• Memories Within Miss Aggie (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray/DVD Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: September 25th, 2018.
    Director: Gerard Damiano
    Cast: Deborah Ashira, Patrick L. Farrelly, Kim Pope, Mary Stuart, Darby Lloyd Rains, Eric Edwards, Harry Reems
    Year: 1974
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    Memories Within Miss Aggie – Movie Review:

    Made a year after his seminal classic The Devil In Miss Jones and the same year as his ‘mainstream’ horror picture Legacy of Satan, Gerard Daminao’s 1974 film Memories Within Miss Aggie opens in a remote cabin. Here we meet Aggie (Deborah Ashira), an older woman who lives alone with a man named Richard (Patrik L. Farrelly) who sits near her in a wheelchair. As she looks through the window out at the snow, Aggie talks to Richard about their past, specifically about her sexual past, which leads to a series of three flashbacks.

    In the first, Aggie (Kim Pope) meets Richard (Eric Edwards) as she’s walking across a bridge. She notes that she hasn’t seen him around before, and they get to talking before they go back to her place and she gives herself to him for the first time. In the second flashback, Aggie (Mary Stuart) gets aroused and services herself with a kewpie doll until Richard (Harry Reems), a delivery man, arrives on the scene. She teases him from her window and he grabs a ladder and climbs up to have sex with her. In the third flashback, a lingerie clad Aggie (Darby Lloyd Rains) and aggressively pleasures herself and then seduces Richard (Ralph Herman).

    Once the three flashbacks are finished, we return to the cabin and Damiano reconciles the story, bringing to the forefront the truth about Aggie’s relationship with Richard and taking us to a place easily as dark, if not darker, than he took us with the ending to The Devil In Miss Jones.

    A superb example of a time when adult filmmakers truly were trying to compete with mainstream productions in terms of artistic intent, production values and storytelling Memories Within Miss Aggie is a decidedly different type of adult film. Where Damiano sometimes made films that existed specifically to celebrate sex (Deep Throat, People and Throat: 12 Years After being excellent examples), Memories is much more cerebral in tone. The film plays with themes similar to those that the director explored with The Devil In Miss Jones, taking the viewer head first into Aggie’s mind as she engages in increasingly intense sexual explorations.

    The movie runs eighty-minutes and features no sex at all in its opening and closing segments. In fact, to have only three sex scenes in a feature length adult film is unusual in and of itself. That said, the three scenes that Damiano does include in the film are very nicely shot, creatively staged and convincingly acted by all six cast members. They also get increasingly kinky as they progress, possibly a metaphor for the reality of Aggie’s psyche. Damiano was wise enough to cast the film with performers who had solid acting skills. Edwards in particular is very good here, as is Reems, and Darby Lloyd Rains, best known for her appearance in Radley Metzger’s Naked Came The Stranger, steals the show with her scene. Pope does a nice job of playing the naïve and virginal type while Stuart’s take on Aggie brings to the forefront the fact that she might just be a little touched in the head.

    Impressively shot by frequent Damiano collaborator João Fernandes (who would go on to a pretty big mainstream career shooting films like Invasion U.S.A. and Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter in addition to loads of classic adult pictures) and genuinely beautiful to look at in certain scenes, the film is paced well. It never feels too long and the scenes of coupling complement the story rather than pull you out of it (an all too common problem with adult features of any era). The score is appropriately somber and pensive and the location work top notch. All of this adds up to a film well worth seeing. Damiano may be going more arthouse than grindhouse with this picture, but that only adds to the film’s appeal and it stands test of time quite nicely.

    Memories Within Miss Aggie – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome brings Memories Within Miss Aggie to Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from a new 2k scan of the original 16mm negative. The film is naturally grainy but the detail you’d hope to see is definitely there. Compression is never an issue and the grain resolves just fine, neve getting clumpy or blocky. Skin tones look perfect, nice and natural with no signs of waxy noise reduction, and there’s good texture here as well. Many of the narrative scenes take place in a dimly lit room but even here we get decent shadow detail. There are no problems with any edge enhancement to note, and all in all this is a very nice, film-like transfer.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track is fine. There isn’t a ton of range here but the dialogue is easy enough to follow and understand and the score sounds quite good. Levels are properly balanced and there aren’t any distracting issues with hiss or distortion to contend with. Optional English subtitles are provided.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, the clear Blu-ray keepcase also holds a DVD version of the movie taken from the same restoration and featuring the same extra features.

    Memories Within Miss Aggie – The Final Word:

    Gerard Damiano’s Memories Within Miss Aggie is an unsettling but compelling mix of dark drama and artsy eroticism and it stands as one of the director’s most interesting works. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but it looks and sounds very good, making this one easy to recommend.

    Click on the images below for full sized Memories Within Miss Aggie Blu-ray scree caps!