• Peekarama: Afternoon Delights / Slave Of Pleasure



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July, 2017.
    Director: Shaun Costello
    Cast: Serena, Vanessa del Rio, Samantha Fox, Veronica Hart, Eric Edwards, Bobby Astyr, C.J. Laing, Jamie Gillis Roger Caine, Merle Michaels, George Payne
    Year: 1980/1978
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    The Movies:

    A double dose of skeezy skin flicks from none other than Shaun Costello (a.k.a. Warren Evans, Russ Carlson, Amanda Barton, Jack Hammer, Helmuth Richler, Freddie Williams, John Stover, Nicholas Berland, Eclair von Ott, Otto Von Lickit, Oscar Tripe and probably a few others – read our interview with him here!) courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome’s Peekarama handpicked line of seventies smut!

    Afternoon Delights:

    The first film, both written and directed by Costello before he started working with bigger budgets on bigger productions shortly after this movie was made, opens with the kind of catchy (and oddly familiar) theme song that’ll be stuck in your head for a while, playing over the opening credits. From there, we meet a group of four divorced guys, all gathered together for their weekly poker game. The man behind this all? It’s Pete Ferrell, and he’s telling the blonde maid (Christie Ford) on the end of his knob how he intends to make the next poker night a little bit different – he wants to spice things up a bit, and that’s where she comes in!

    Of course, the other three guys, all older than Pete, show up as planned. Pete decides to change things up a bit by getting the other guys to all write down what their ex-wives’ various sexual sins, only to have these confessions read aloud to the others by another member of the group. As all of this plays out, we get a chance to see the stories happen in real time. First up, Merle Michaels wakes up to the sounds of a loud construction crew and after diddling herself in the shower, allows two of the workers (George Payne and Dave Ruby) to come over and bone her. From there we learn how another wife (Veronica Hart) got it on with her dentist (Bobby Astyr) and his hygienist (Diane May). After that, another woman (Vanessa del Rio) heads to a porn theater where Costello’s own Dirty Susan is unspooling on the big screen, to fool around with some patrons. In a rad move, she keeps her mirrored shades on for the first half of all of this – why is that rad? I dunno, sometimes you can’t explain these things, but it is. Up next, Samantha Fox plays a wanton wife that leads a double life as a dominatrix (complete with an S.S. getup!) and who fools around with a male friend (Alan Adrian) before Serena shows up and auditions for a role in a porno movie with Ron Hudd and Ashley Moore as her co-stars.

    It ends with an interesting twist that we won’t spoil here.

    This is well shot and nicely paced, moving along at a good clip and featuring a good mix of sex, humor and plot. The vignettes don’t overstay their welcome, they set things up nicely as they need to and then let the performers get on with it, but it works well. We even get some nice vintage porno movie theater footage during Ms. del Rio’s scene in the picture, to give the movie some historical context. The sex and non-sex scenes are all nicely lensed and, typical of Costello’s films, the use of music in the picture is really solid. Add to that the fact that the film really does benefit from a great cast and some creative and scintillating staging in its multiple scenes of carnal encounters and it’s easy to see why remains well worth the time of any self-respecting vintage smut enthusiast.

    Slaver Of Pleasure:

    The third film in the 'Dan McCord' series finds super-perv Jamie Gills playing a French (maybe... the accent comes and goes and when it's on, it's still really bad) slave trader named Henri who is operating a crime ring in New York City. Henri seems to have a knack for kidnapping sexy young housewives and moving them off to his clientele before anyone can nab him for it. When one of these housewives goes missing and her husband gets upset, he calls in Dan McCord to track Henri down and save his nubile young wife from certain doom.

    Things get complicated when it turns out that the husband was having an affair with his wife's best friend, Barbara (played by the always entertaining C. J. Laing). It turns out that Barbara is connected to Henri in that she's been supplying him with a pretty steady stream of beaver to snatch. The unwitting victims are, once sold, abused sexually in some grisly sex scenes (one of which involves some toe sucking... but hey, we’re not here to judge – consenting adults should be able to do whatever the Hell they want) as well as having insults hurled at them.

