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.



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:



Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Hitman in LAS VEGAS LADY

Who is the unbilled performer who portrays the hitman in Bob Chinn's LAS VEGAS LADY (1981)?

Is it, as suggested by the incredible Charles Devlin on Facebook, known Las Vegas resident Ray Dennis Steckler?

...Signs point to yes.

(A tip of the hat to Charles for the discovery.  Consider this a bit of retroactive acknowledgment for being the source of this info!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Intimate Illusions (1978)

INTIMATE ILLUSIONS (aka BOILING POINT). 1978(?). Directed by "Paul Levis".

INTIMATE ILLUSIONS is a well-made but often misunderstood adult film shrouded in some degree of mystery. It displays a level of professionalism and ingenuity that belies the one-shot nature of its supposed director. It seems likely this is the work of a mainstream Hollywood professional working incognito who had at least some ties to the stunt field. The car chase is as impressive as the one in MARY! MARY! and might even be better. But who is the director? Gary Graver has been suggested, but I don't think it's him. There definitely seems to be a connection to MARY! MARY! at any rate, especially considering this one also has some of those wild tone shifts like it does.

The mistake many viewers (including me) have made about this film is to regard it as a narrative which eventually slides into la-la land. As it turns out, the movie is a bit more sophisticated than we have often credited it. There's actually no story at all, not really - this is a vehicle for imaginative sex scenes driven by a rotating cast of characters who drift into and out of each other's individual lives. The first character we meet, Angel (Phaedra Grant), looks for all the world like she will be at least one of the main characters, and she is indeed - but we never see her again after the first 25 minutes.

And so it goes. John Leslie is one of the top-billed stars, but disappears after his car is stolen. The other main star in the credits is "Sylvia Rodgers" who is actually the obscure performer Lisa Sue Corey. Lisa Sue is winning though, and it was seeing her scene with Jon Martin as the "Westside Rapist" (who doesn't actually rape anyone but is seduced instead) in clipped form on a tape from American Exxxtasy that led me to track this movie down. I was not disappointed.

The one part where the movie fudges its premise is that it's only a voiceover which carries one character into the finale, and I don't think she's really there. You won't mind though, because it's perhaps the greatest disco porno sequence ever filmed. No joke! There is a live band named The Filthy Four performing (while lovely ladies service them no less) and the music is great. It really captures the disco debauchery aesthetic better than I've ever seen, right down to the ridiculous camp of a dialogue scene involving a mannequin.

INTIMATE ILLUSIONS is a pretty awesome example of late 70s Golden Age of Adult Film moviemaking. It has a great poster and a catchy theme song (I assume it's named "City Girl"). I hope it is a movie which will be available in restored form in the future. It is a bona fide classic in my mind with a high rewatchability factor.

Oh, and NOTE to Desiree Cousteau fans who might get excited seeing her name on the poster so high in the cast list - Desiree is in the movie but only as an anonymous participant of the disco orgy. She doesn't have a character or dialogue. She doesn't even get any significant screen time. But she had become a "name" by the time this was released so they decided to capitalize on it.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Monday, August 5, 2019

Mai Lin vs. Serena (1982)

"Jade, have you ever had your pussy eaten in a bar?"

Oh, where to even begin? Carlos Tobalina (his first appearance on-screen during The Great Tobalina Rewatch) is making a movie and wants the hottest girl in adult cinema as his star, but he cannot choose between Serena and Mai Lin. The two ladies take matters into their own hands by wagering the film role and salary (an improbable $25,000!) in a contest of who is the hottest girl around. And so it begins!

I'm sure Carlos was thinking of prizefights like Ali vs. Frazier in conjuring this title, but in practice, it reminds me more of those Japanese monster movies I used to watch religiously. The only real difference between this and something like GODZILLA VS. MEGALON or GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER is the costuming of the main characters and the kind of mayhem they cause. I'm sure this is a comparison none of you were expecting.

Anyway, Mai Lin and Serena go on a wanton spree of fucking pretty much anyone they come across. Along the way, we are treated to such Tobalina standards as the sped-up scene, cop hate/humiliation, the "guy gets hit by his buddy's cumshot" gag, and of course, the bathtub/bukkake/gangbang sequence. Carlos loved his bathtubs, and I don't know if "bukkake" existed in American porn other than Tobalina films at the time. It's the antithesis of romance, but an example of how Carlos was (gulp) maybe ahead of the curve.

