• Blow Dry (Halo Park Pictures) DVD Review

    Released by: Halo Park Pictures
    Released on: 2008.
    Director: Joey Vincent (as Laser Scepter)
    Cast: R. Bolla, Helen Madigan, Michael Gaunt, Jamie Gillis, Peonis Jong, Warren Peece, Crystal Sync, Pepe Valentine
    Year: 1976
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    Blow Dry – Movie Review:

    Pornographic parodies of successful mainstream films have long been a staple of the adult film industry and they remain so to this day. The sole directorial credit of one Joey Vincent (working under the obvious pseudonym of Laser Scepter!) is Blow Dry, a 1976 NYC-lensed parody of Hal Ashby's 1975 hit, Shampoo, which starred Warren Beatty as a horny hairdresser whose randy ways keep him from matching his potential.

    The plot for Blow Dry isn't too far removed from the earlier film. Pepe (played by 'Pepe Valentine') is the hottest and hunkiest hairdresser in New York City. He wants to branch out and open up his very own salon and he's willing to do whatever he needs to in order to make that happen. Pepe uses his studly charm to sleep with anyone he thinks can help, but things aren't going to be as easy as Pepe thinks.

    Blow Dry is far from a masterpiece, in fact, it's pretty corny but it's a reasonably entertaining smut film regardless. It's a blatant rip off of Ashby's film but that's part of the movie's charm and it does feature some fun performances by a few notable cast members as well as a few interesting moments of inspired cinematography and excellent use of strange location lighting (the brief scene in the neon hallway sticks out). There was some obvious care put into the film and the production values are fairly decent (at one point Bolla drives a 1920s era Rolls Royce).

    There's also some interesting footage of the New York City of the era. At one point Pepe gets on his bike and rides around Manhattan, giving us a look at Central Park and the uptown area before arriving at his destination - a house call where a foxy, wealthy lady forces him at gunpoint to have sex with her in the stable while her accomplish videotapes the ordeal!

    A decent cast (Jamie Gillis, R. Bolla, Helen Madigan and Crystal Sync all show up in the film) and some effective humor (a scene towards the end looks like it was inspired by Monty Python!) make Blow Dry a fun sex comedy with some distinctive seventies camp appeal. It's isn't particularly erotic or steamy but at least it's entertaining and reasonably harmless (thought at one point Pepe does pleasure a woman with a vodka bottle and a rape scene later in the picture borders on harsh before being played for laughs)!

    Blow Dry – DVD Review:

    The non-anamorphic 1.66.1 transfer is soft and lacking in detail and it very definitely came from a tape source (you'll notice tracking lines during the end credits and the text is almost illegible). The interlaced transfer is watchable enough but expect the picture to be soft and fuzzy from start to finish and to show some color fading. The framing looks fine on the picture, there's no obvious cropping, and there isn't much in the way of print damage, dirt or debris to complain about - but the softness definitely hurts the film and it would have been nice to see a film element used if that were possible (no idea if a print still exists for this or not).

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track doesn't sound bad even if it isn't going to become your new home theater demo disc. The dialogue is always clear and audible and the score sounds pretty decent. There is some mild hiss in a few spots and things tend to lean a little towards the flat side but for an old, low budget porno movie Blow Dry doesn't sound half bad.

    The main supplement on this release is a commentary track from Robert Kerman, who appears in this film (and many other XXX movies of the same era) as R. Bolla. He talks about why he retired when the industry shifted from shooting on film to video. He comments on the opening scene and attests to its authenticity, then explains how and why he started calling himself 'R. Bolla' and where that name came from (he took the 'Bolla' portion from a bottle of wine!). He then explains his background in theater and how he started in porn doing non-sex roles because he needed the money. From there he talks about his early experiences in XXX and about some of his experiences in the industry. He talks about his working relationship with Jamie Gillis ('I know Jamie Gillis very well and he's nuts!') and about some of the mainstream films that he worked on. It becomes apparent early on that this commentary has little to do with Blow Dry specifically, it's more or less just Kerman talking about his career. While it would have been nice to hear more details about this particular film, he does do a good job with this track. He's never at a loss for words and if his stories don't always relate to the film in question, at least his memories and recollections of the adult film industry of 70s New York are interesting enough. He does get back on track later in the track and explain how he was cast on the film, and he describes life on the set as 'loony tunes' before going off topic again and talking about his experiences as the only Jewish player on a Catholic baseball team in Brooklyn. Don't go into this one expecting much in terms of Blow Dry, but if you want to hear Kerman's story in his own words, you'll enjoy this track as he's very open about the ups and downs of his life, including his substance abuse problems, personal problems and his odd experiences in the Italian film industry and his thoughts on the animal violence in Cannibal Holocaust and how he wound up in Spider-Man.

    In addition to the commentary, Halo Park has also provided trailers (all in non-anamophic widescreen) for Ultra Flesh, and Skin Tight. Some static menus are also included.

    The Blow Dry – The Final Word:

    The transfer isn't anything to write home about but Blow Dry is a funny and entertaining XXX oddity from the golden age of smut movies. Kerman's commentary is all over the place but it's at least an interesting listen and it definitely adds some value to the package.