    The plot lends itself to some pretty rough stuff, especially towards the end. Mild spoilers - here Barbara is found out and she feels the rough touch of sexual retribution at the hands of you know how. She's bound and beaten and has her nipples subjected to some serious abuse in the form of some razor blade love. Look for Mr. R. Bolla (of Cannibal Holocaust and Debbie Does Dallas fame) in one scene with an unidentified brunette. The rough stuff is clearly staged if you’re paying attention, but if you’re not, it’s quite convincing. The fact that Laing seems as distraught and simultaneously into it makes it all the more impressive. This isn’t Costello’s most artistically impressive picture, not by a long shot, but it’s a rough and gritty little fuck flick that’ll hold your attention from start to finish.

    Herschel Savage, Ashley Moore and Gloria Todd also appear in the picture in supporting roles, but C. J. Laing and Jamie Gillis are the real reasons to watch this one with the lights down low and a cold beer in hand. And on top of that, we get some pretty great footage shot at Coney Island in the seventies to geek out over.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both movies are presented in transfers in standard definition transfer taken from new 2k scans of original 35mm archival elements. Afternoon Delights is framed at 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen and Slave Of Pleasure at 1.33.1 fullframe. There’s some mild print damage here and there on each film but nothing so serious as to take you out of the movie. Detail is pretty decent and colors are nicely reproduced. Black levels are fairly solid here and the transfers are free of compression artifacts, noise reduction and edge enhancement.

    Both films get the English language Dolby Digital Mono treatment. Clarity is just fine in each film with the music used in each feature sounding nice and clear. Balance is fine in each picture and while range is understandably limited by the original elements you can always understand the dialogue well enough.

    Aside from a trailer for Afternoons Delights, we also get commentary tracks courtesy of Shaun Costello himself over each of the two films included on the disc, moderated by Joe Rubin. These were recorded over the phone so the audio quality is less than ideal but the tracks are interesting. In the first track Costello talks about the use of music over the opening credits and how that song wound up there, how the success of Water Power led to the making of this movie, the different cast and crew members that he worked with in the picture and some of the other films that they collaborated on, the locations that were used in the film, writing the dialogue for the film and how a certain actor ‘butchered it,’ some of the actors and actresses that he enjoyed working with, his thoughts on Vanessa del Rio, the tricks of shooting a movie scene in a theater on this and other picture like Joe Rock Superstar, and even Costello’s thoughts on using social media and some of the trouble he’s run into there.

    The track for Slave Of Pleasure, also moderated by Rubin, is equally informative. They start off by talking about the Dan McCord series of films, which Costello made for Cal Young, the use of music in the picture and where it came from, the fake names used in the credits to make it look like he had an actual crew working with him, his encounter with ‘two ugly biker babes’ that didn’t play out the way he wanted to in his performing days, working in various pictures before then coming up with his ‘one day wonders’ formula that allowed him to just crank out one low budget picture after another to keep the producers happy and the theater seats full. Rubin notes that this picture is quite a bit longer than the earlier McCord pictures, which Costello notes was done at the producer’s behest, and they also talk about the camera work in the picture, how time restraints led to the movie turning out the way that it did and who did the camera work on the film. He also talks about the organized crime ties that the industry had at the time and how it affected the porn production of the day in New York City, what he shot on 16mm versus 35mm film stock, how various performers would pop up in a movie or two and then disappear, the films of Joe Davian (who Costello didn’t really have much interaction with), working with Robert Kerman, how the BDSM scenes in the movie were shot and quite a bit more.

    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD double feature release of Peekarama: Afternoon Delights / Slave Of Pleasure is a good one, presenting both of these well-made skin flicks, each made with a great cast, in pretty solid shape and each accompanied by a genuinely interesting commentary track that details its history in fascinating ways.