Yet another scintillating secretion from those raunchy folks at Alpha Blue Archives, this double-feature of premium pornography features one of the seventies most daring and risky female crafters of carnality - ladies and gentlemen, Doris Wishman, exploitation extraordinaire. As interested in storytelling as sexual graphicness, weaving her fornicating fables with a sensationalist's attention to 'the money shot' and a more surprising artistic sense of meaning, Wishman is certainly a persona worthy of study, and these films the perfect examples of her hard-edged, sexually explicit style.
Often combining sex and violence, making up in depravity and roughness what the censors didn't allow her to display in terms of sexuality in her more legitimate softcore and exploitation features, Wishman milked the seedy locations, risky propositions, and deviant storylines of her loosely scripted stories for all they were worth. In her milking hands, necessity didn't only instigate imagination, it provoked technique, lending her motivation to experiment with camera, filming styles, and approach to actors and actresses that otherwise may not have been explored. More importantly, the need for extra spice with which to flavor her entangled flesh-and-limbs stews led to scathingly brutal subplots (and themes) whose viciousness both strengthened, and was complimented by, the sexual aspects of the films.
Best known for the 'roughies' that she and her husband crafted with little money but a profusion of perversity, knowing how to get the best bang (literally!) for her filmmaking buck, Doris Wishman, similar to other exploitation mavericks of her period dived deep into the decadence of human lust, greed, and anger for the raw materials of sin which she sprayed atop cum-dripping body parts. Using naked flesh as her canvas, Wishman graduated from quickie exploitation movies -- testing the surface of sexual explicitness -- to producing the adult features which this package presents for our limp-wrist enjoyment.
The first feature, Come With Me My Love, is a marvellous ménage of writhing flesh and fetishism, featuring such smut-legends as R. Bolla, Vanessa Del Rio, Annie Sprinkle, and Nancy Dare. This grand revue of professional sexpots and stalwart studs surprises by its sincerity and seriousness; it likewise entices by its impressive heights of tension and terror, evoked by pacing and direction of a screenplay interested in more than the typical smut preoccupations of finding the right hole.
As much a horror film designed to terrify as to titillate, suspense and sadism share the seedy spotlight with a plot which, removed from its adult origins, could easily comprise the foundation of a straight thriller or psychological horror film. The hardcore sex, which will undoubtedly prove distracting and/or distasteful, to some actually lends the movie further realism, believability, and panache. Yes, ladies and gentleman, people actually fuck - and since the graphic sex is featured herein within a larger, more complex subtext rather than as the main event - a reversal of usual porn ethics - the sex is not only enticing to look at but integral to the atmosphere of the larger story.
Beginning in the middle by revisiting the past the story unfolds in 1925 Kenmore City when a fellow discovers that his wife and best friend are screwing. Randolph, our jilted gentleman, summarily shoots both them and himself. Hardly a turn on, Wishman uses this scene as a legitimate dramatic device, pushing forward into a future pre-ordained by tragic circumstances as Abbie (Ursula Austin) moves into her new apartment in 1976. While coincidence is stretched as she finds herself living in the exact same spot where the earlier murder took place, and she looks similar to Randolph's murdered wife, a surreal sense of fate surrounds the proceeding mystery.
Crushing taboos with lurid scenes of sexual assault and spectral rape, Abbie is raped by the malevolent spirit of the suicide's spirit, though some sense of normalcy is re-established the next day, further complicating the plot as her disbelief challenged her perspective and the nature of reality. The dreadful menace of her otherworldly lover/attacker continues to infiltrate her world, and as she spreads her legs for several new 'friends,' she discovers each one summarily dead! Through a plot that further convolutes itself, juicy if inexplicable sex scenes thrown in at random, and floating cutlery, Wishman crafts a hybrid of the possession film and adult entertainment, raising hairs and hardons. Despite drab, unbelievable 'porno' dialogue and poor dubbing - or perhaps because of it! - we're treated to an impressively atmospheric sleaze-fest of fornicating specters and splintered spincters. Hardly fine art, Wishman's lewd excess does attain a basic level of proficiency often lacking in this era of loose-jointed sex scenes.
The second feature, Satan Was A Lady (directed by Wishman as Kenyon Wintel) threatens to be a lackluster tangle of semen and bad acting but manages to surmount its deficiencies of logic and budget. Victor (Ashley Moore) and Claudia (Bree Anthony), playing filthy for our amusement, are soon to be married. While she struggles to hold off the consummation until after the wedding, she is soon playing catcher to his balls. From seemingly nowhere comes Terry (Annie Sprinkle) to watch the fun before returning to her mother Ada (Foxx). Calling her boyfriend (Bobby Astyr), she's soon peeling off her shirt while the audience is peeling down its collective pants, and another Wishman romp begins.
This seemingly random sexing goes on until the plot takes a mean-spirited turn into a lusty triangle of betrayal, cheating, and revenge. As infidelity leads to murder, the supernatural suggests its hoary head (meanwhile other heads are poking into various holes, down throats, and spreading 'love' faster than a water hose. Not as proficient, interesting, or well crafted as the first feature, this programmer is closer related to the sex films of today, more interested in raw scenes of bodies engaged in boning than in storytelling, yet even at her lower creative ebb, Wishman still delivers the sexy, seedy goods. Wile the murder and hinted occult elements are overshadowed by a story that, near its end doesn't know where the hell it wants to go, and artistry has clearly taken a backseat to humping. Something, of course, Wishman specialized in, and delivers here with bravado.
Alpha Blue Archives are presented in surprisingly good prints, offered full frame. While occasional scratches, lines, and soft spots waken the picture quality, one expects little more from such rare, seedy pictures, and though techno-geeks will undoubtedly disagree, a little grain isn't necessarily a bad thing in a movie of this sort, lending it a further feeling of 42nd street mystique. Audio, similar in quality, is mono. Although proficient, the music often makes you reach for the volume controls, but you won't care much, playing with 'other' things. Extras include a text bio of Wishman herself, exploring her career, specifically as pertains to her adult film contributions. Irksome, she comes across like her movies - brash, full of spit and vinegar, daring you to take her on. A trailer follows the text, itself followed by promotional clips for A Woman's Torment, a trailer for The Tiffany Minx, and others.
Review by William P Simmons
|Released by Alpha Blue Archives|
|Region All - NTSC|
|see main review|