The cover of this latest sordid quartet from After Hours Cinema boasts of "4 psychotic 1970s adult classics that turned the grindhouse into a total madhouse".
The two-disc set opens with the titular SEXUAL INSANITY, an early 70s curio that is perhaps most noteworthy for the appearance of Rick Lutze.
Lutze was hugely prolific during the first half of the decade, appearing in countless pornos and loops (often uncredited), many times alongside his regular partner Rene Bond. Notable films of theirs include DIARY OF A NYMPH and LES CHIC. Non-porn fans may know Lutze from his role as Harry in Carl Monson's bizarre PLEASE DON'T EAT MY MOTHER.
Here, a husky male voiceover lusts over random women as a handheld camera follows several females, from the neck down, as they go about their business. At first our narrator compares women to tigers, and then reasons that they fantasise about sex just as much as men do - he goes so far as to suggest that all women dream of having one day per year, where they can have sex non-stop with a stranger.
"This film is about three women who do just that," the narrator breathlessly tells us as the credits roll (directorial efforts are attributed to John Mirish).
Then we meet Stacey, the first of our three fillies. She's a hot brunette dressed in an incredibly short jacket skirt. She's walking down the street but thinking of "lots and lots of making love", according to the voiceover man. He continues to perv as we meet "luscious Linda" and "highly seductive Toby".
Now that the girls have each been introduced separately to the screen, all that's left is for the narrator to take a back seat and let the action bring them together.
First, though, Mirish wants to familiarise us with Mrs Corman, a beautiful pert redhead given to washing herself extremely thoroughly in the shower (the camera angle is positioned perfectly ...).
Feeling sufficiently clean, she retires to her crimson boudoir and adorns herself in kinky gear - all in preparation of her lover, Lutze, arriving. And this he does, leading to an afternoon of diligent shagging.
Mrs Corman, it appears, is a horny married woman who likes nothing better than to play away while her husband is away on business. Which means there is plenty of illicit fucking for us to spy on. The only problem for Mrs Corman is that we're not the only ones spying on her ...
Quite what this clumsy segue from the three women at the beginning of the film has to do with anything, is anyone's idea. But it does all come full-circle, sort of, towards the end.
Overall though, SEXUAL INSANITY is as brainless as its title suggests. It's choppily edited, has no concept of continuity either in its camera set-ups or script, and has a schizophrenic tone which veers between bawdy comedy and a rather uncomfortable confession from a young woman who used to be abused by her father.
The sex is softcore but that's not to say it isn't erotic. On the contrary, the women are hot and the natural settings (gaudy settees; weird chambers full of hanging furniture) add an authenticity to proceedings.
Ultimately INSANITY is a murky little effort, devoid of artistic merit but strangely watchable regardless.
Next up is THE FAMILY.
Happily, this second film has a little more in the way of plot than the preceding feature. It follows a commune of hippies who introduce quiet blonde Karen to their fold. She's happy to share their pot and squat in their sparsely furnished pad to begin with, and regale them with tales of how she got double-crossed by a crooked Mexican drug-dealer.
Then it's time for Karen's "initiation" into the group. Cue Karen getting naked on a makeshift bed with a bearded type, and getting fresh while the onlookers around her get themselves hot under their collars ...
THE FAMILY is more DIY softcore nonsense (peppered with some borderline hardcore lesbo close-up footage), and it's mercifully short at only 50 minutes in length. It does build towards a minor purpose of sorts, but you may lose the will to live getting there. The most alarming scene in an otherwise drab film is a pool table-set threesome which includes explicit oral sex snippets and - get this - female masturbation with a pool cue ...
Both films are rather ropy looking, containing more than their fair share of pops, crackles and onscreen dirt. Both are presented in 1.33:1, which appears to be the correct aspect ratio.
Disc one opens with an animated main menu page which allows immediate access to INSANITY and FAMILY.
Although there are no scene-selection menus, each film has its own share of remote-accessible chapters: 13 for INSANITY; 13 again for FAMILY.
Over on disc two, the rudeness continues with GIRLS IN THE BAND, from 1976.
This begins with a TV reporter interviewing people camping out on a busy city's streets, in preparation of a big New Year's Eve party. Indoors, watching the show in the comfort of his bed, a young man (the brilliantly named Oscar Wild) wanks off while waiting for the girl beside him to awaken and satisfy his lusts.
They're just the first of a disparate bunch of folk who are introduced in seemingly unrelated sequences, leading to a more substantial shindig scenario.
Pill-popping, smoking, boozing, wanking ... these youngsters know just how to get in the mood for a party. And, when the party finally brings them all together and gets underway, it becomes a veritable orgy of naked flesh. Well, what else would you expect when John Holmes is among the guests?!
Although a full-on hardcore film (directed by Andrea Scott - and one of at least 21 films that Holmes made during 1976), there is nothing remarkable about BAND. It's badly shot, crummily lit, devoid of any discernible storyline and - worst of all - the sex is unappealing to the point that it becomes quickly tedious.
Still, it may be of interest for Holmes die-hards ...
This set is rounded off by SKIN-MAG CONFIDENTIAL, the only film here that doesn't come equipped with its own opening titles (After Hours have provided their own title card).
A man in sunglasses turns up at a mail order depot applying for the position of shipping clerk. The attractive brunette secretary shows him the basics and then leaves him to it, promising to "check back later".
Our man quickly learns the ropes of his job and sets about delivering the relevant magazine subscriptions. What follows is a succession of vignettes based around the people who our man delivers said porno mags to.
CONFIDENTIAL wins the award for best wraparound idea, insofar as it pays even less heed to the need for a storyline than the first three films (some feat) and makes no bones whatsoever about existing purely for the fucking.
If only that fucking were anything to write home about ...
The films are once more presented in 1.33:1 but look a little less grainy and a lot brighter here.
English mono throughout the set is weak, save for on BAND where it's rather loud but occasionally distorted with background noise.
Again, the disc opens with an animated main menu page and remote access to each film via 15 chapters.
Disc two also features trailers for EXTREME SLEAZE 3, FILTH ON 42ND STREET, KINK-O-RAMA, NEW YORK FANTASY CLUB and SEX EDUCATION DOUBLE FEATURE.
SEXUAL INSANITY is not a good collection of porn by any means, but the inclusions of Lutze and Holmes may be enough to raise interest for some.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by After Hours Cinema|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|