• Peekarama: Deep Roots/Starlet Nights

    Peekarama: Deep Roots/Starlet Nights
    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: February 11th, 2014.
    Director: Joe Bardo
    Cast: Jesse Chacan, Anita Sands, Liz Renay, Leslie Bovee, Kandi Barbour
    Year: 1978
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    The Movies:

    The second entry in Vinegar Syndrome’s new line of vintage adult film double features pairs up two scintillating features from 1978, both directed by Joe Bardo (yep, that guy who worked with Ray Dennis Steckler a lot) working under the alias of Linda Barr. Here’s what you get…

    Deep Roots:

    Our first feature follows a Native American man named Billy (Jesse Chacan) who works as a painter. He decides to do what his forefathers would not, and that’s to explore live off of the reservation where his family grew up. To do this he drives to Los Angeles on his motorcycle in hopes of learning more about the outside world. Oddly enough, for someone who has never left the reservation, Billy seems to know his way around town. He also seems to have a few interesting connections.

    After strutting down Hollywood Boulevard and checking out the sights, he pays a visit to Joanie (Anita Sands), a pretty lady he expects to model for him. She’s got other ideas in mind, however – she doesn’t want him to paint the canvas, no, she wants him to paint her body. So he does, and then they screw. From there we learn he’s got a thing for a random girl (Toni Bell) but their relationship hits a roadblock when she stops going down on him in the middle of their make out session. Billy opts to screw her friend (Mary Swan) instead.

    From there, we follow Liz Renay around for a bit as her friend Joan (Debbie Love) goes off to get her hair done by a man known only as Senor Riccardo (credited as ‘The Amazing Riccardo’), a talented coiffeur who does more than take a little off the top. While this is going on, Billy gets a second, more successful shot with the girl who wouldn’t finish him while Liz has to deal with the guilt Joan now feels for cheating on her man with Riccardo. How does Liz help her come to terms with her infidelity? By showing off her topless dancing skills, of course! Eventually Billy shows up just in time for the swingers party that Liz and Joan have been planning… and so does Groucho Marx?

    This is pretty nutty and more often than not intentionally funny. It’s unusually self-referential for a seventies porno, highlighted by a scene in which Liz Renay sits in bed reading her own autobiography (My Face For The World To See) and noting what a nice girl the subject of the book seems to be! It also features a bizarre AM radio style soft rock soundtrack during much of its running time and some obligatory seventies era Los Angeles location footage to help add to the atmosphere. It moves quickly and features and interesting cast, including the ridiculously hairy Riccardo and, yes, a Groucho Marx impersonator. Leading man Jesse Chacan is handsome enough to work in the role but doesn’t have a whole lot of range. He was likely cast in the role for two reasons: 1 – Native Indian’s were kind of popular in early seventies cinema and 2 – he looks cool on a motorcycle. He seems like a nice enough guy, but he’s not going to ever be remembered as one of pornography’s great thespians. Renay’s bizarre and completely uncalled for dance routine is horribly hypnotic and so out of place it boggles the mind and the story never really turns out to be… much of a story at all but it’s hard not to have a good time with this one. It’s pretty wacky stuff.

    Starlet Nights:

    A strange retelling of Snow White, Starlet Nights kicks off with a scene wherein a woman named Joyce (Leslie Bovee) wakes up from a night’s rest and shows off her goods to a magic mirror (voiced by Tyler Horne), who puzzlingly does Tonto impersonations at very inappropriate moments. Confronted with a face full of Bovee’s cooch, the mirror in turn pushes back – it’s not really in the mood because it hasn’t had its morning coffee yet. What the mirror will do, however, is magically produce a couple of dudes for her to bone down on, they being a genie (Jesse Chacan again and decked out in a ridiculous genie costume here). With that over and done with, we soon learn that Joyce is married to a grumbly old man who doesn’t satisfy here, no real surprise there, and that through her marriage to him she’s a step-mother to a foxy young woman named Snow (Kandi Barbour).

    To make sure that she’s never overshadowed by her beautiful stepdaughter, Joyce goes about arranging an appointment for her to meet a talent agent but not before spiking her apple with some sort of insta-horny aphrodisiac to make sure that the dirty deed gets done and how. It starts off with a run in with the dad’s sexy secretary and then segues into an orgy at a masquerade party. Oh, and Snow lands the part, of course, but what will become of her career once she dresses up as Marilyn Monroe and gets down?

    This one isn’t quite as zany as the first feature but thanks to the whole ‘magic mirror’ thing there are moments where it comes close. Seriously, the strangely effeminate mirror belts out Lone Ranger/Tonto quotes and occasionally sounds like Rip Taylor. Not sure what that’s all about but there you go. The movie definitely scores points for featuring both the lovely Leslie Bovee and super cute Candi Barbour in main roles and both ladies do fine work here, their fans should find plenty to appreciate in that regard. As mentioned, Chacan pops up here again, not looking particularly stoked to be playing a guy dressed up in a silly genie’s outfit but maybe grateful for the work? Inferior to the first film, this is still worth seeing and plenty amusing.


    Both movies are presented in 1.85.1 widescreen transferred from the 35mm film elements, and as usual with Vinegar Syndrome’s releases, both movies look very good. Some small splices and scratches pop up here and there as well as some minor specks but detail is good and colors look excellent. What we wind up with here are some nice, film-like transfers taken from materials that were culled from less than perfect sources but which still look very nice. Texture is strong throughout and there are no issues with compression artifacts, noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    Both films get Dolby Digital Mono soundtracks, in English and without any optional language options or subtitles provided. Clarity of each mix is fine. There are some scenes that sound a bit flat but that’s obviously to do with the original recording. The scores sound good here and the levels are properly balanced. There is some hiss and some crackle in each of the two movies but the dialogue is consistently easy to understand and follow.

    Outside of a static menu offering chapter selection, there are no extras on this disc.

    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s double feature release of Deep Roots and Starlet Nights pairs up two fairly bonkers adult films from the late seventies, each of which makes good use of an interesting cast and which offer up just as many laughs as they do cheap thrills. There’s nothing here in terms of extras, unfortunately, but both movies look great. If vintage smut is your thing, consider this recommended.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Robin Bougie's Avatar
      Robin Bougie -
      Holy crap! I can finally see DEEP ROOTS after wondering for years what it was about. I have the press book.
    1. WestgateGallery's Avatar
      WestgateGallery -
      For anyone who missed the announcement: Robin Bougie's latest book GRAPHIC THRILLSis out and amazing. In full color, Robin presents dozens of movie posters from the Golden Age of XXX, but unlike in the recent SEXYTIME, the films are put into context via Robin's breezy, saucy, fact-filled entries about each title. His introduction is a remarkably thorough, effortlessly witty history of the porn film industry, and the posters are lovingly selected and the perfect mix of classics, cult faves and obscure gems. Anyone interested in acquiring some of the actual movie art should visit our new online poster boutique westgategallery.com . We have one of the largest collections of American porno one-sheets, plus rare Italian, French and UK subway posters, quads and locandinas for almost every title in Robin's book. Plus recent Vinegar Syndrome releases like ORIENTAL BABYSITTER and EXPECTATIONS. Our other categories (Classic, Cult & Exploitation, Giallo and Horror) are similarly crammed with wild posters of every size from all over the world. We can provide top-notch linen-backing and restoration for any item we sell, and if you're in the L.A area, museum-quality framing, delivery and installation. As an introductory special. mention RockShockPop and get 15% off any 1-2 items and 20% off any 3 or more.