• Peekarama: Red Heat/Hot Vampire/Peeping Tom

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: October 8th, 2014.
    Director: Ray Dennis Steckler
    Cast: Various
    Year: Various
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    The Movies:

    To some, the concept of a triple feature of Ray Dennis Steckler’s XXX output may sound like torture, to others… Heaven on Earth in DVD form! For those who choose to indulge, those curious cult cinema devotees curious as to what rock bottom tastes like, we here at R!S!P! say only to proceed with caution. With that caveat now out there in the open… shall we?

    Red Heat:

    First up is this porno mystery wherein a female porn director (Cindy Lou Sutters, Steckler’s frequent nomme de porn) tells us by way of some amazingly wooden off screen narration how she and her faithful cameraman, a guy named Habib, have travelled all the way to Las Vegas to shoot a skinflick. She meets a woman named Mary who she decides will be the star of her movie and gives her the nickname ‘Red Heat’ because she’s a red hot redhead. Mary’s boyfriend convinced her she’d make a good porno star and she went along with it because, hey, why not.

    Unfortunately with that red hair comes the temper and before you know it she catches her boyfriend screwing around on her and then stabs him to death. Distraught, she hits the streets for more of the same. See, ‘Red Heat’ liked the feeling she got when she offed her man and know she’s looking to do more of the same. This leaves our director without a leading lady but she makes up for that by convincing an nympho named Nancy to bone as many hairy dudes in front of her camera as she can handle. She coaxes a few hookers to take part in her production too. But crazy Mary is still roaming the streets of Las Vegas. When she comes into contact with a psycho biker who has been causing trouble for her director, her mean streak gets meaner and things really hit the fan. Meanwhile, Habib gets a few blowjobs.

    About as glossy as a Steckler lensed dirty movie can get, this one is still plenty rough around the edges thanks to the dime store budget and a cast filled with some obviously inexperienced performers. The story doesn’t make much sense and is really little more than a few poorly filmed sex scenes with goofy looking actors and actresses strung together by a couple of very convenient plot devices. There are times where it feels like the movie is going to get into more cerebral territory when it follows Mary around as she has her breakdown, but nope, it doesn’t go there. Instead it offers up some wonderfully goofy murder set pieces and bad sex in place. Additionally we get some great period footage of Las Vegas, including a shot where an ambulance driving up and down the strip is promoting Deep Throat and some really cool marquees advertising various performers performing at various hotels (Hey look! Helen Reddy?). We also get to spend some time off the strip prowling various adult establishments that are pretty fun to see. None of this makes a damn lick of sense and it’s got multiple storylines going in multiple directions at once, none of which are really properly resolved, but it’s a fantastic sleazy little time capsule and as such, pretty entertaining trash.

    Hot Vampire:

    Our second feature (also known as The Mad Love Life Of A Hot Vampire – which is how it is titled on screen) starts off with a woman (Carolyn Brandt credited as Jane Bond) decked out in dime store goth-stylings telling us what happened to her husband, Dracula (Jim Parker). Through her narration we learn that he and his faithful hunchbacked man servant (Rock Heinrich) puzzlingly moved to Arizona where the Count had a good thing going. See, like all vampires he required blood to live so he had a trio of ladies he’d send out each evening to lure unsuspecting fools into ‘donating’ some blood which they would then put into vials for him and return with. How did they do this? Ladies have ways of conning men, don’t pretend you don’t know that. The secret, really, though is blowjobs.

    Eventually a guy named Dale realizes that his sister’s body has gone missing since she died in a car accident. He goes to Professor ‘Van Hersing’ to tell him of the problem and they start to figure out how the missing body ties into all of the dead johns popping up in various hotel rooms around town. When Dale spots his sister and sees her roaming around, they follow her and she leads them straight to Dracula’s comfy desert home where the ultimate battle of good versus evil will go down in typically epic Steckler fashion.

    Who knew Dracula looked kinda like Higgins from Magnum P.I.? This Count is about as scary as Chockula. The dude who plays Dracula is having a blast here, laughing like a lunatic and commanding his female slaves to bone the lucky hunchback for some reason. It’s never made clear exactly what he gets out of this, we can assume he just likes to watch. At any rate, he’s a terrible actor but way too fun to watch in the role. The rest of the cast really go for it too. Though Brandt does at least try to play her part fairly straight there’s only so much she can do about all of this. The film is a mess, it’s poorly shot and made on completely inappropriate locations but it’s amusing in its completely ineptitude but yeah, that Dracula guy, he makes it.

    Peeping Tom:

    Last but not least, Peeping Tom tells the sordid story of a dude who likes to roam the streets of Las Vegas watching people screw. Everybody needs a hobby and that’s what this guy does in his spare time. First he watches a man and a woman go at it, then he peeks in at an orgy, and then he watches a few other people screw. Watch for some of the cast members from Hot Vampire to show up here in their birthday suits to do the deed for our dear depraved dude.

    Steckler directed this one under his Sven Christian pseudonym but if it was to give it a European flair, the loads of Vegas location footage gives that away right from the start. There’s really absolutely nothing to this story and the sex footage is gritty and often pretty ugly but if you want sleaze, it delivers. Despite the rampant stupidity of the non-existent storyline some of the performances, particularly the first couple we peak in on who are in the midst of an argument, are surprisingly convincing. Not that they show a whole lot of range, but we can at least believe that maybe they really are fighting with each other. That counts for something, and the fact that they fuck in a dingy basement utility room of some sort counts for something more.

    It all just sort of ends after the last sex scene as some off screen narrator warns us that “maybe you’ll be the one Peeping Tom watches next!” What? Ewww. Remember to close your blinds, kids.


    All three films are presented in their original fullframe aspect ratio and look about as good as you can probably expect them to given that they were made by Ray Dennis Steckler. None of his movies ever looked great, even then ones made with bigger budgets than the ones featured here. Having said that, Vinegar Syndrome’s transfers are transferred from archival film elements (Red Heat was shot on 35mm, the other two on 16mm) and are at least well authored. Expect a fair bit of print damage and some moments of very heavy grain to accompany some weird color fluctuations and contrast. It does stand to reason that these are true to source, just don’t go in expecting these to look as ‘pristine’ as some of the glossier vintage adult fare the label has unleashed in the last few years.

    Each film is presented in English language Dolby Digital Mono, no alternate language or subtitle options are provided. For the most part the dialogue is clear enough and while some background hiss is obvious in spots, it isn’t really all that distracting or annoying. These sound fine for the micro-budget obscurities that they are.

    There are no extras on the disc, just static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Steckler’s films, particularly his adult films, are… let’s say an acquired taste. They really scratch the bottom of the barrel in terms of technique and production values and they’re not even particularly erotic. They do, however, offer up plenty of odd period scenery of mid-seventies Las Vegas, plenty of bizarre characters and, most importantly of all, sex as seen through the permanently skewed lens of one of cult cinemas most outré auteurs. These three oddities fit perfectly alongside his other films and if you’re in the right frame of mind, are a lot of bizarre XXX fun.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Jimmy Simard's Avatar
      Jimmy Simard -
      The boyfriend in Red Heat is played by Pierre Agostino (the Las Vegas strangler) so at least the film had one "known" actor