed things around at the very last minutes. With Tobalina, who can really know?

The cast is mostly amazing, with rare Tobalina appearances from Butler, Amber Lynn (wearing one of the CASANOVA 2 wigs for some reason), Nikki Charm, Rachel Ashley, Karen Summer, and Joanna Storm. Longtime Carlos favorite Mai Lin is also on-hand. Sadly, the sex scenes are soooo protracted that they get a bit tiresome. I would have liked a little more idiotic plot to balance things. I mean, Jerry never appears in the same scene with the guy playing his brother!

There are some creative touches though. The sex in front of a rear projection idea makes a return from THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE (I think it was that one). Very stirring to watch Nikki Charm climb on top of Jerry Butler with an image of the Statue of Liberty in the background. Ashley and Summer conclude their scene with Butler by clapping and chanting "Amen!" for reasons that are not entirely clear, but evidently indicate successful therapy. I dunno, it's Carlos.

Not an essential Tobalina by any means unless you're a completist for him or one of the stars. It still deserves to be rescued from obscurity, especially in light of recent events. Only time will tell!

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pleasure Maze - Lovers Lane


I didn't know diddly about director Duck Dumont prior to Vinegar Syndrome announcing the Peekarama release of PLEASURE MAZE/LOVERS LANE. I basically still don't, beyond some details in a short piece no longer online which reported his untimely death in 2005. So I had no preconceived notions of what to expect when I watched these films.

PLEASURE MAZE takes the same idea as SEX WORLD and makes it so much more misogynistic. I guess that's not surprising, but anyone expecting wry commentary of any kind is going to be mostly disappointed. Joanna Storm is winsome and sympathetic (to a point) and makes it a bit more tolerable. Every other woman in the movie isn't even playing a real person, though Amber Lynn is I guess the "star" (no matter that the credits topline Stacey Donovan for some reason). Joey Silvera is as good as always and tries to do something with this, but the script and the undersized budget for sci-fi spectacle make this mostly a miss for me.

LOVERS LANE, oddly, turned out to be somewhat more enjoyable. Credit to Tracey Adams and Barbara Dare for making their characters feel real, with actual lives beyond the scope of this limited story. The "gimmick" is that almost every sex scene takes place in a vehicle, and I assume getting them ate up most of the budget because this is cheap enough to pass for a video except that it's shot on film. I did like the little touches left in simply because they kept shooting, like Stacey Donovan's tongue getting bitten by her overly-amorous partner or Tracey being unable to pop the top on her generic "BEER." It's a less ambitious movie than PLEASURE MAZE, but somehow more likable.

My verdict is that I'm glad to have these two films and they were reasonably fun diversions. But I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to add any more Duck Dumont productions to my collection. I doubt there will be new releases anytime soon, so that would entail tracking them down. That sounds too much like work to me.

PLEASURE MAZE - IMDB / IAFD

LOVERS LANE - IMDB / IAFD

Buy this release directly from Vinegar Syndrome!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Seven Seductions of Madame Lau (1981)


THE SEVEN SEDUCTIONS OF MADAME LAU (1981) Directed by Charles Webb (as Charles De Santos) and Christie MacDonald (aka Christy McCabe).

In light of the recent passing of Charles Webb, I decided to pick up a copy of this film during another order. I've always been curious about it, and it seems highly-regarded. Well, after a couple of weeks of trying to make sense out of contemporary adult releases, this was a breath of fresh air.

The opening sequence with an airplane flying over the water as a twangy theme song reminiscent of James Bond sets the tone that this will be a bit more ambitious in its aspirations. The pilot is Christopher Hamilton (Richard Pacheco) and he is journeying to meet with Madame Lau (Annette Haven) to find the answers that have long eluded him. But what exactly is his journey, and what exactly is reality?

Sometimes I finish these movies and cannot imagine them making the grade on Blu-Ray. THE SEVEN SEDUCTIONS (as it appears on-screen) is an exception. It has the atmosphere and the imagery and the engaging storyline to get people excited. Plus, it has some colorful performances from Haven and Pacheco and roles for faves Georgina Spelvin and Kay Parker. This is the kind of adult film which would find an audience even today.

It's not perfect. There are some plot holes and dangling threads if you pay close attention. Also, I'm not sure what Carol Doda added to the movie other than "a special appearance" but maybe her fame back in the day sold some tickets. It's just her screentime could have found better use in fleshing out the story.

I don't know if this is Charles Webb's adult masterpiece. I didn't know until today that credited co-director Christie MacDonald is his sister, though she's not listed in the databases as if they think she doesn't exist. All I do know is this is a fine adult film deserving of revival someday.

For reference:

IMDB Page

IAFD Page