• Peekarama: The Alter Of Lust / Angel On Fire

    Peekarama: The Alter Of Lust / Angel On Fire
    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 11th, 2014.
    Director: Roberta Findlay
    Cast: Sarah Nicholson, Eric Edwards, Darby Lloyd Raines, Harry Reems, Jamie Gillis
    Year: 1971/1974
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    The Movie:

    The latest in Vinegar Syndrome’s Peekarama line of vintage adult movie double features pairs up two Roberta Findlay helmed pictures, both as strange and admittedly entertaining as you’d expect from the woman who gave you The Tenement and who worked with her late husband on such trash classics as The Touch Of Her Flesh. Here’s a look…

    The Altar Of Lust:

    This first picture, made in 1971, begins with a young woman named Viveca Hansen (Erotica Lantern… do you think that’s her real name?) on the couch in the office of a shrink named Doctor Rogers (Fred J. Lincoln credited as Tony Vincent). She’s there to get some help because she can’t control her lesbian urges any longer (both actors are dubbed by the instantly recognizable voices of Michael and Roberta Findlay)!

    With this basic setup out of the way we learn how Viveca was raped by her stepfather (C. Davis Smith, a Doris Wishman regular) in her native country while out climbing rocks in a mini-dress and knee high socks one lazy afternoon. This understandably left some mental scars, and so she leaves Europe for American shores and lands in New York City where she quickly falls for a dreamy slice of beefcake named Don (Harry Reems, sans the moustache, credited as Stan Freemont for some reason). Their relationship is great at first. He’s nice to her and treats her well and it seems that with his tender loving care, she’ll be able to move past her issues and get on with life… until she learns that he’s been screwing around with a girl named Marie (Suzy Mann). The plus side of this? Through her encounter with Maria Viveca learns the joys of Sapphic liaisons but when Don catches them in the act, he’s none too happy with his discovery!

    And so Viveca is conflicted. She loves Don but can’t keep her mind off of Maria. Don takes her to a party where she meets another foxy dame named Linda (Laura Cannon) and once again falls prey to lesbian temptations. She fights it, but she’s weak, which brings us back to Rogers’ office for some extra special therapy that might just cure her once and for all.

    This one is basically a softcore effort with only a few fleeting shots here and there coming close to hardcore to spice things up – there’s no genital penetration shots but the oral finger banging in the movie is pretty in your face. Some of the sex is obviously simulated while other scenes, the one with Viveca and Don in the shower for instance, are obviously not. The movie goes at a good pace and the narration from the Findlay’s (the whole thing is narrated by them, no one else speaks!) adds a really strange vibe to the picture.

    The film isn’t particularly concerned with political correctness (Viveca is seeking treatment to cure her lesbian desires after all) and the opening rape scene is ugly (Smith is a pretty rough looking guy, and as such, is actually well cast as the sleazy stepdad) but the movie is a pretty entertaining picture and an early directorial effort from Findlay. The cast do fine here – Erotica Lantern (ha!) is easy enough on the eyes and it’s fun to see a young Harry Reems appear here, Last House On The Left’s Fred J. Lincoln too. All of this is set to a weird soundtrack of library music and fuzzed out rock numbers. It’s hard to take any of this seriously but it’s an interesting watch and plenty entertaining.

    Angel On Fire:

    Up next is 1974’s Angel On Fire (also known as Angel No. 9), a hardcore picture that starts with an opening scene in which a woman named Carol (Judy Craven) is doing her best to please a guy named Steve (Alan Marlow) in the sack. He gets off and then basically chews her out, treats her lick dirt and gives her the old heave-ho out the door. Steve is an asshole. He heads out to start his day and struts about the streets of Manhattan completely unaware that nearby a guy (Marc Stevens) in a Volkswagen van is getting his knob polished by a woman (Jennifer Jordan). As she gets him all hot and bothered he stops paying attention to the road and KAPOW! He plows his van right into Steven.

    Somehow, Steven winds up in heaven where Angel Number 9 (Jordan) is waiting for him. She tells him that he’s been such a jerk to the ladies in his life that she’s sending him back to Earth as Stephanie to experience life as a member of the fairer sex. Before she does that, however, he gets on last stab at being a dude boning a chick and they get it on. From there, yeah, Stephanie (Darby Lloyd Rains) finds herself laying in the road where Steven got hit. Marc Stevens gives her a ride back to an apartment where they get it on, and then he takes off. after that Stephanie discovers how much fun it is to play with her breasts and then heads into the bathroom to bathsturbate in the tub, noting how amazing the running water feels on her body.

    From there, she meets one of Stephen’s ex-girlfriends (Day Jason) and has a lesbian fling with her. Now seemingly quite comfortable in her new body, Stephanie decides she’s going to be a model. And just like that, she is! A photographer named Jeff (Jamie Gillis) checks out her goods and takes a few shots of her and then they engage in some sex. She falls for him fast and hard and then he basically tells her to get lost. But she wants to blow him! So he lets her, trash talks her, and breaks her heart. Later she invites him to a party where he concentrates entirely on screwing another girl, and she’s devastated. Has Steven, by way of Stephanie, learned how tough it is to be a woman in 1974, and if so, well he make it back to heaven to live happily ever after? We’ll have to wait until Angel Number 9 screws Angel Number 10 (Eric Edwards) to find out.

    This one is pretty fun. Heaven is a big fluffy place where angles play with harps that are spray painted silver and some suspiciously familiar music plays in the background. There’s a pretty great cast at work here and the woman are plenty attractive (well, not so much Ms. Craven) while the guys are enthusiastic and completely game. Gillis’ trash talking scene with Rains is really well done and probably the highpoint of the movie from an erotic standpoint. At just over seventy-five minutes it moves quickly and is fairly well shot.

    There are a few amusing moments where Stephanie’s internal narration is as hokey as that heard in the first movie but for the most part the cast all deliver their lines rather effectively here. The scene with Stevens and Rains is interesting in that he looks like he’s just been covered in ‘spray tan’ and she’s as white as a porcelain doll. Rains is at her prime here, she looks great, and even if it’s weird that she decides to have sex with the dude who just ran her down with a VW van, she’s a lot of fun to watch and even handles the more dramatic aspects that take over in the last fifteen minutes rather well. This may not have the production values of a Metzger or a Sarno nor the layers of characterization or plot but it uses a few of the same cast members those two masters of their craft often worked with and it uses them well. It’s a fun, mostly light hearted piece of smut and a lot of fun to watch.


    Altar Of Lust looks fantastic in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transferred from the negative. The elements used were in excellent condition and while there is a scratch or two here and there, for the most part the transfer is as clean and as colorful as you could hope for – it looks great. Angel On Fire, sourced from a theatrical print, also looks quite good but it has considerably more print damage on display, particularly around reel changes. It’s more than watchable, and the colors again look fantastic, it just doesn’t look as good as the first feature.

    Both movies get the Dolby Digital Mono treatment, in English with no alternate language options or subtitles provided. Again, Altar Of Lust sounds really good with barely a hint of hiss in the background while Angel On Fire has some crackle and some hiss in a few spots that thankfully never really interferes with the dialogue or the music. Levels are properly balanced for both features.

    Extras are limited to static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s Peekarama Double Feature release of Roberta Findlay’s Altar Of Lust and Angel On Fire might be a bare bones affair but both movies look better than they ever have before on this release. Findlay fans will appreciate this one more than casual smut aficionados but both movies are bizarre enough work as the strange cinematic oddities of the seventies that they are.