This movie is one of the more infamous Tobalina films because of how successful it was. It's utterly mental, too. My personal favorite sequence is the carnal cavorting in a bar, where the antics are offset by the creaking of a bar table. "Are they going to break it?" I wondered. No, but only because the guy playing the bartender (another Carlos relative/hanger-on, I believe) moves it out of the scene before they do. Between this and the hitting of heads on bar signs and chandeliers, it's clear Carlos left the blocking of his scenes to the talent as they went along. It explains so much.

Truly, this lives up to its rep as a Tobalina Anti-Classic. Watch it with someone you love. I can't guarantee they will still speak to you afterward.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Buy direct from Vinegar Syndrome!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Wrestler in BIJOU

In Wakefield Poole's BIJOU, the woman at the Bijou box office is shown perusing a wrestling magazine. The magazine in question is The Wrestler (March 1972 issue), featuring Mil Máscaras on the cover. The date seems to line up with when the film would have been shot.

Buy BIJOU on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome.  You will be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Oriental Hawaii (1982)

A fellow reviewer (he knows who he is, haha) once said that he was disappointed because the Tobalina movies he watched were not as bad as he had been led to believe. Or something like that. Anyway, it struck me as really funny, but I wasn't laughing at him. We've kind of built Carlos into something, and it doesn't always quite fit.

Case in point - ORIENTAL HAWAII. Now, I'm not saying this film is any great shakes. The razor-thin plot (overextended family takes on boarders) is just an excuse for the ensuing sexual hijinks. It's pretty pedestrian as stories go with only Carlos' infatuation with that damn kaleidoscope effect and his laissez faire attitude towards incest distinguishing it. But the thing is this - if you're in the market for 80 minutes of hardcore action and nothing more sophisticated, it's....well, it's perfectly serviceable.

You can credit the cast, which is largely name talent who then basically hang out in one house for the whole movie. This one caught my eye originally because of the performer billed as "Lisa Priest" in the movie and "Linda Priest" in the trailer. She plays "the Hooker" but is best-known for being in LITTLE GIRLS BLUE PART 2. As a result, she's usually known by her LGB credit of Shirly Duke, but I wonder if Lisa Priest might be more appropriate. Anyway, when you take a shine to obscure performers, you suck it up and take what you can get. That's why I was an early adapter for this movie in my Tobalina Odyssey.

I've posited that Carlos Tobalina's inexplicable latter-day sales strength might be partially due to his prefiguring more contemporary porn. ORIENTAL HAWAII is a classic example of this. It pales next to classic Spinelli or DeRenzy from this era, even when they were doing all-sex films, too. But by today's standards? Carlos Tobalina would probably be up for an award for this, and he might even win.

ORIENTAL HAWAII is no masterpiece of filmmaking by any means. But if what you want is "wall-to-wall sex" (as promised in one HIFCOA trailer), well, it delivers with a powerhouse line-up of sex stars. Oh, and as a bonus for you long-suffering Tobalina watchers, I think I spotted the legendary Fernando Fortes in a cameo!

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Buy direct from Vinegar Syndrome!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go?

Just a note to acknowledge the fact that yes, this blog was inactive for 6 months. Stuff happened. I'm not even going to promise that it won't happen again. It probably will.

I'd like to raise the profile of this blog a bit, since it seems like literally no one is reading unless I post links to it and that's not always feasible. I'm not sure what the solution is, especially since I can't guarantee regular updates. I guess I'll just play it by ear and keep working until one presents itself.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Chameleon (1989)

THE CHAMELEON (1989) Directed by John Leslie.

I usually am not a fan of 1980s shot on video productions as far as interesting movies. The sex can be good, but the plots are often perfunctory and the production values (especially music) are depressingly cheap. Still, this movie had a good reputation, and I am a fan of Tori Welles going way, way back. I figured I should give it a shot.

Consider me suitably impressed. The sex was red hot (how could it be anything else with Tori Welles involved?), but the story from John Leslie and Nick Hunter held my interest and kept me guessing. Even better, the original music score (!) made me forget at times this had many of the same budgetary limitations of other productions of its time. That and some clever set-ups proved to me you could make something that felt at least close to a real movie under those constraints.

