• Mascara (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July 30th, 2019.
    Director: Henri Pachard, Roberta Findlay
    Cast: Lisa De Leeuw, Lee Carroll, Lisa Cintrice, Tiffany Clark, Ron Jeremy, Bobby Astyr, Robert Kerman
    Year: 1983
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    Mascara – Movie Review:

    Directed by Henri Pachard (a.k.a. Ron Sullivan) with a lot of help from Roberta Findlay (she basically co-directed the production) in 1983, Mascara follows a working-class New York City woman named Harriet (Lisa De Leeuw). She has a job as a secretary (her boss is played by Robert Kerman) but seemingly needs more out of life. One day, after work, she gets a call from her friend Linda (Tiffany Clark). It seems she was all set to go on a double date with two guys, David (Sean Elliott) and Richard (Ron Jeremy), but the other gal backed out at the last second. Linda talks Harriet into taking the missing party’s place and, after they see a movie, they head back to the guys’ place for a nightcap. Linda winds up in the hot tub with Richard while Harriet vivaciously takes on David in the living room.

    The next day at work, Harriet’s boss brings a prostitute named Lucy (Lee Carroll) into his office for a little fun. On the way out, Harriet talks to Lucy and before you know it, the pro is tutoring the amateur in the ways of the flesh! When Harriet shows up at Lucy’s place, she talks Harriet into servicing one of her johns (Ashley Moore), and once that’s over with, well Harriet has found a new vigor for sex. Soon enough, Harriet has Lucy arrange a three-way for her with two guys (George Payne and Jessie Stewart). It isn’t long before Lucy starts to resent Harriet’s recent ambitions, and by the time she’s brushed Lucy off to go on her own sexual adventure with a submissive (Bobby Astyr) and his dominant wife (Mistress Candice), well, it

    Featuring what might be Lisa De Leeuw’s best dramatic performance, Mascara proves to be quite an interesting picture. Yes, it features all of the requisite bumping and grinding you’d expect from a vintage adult film, and some of it is quite effective in that regard, but the story stands well enough on its own to hold our attention even when nobody is screwing on camera. De Leeuw is really good here. We understand her character’s conflict and little bit that are easy to overlook, like a phone call with her mother about her situation in life, add to the quality of the drama that Sullivan and Findlay are able to get out of her. Lee Carroll, never the world’s best adult actress, also does better than average work here. The part of Lucy suits her rather naturally snarky demeanor and while she isn’t the natural beauty that De Leeuw is, she gives as good as she gets in this one. Supporting work from Kerman is more on the comedic side, while Elliott and Jeremy basically just play studs. Payne and Stewart get pretty close to each other in the three-way scene, while the finale with Astyr and Candice is impressive in every way you’d want it to be, even if it is more than a little odd to see Astyr partially cross-dressed and playing the wormy submissive type.

    Production values are good. Findlay’s cinematography is more than competent here, she gets some really nice shots of De Leeuw on the subway and walking around the city that do a good job of emphasizing her character’s emptiness and loneliness. The score, credited to Walter Dear (no doubt Findlay’s late partner Walter Sear) is pretty effective too. Some nice NYC location work helps add atmosphere and, yeah, this one deserves the classic status that has been lauded on it over the years.

    Mascara – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome debuts Mascara on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative and it looks great. The image is virtually spotless, showing the expected amount of film grain but very, very little in the way of print damage. Skin tones look very nice and natural, color reproduction is rock solid and black levels are inky and deep yet devoid of crush. The image looks like film – no noise reduction or edge enhancement problems here at all – and both detail and texture are strong from start to finish.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track is also very good. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. No problems here, the audio is fine. The track is properly balanced, dialogue is clean and clear and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The biggest extra on the disc is a commentary track with producer/cinematographer/co-director Roberta Findlay, moderated by Casey Scott. If you’ve heard any of the other tracks they’ve recorded together you know that Scott has a knack for getting the sometimes dismissive Findlay to open up about her work and he manages to do that again with this track, which proves to be pretty informative and entertaining at the same time. She talks about how she and Walter Sear got involved in making adult pictures during this era and why they weren’t necessarily the best choices to do that given what interested them in terms of filmmaking. She also talks about working with Pachard/Sullivan, what it was like working with the cast members, shooting pretty much everything except the sex scenes (which Sullivan handled), what it was like on set, some of the locations and more. She also tells some great stories about other adult pictures and filmmakers she was involved with over the years and tells some tales about working with Caballero, who distributed the film originally, as well as how and why she made the transition to making horror pictures shortly after. Findlay is occasionally pretty blunt but Scott keeps her talking and engaged and this winds up being a very worthwhile track and a nice addition to the disc.

    Additionally, this release also includes a feature length audio interview with actress Lee Carroll, again moderated by Scott, that plays out over the length of the feature. She’s pretty upfront about how she got her start, working first as a stripper/hooker and then getting into the adult business. She tells some interesting stories about the time she spent living with the late William Margold and details some of her exploits in both the west coast and east coast adult movie scenes of the day. Not only that, but she also goes pretty in-depth about her work in the BDSM community – even if you’re not a fan of Carol, this is a pretty killer interview. She doesn’t hold back at all and proves to be a pretty fascinating subject!

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a script gallery and the film’s original theatrical trailer. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie that uses the same restoration and extras. Vinegar Syndrome has packaged this release with some very cool reversible cover artwork and, for the first 2,000 copies purchased directly from Vinegar Syndrome, a slick collectible slipcover featuring artwork from Earl Kessler Jr..

    Mascara – The Final Word:

    Mascara is a very well-done adult drama highlighted by strong direction, quality production values and a very good performance from Lisa De Leeuw. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack presents this impressive picture in excellent shape and with some quality extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Mascara Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      My first porno. Not bad for a first one.
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      Great movie, the picture seemed to jitter throughout the movie though, but it was still not too bad. I watched it for the second time last night, and it made more sense the second time, I was kind of falling asleep the first time I watched it, and I think I missed some of the story lol, but last night, it all made sense