• Heaven's Touch



    Released by: Pink Flamingo Entertainment
    Released on: 2011
    Director: Shaun Costello
    Cast: Michael Knight, Gail Sterling, Veronica Hart, Sharon Kane, Ron Jeremy, Joanna Storm
    Year: 1983

    The Movie:

    One of Shaun Costello’s last films and one of the last adult films of the eighties to be shot on 35mm film, Heaven’s Touch is Costello’s take on Warren Beatty’s 1978 comedy, Heaven Can Wait. Promising ‘a sexload of heavenly surprises’ the picture stars Michael Knight as Henry Ottinger who, when we meet him, is in his office atop the World Trade Center indulging his carnal side in an orgy taking place in the copy room with three of his secretaries (one of whom is Gail Sterling). During the gang bang, Henry has a heart attack and drops dead – but what a way to go!

    With his physical body dead, Henry’s spirit heads up to heaven but when he gets there, he’s not interested – he figures there’s been some sort of grave mistake and he wants to get it corrected. The film’s Saint Peter is Miss Penny (Veronica Hart), a literal gatekeeper, and she figures he might actually be right. Penny decides that she’ll help Henry find a new body for his spirit and as she offers up his choices, he tries each one out – along with a willing female participant. So as Penny and Henry try out new bodies, with ‘ghost Henry’ boning his way around New York City, things get complicated when a woman named Linda Armstrong (Sharon Kane) kills her husband, Barry Armstrong, to get his loot only to find out his body gets taken over by Henry.

    If this hardcore comedy doesn’t play quite as well as some of Costello’s more interesting pictures, it’s still got enough going for it that it’ll be worth a look for fans of the director’s quirky output. Michael Knight, handsome and competent enough as a sex performer, doesn’t make for the most exciting of leading men. His performance is pretty flat and he doesn’t have the charisma of some of the better male performers that Costello worked with over the years. Veronica Hart, however, is a lot of fun even if her role doesn’t involve any of the actual screwing. She looks great here and shows once again that she’s quite good as an actress and not just as a sex performer. Sharon Kane has two scenes here – her first with a young Ron Jeremy and her second with Knight – and she definitely stands out amongst the other actresses thanks to some pretty intense work on her part. She’s got a pretty intense vibe about her in this picture and she’s absolutely giving it her all. George Payne pops up in one scene where he gets head from Cheri Champagne, but those expecting one of his over the top insane performances will be disappointed as this one is played pretty safe even if Payne is a leather daddy and Champagne a dominatrix.

    Story wise the comedy works well and the script moves at a good pace, ensuring that there’s enough sex for the raincoat crowd but also enough of a story to keep your attention even when uglies aren’t being bumped. The camera work is a few steps up from your standard adult movie and the fact that it serves as a time capsule of the lower Manhattan of the early eighties also adds some interest, as the area has changed so much since the exteriors for this film were shot there.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Pink Flamingo presents Heaven’s Touch in a nice looking 1.33.1 fullframe transfer. Compositions look pretty good here, no missing heads or noticeable boom mics, so we can probably safely assume this is the film’s intended aspect ratio though the fact that it was shot on 35mm could be an indication that it was meant to be shown wider than it is here. Regardless, without any obvious cropping to note, the quality of the picture is quite good. Things are frequently soft but most early 80s porn has this same sort of softness to it and it was probably inherent in the original photography. Overall the image is clean and clear and there are no problems with print damage or compression artifacts – you won’t get the detail you would out of a bigger budgeted production but yeah, compared to other adult film’s of the era, there’s not much to complain about here.

    The English language mono soundtrack does have some very minor hiss in a few spots but these problems are minor and you won't have any problem understanding the dialogue. Levels are fairly well balanced and if there's a bit of distortion present in the high end, it's easy enough to look past it. Optional subtitles are provided in Danish, Norwegian, German, French, Dutch and Swedish.

    Extras are carried over from earlier releases in Pink Flamingo’s Shaun Costello line. The best extras, almost all of which are text based, are the interviews, the first of which is with Costello himself and covers most of his career. Conducted by Nicolas Rioult, it's a pretty solid read, as is the second interview with Maryse Alberti, who worked as a still photographer on many porno movies shot in New York City during the seventies including a few of those made by Costello. Costello contributes an essay entitled Hooked On Sleaze which describes in lurid and extremely readable detail how he got into the business before sharing some stories from his time in the trenches. Rounding out the extras on the disc is a slideshow of pictures of Costello from his porn directing days (0:30), a slideshow of stills and posters showcasing different Costello films (0:50), animated menus and chapter stops.

    Inside the keepcase is a full color booklet of liner notes from Nicolas Rioult that give a solid overview of Costello's career from the early days up to the present day and which discuss the impact his films had and some of the performers he was known to work with.

    The Final Word:

    Costello’s penultimate film isn’t his best but it’s still an entertaining sex romp with some effective comedy, a strong cast of early eighties performers, and some impressive production values. Pink Flamingo’s DVD looks and sounds pretty good and video quality is considerably better here than on the domestic DVD that Cabellero put out a few years ago.