My DVD was a bit screwy, but THE CHAMELEON was so much fun I got a new copy. It is worth your time if you've never seen it. And if you have it, why not watch it again? You'll enjoy it!

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Undulations (1981)

I hope I didn't get anyone's hopes up with SEXUAL HEIGHTS, because its DVD co-feature UNDULATIONS is not quite in the same league. The basic premise is we are watching a TV show called "Undulations" which would never pass FCC decency standards. There's an ad-libbed (?) remark that it's on "pubic television" if you need an explanation. Anyway, there's an idea here about gender role-reversal, but it's almost incidental.

The film's highlight is probably the scene where all the main players except Jamie Gillis snort cocaine on-screen during the supposed show. Jamie declines when offered, which I found interesting. There's more outtakes from SENSUAL FIRE (this makes two movies where Serena has a credited role despite not being part of the shoot) and some incredibly rare footage of a Gay Pride parade probably shot by Carlos himself. There's even a small role for Maria Pia, aka Mrs. Carlos Tobalina. The doctor himself is absent for some reason.

As is often the case, this is kind of a mess. Suzanne French is billed as "Georgia Drugg" and her character is named that too - but then Brooke West (as "Mariz Cruz" in a blonde wig) calls her Suzanne. The end credits are those for SEXUAL HEIGHTS, so we're left with a lot of mystery as to whether those people were involved or not. Kitty Shayne is billed as Kitty Shine in the opening, Lindy MacGrace in the closing, and Lindy McPearson on the poster. It's this kind of care which is the hallmark of Tobalina movies.

Definitely a lesser Tobalina - inept but not certifiably nuts enough. I do have a crush on the German (?) girl with an accent thick enough they felt it needed to be mentioned, and this from the man who gave us Iris Medina.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Buy direct from Vinegar Syndrome!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sexual Heights (1981)

Yes, the long-promised (threatened?) Carlos Tobalina Rewatch kicked off with what is considered a favorite even among Carlos naysayers. Though completely absurd and utterly implausible, it doesn't veer too deeply into nonsense or overly-protracted sex scenes. As I watched last night, I developed a theory which is as follows - a lot of this movie was actually directed by credited assistant directors Jamie Gillis and Milton Ingley (aka Michael Morrison). I am sure Carlos was there, but he might have just said "Good job! Let's break for lunch." I dunno, just a theory.

Your plot - a quartet of horny divorcees (Gillis, Ingley, Herschel Savage, Jesse Adams) hatch a ridiculous plan to seduce the babysitter (Tawny Pearl) who led Savage down the path to divorce (more on this shortly). Meanwhile, John Holmes balls Kitty Shayne and Mai Lin, and pays a social call to Jamie just to prove he's in the same movie I guess. There's also outtakes from SENSUAL FIRE which can be verified from that film's trailer since the scenes did not make the final cut for some reason.

One of the surprising aspects of this movie is Savage's attempted "seduction" of Tawny via flashback which looks and sounds a whole heck of a lot like a rape attempt. The baffling part is this is incongruous with the lighthearted tone of the movie as a whole, and it's not something it dwells upon. Tawny seems pretty damn happy to see Herschel later and declares that she always loved him! I'm not sure if this is just ham-fisted writing or if Tawny took the scene in a different direction than scripted and they left it in.

I should also address "Lolita Grant" who is conspicuous by her absence from the trailer - Carlos clearly chose to leave her out. Though her name, outfit, and hairstyle leave no doubt the idea of her character, she's also pretty clearly a grown woman who happens to be very petite (under 5 feet tall and it's not close). She participates in the all-girl orgy but is mostly a spectator otherwise. Jamie grabs her from behind at one point and she screams, an uncomfortable reminder of the urban legend about Gillis. But it soon becomes clear this is part of the story and she is well and truly Into It. I don't think she and Jamie have actual intercourse though. Grant is another one of those mysterious Carlos exclusives who are not known to have worked for anyone else.

If you're curious about Tobalina hardcore, this is a good one to sample. There's less dead space and confusing snafus of film technique. The guys all have a good rapport and it's easy to buy them as buddies. It's an enjoyable time killer, though you will never mistake it for a classic.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Buy direct from Vinegar Syndrome!