• Carter Stevens’ Collegiates Feature Film Collection (After Hours Cinema) DVD Review

    Released by: After Hours Cinema
    Released on: November 11th, 2009.
    Director: Carter Stevens
    Cast: Jamie Gillis, Harry Reems, Georgina Spelvin, Marc Stevens, Tanya Tickler, Eric Edwards, Kim Pope, Lauraine Alraune
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    Carter Stevens’ Collegiates Feature Film Collection - Movie Review:

    One of the better New York City smut movie makers of the 1970s scene, the late Carter Stevens made rock solid theatrical features that were generally a cut or two above many of his competitors at the time. They were more competently made and more impressive on a technical level but still managed to deliver the hardcore goods the way raincoat theater goers expected at the time. Stevens has teamed up with the fine folks at After Hours Cinema to oversee legitimate releases of his vintage films, which brings us to this release, Carter Stevens’ Collegiates Feature Film Collection , which collects four of his earlier efforts in one swanky boxed set.

    The Collegiates:

    The first of the four films in this set, and Stevens’ directorial debut, starts when a bus rides into town and a young lady named Georgia gets off of it. She walks down the street as the opening credits play to some soft piano music, and she comes up to the door of a house. She walks in and finds two girls making a man with a blindfold on and his hands tied behind his back eat them out. They introduce her to him, and we find out that Georgia is the resident virgin. It's at this point that the basic plot of the film is divulged. Georgia lives in a frat hour with a few other girls, all of whom are pretty slutty and who hang out with horny guys. They all want to get Georgia laid for the first time. From there, Georgia heads to her room while the two girls hop on their boy toy, Lexington, for a quickie.

    While the three way is going on, Georgia is in her room masturbating - so we know she wants it. Later she goes for a walk in the park, reads a dirty magazine, and spins around in a circle with her hands up in the air (for real), later dry humping a see-saw and rolling around in a big pile of leaves. We find out that her two roommates are into each other as well, not just sharing guys, and we get to watch them get it on while Georgia is out doing whatever the fuck it is that she's doing in the park - getting in touch with her inner child or something. Later they all do some studying and then have some guys over so that they can have a gangbang in the bathroom and eat some sandwiches together. It all turns into a big orgy, with all the girls fucking all the guys, and with plenty of lesbian action going on in a few spots as well. Eventually Georgia gives in and goes down, and the movie comes to a finish. Harry Reems show up here to get in on the orgy action.

    This one is pretty goofy, and not in the really cool goofy way that Steven’s later Punk Rock was, more in the 'wow is this plot ever bad' way that Hot Oven was. That said, it never takes itself too seriously at all. It's fun, and it's dumb and it does have some steamier than average sex scenes in it. You’ve also got to give it to Stevens for working with better than average filmmakers, as there’s some good cinematography on display here and the film is pretty well put together from an editing standpoint. The scene where Georgia is running around in the park is pretty funny though, and you can’t help but snicker at it as it feels completely out of place with the rest of the movie.

    The Hot Oven:

    A rousing jazz piano song breaks this one in, the opening credits roll and we see a man getting his dick sucked in the library. The man is Fred Collins (Eric Edwards), and the phone rings just as he's finishing. He carries on his conversation with 'Gwen' (Ginger Jones) and it turns out the girl who is calling wants a piece of his action. They agree to meet at a restaurant and once he arrives and starts to chat away with his pretty brunette friend we witness the cook and a waitress getting it on in the kitchen. As they get caught up on old times we find out she's married to a restaurant owner who doesn't give enough attention to her - that's where Fred comes in. See, she needs to get laid and he's the only man for the job.

    Fred rambles on about his music publishing career, she complains about her loveless marriage, and a second waitress has joined in on the fuck session happening in the kitchen. The guy in the three-way wants to use the back door, the girl he's slamming says to use some oil first but he misses and ends up pouring Tabasco sauce on his cock by mistake. From there we cut to Fred's apartment where he and Gwen are getting it on to some funky disco music, using a few creative angles to express their affection for one another. They finish and then they talk some more, in bed this time, and she tells him he should hang around the restaurant with her more often. She offers him a job and though he doesn't want one at first, when she tells him about all the college girls he could nail thanks to the prime location, he agrees to take a position as a delivery boy.

    From there he runs around delivering pizzas and fucking people. We also learn that Gwen's husband, the restaurant owner, is getting a little tail on the side at work. He soon learns that everyone in the restaurant is fucking everyone else. He makes a bet with a few of his co-workers that he can nail a different chick every night for two weeks straight. They take the bet, and he's off.

    Jamie Gillis has a small supporting role as one of the kitchen co-workers and Ginger Jones is pretty cute in this one but it's hardly the best of Stevens’ output. The plot is all over the place and the sex is mediocre at best, though the orgy at the end is pretty amusing. The premise of a pizza boy running around nailing college cuties is a decent enough one, but this one is a bit pedestrian for the most part, lacking the creativity of Stevens’ better and more interesting films. There is a pretty rad orgy at the end of the movie where some weird fuzzed out space music plays over top of Jamie Gillis fucking a bunch of girls and eating pizza at the same time. The movie is worth seeing for that scene alone, but don't expect a classic with this one.

    Mount Of Venus:

    The most unusual film in this set is Mount Of Venus, an odd picture that starts off up at the top of Mount Venus where Jupiter (Jamie Gillis) wakes up from his nap atop a cloud to see two Greek goddesses, Venus (Georgina Spelvin) and her friend Juno, wrapped in a sixty-nine. Jupiter tells them that he thinks they should have an orgy but unfortunately Juno has run out of goodies. Jupiter tries to summon some goodies but it doesn’t work. The girls explain to him that this is because they don’t have any worshippers anymore in this technological day and age of the telephone. As such, they’re not getting the schwag that they once had lavished upon them. Not happy with this turn of events, they decide to do something about it.

    The gods spy in on a woman masturbating and Jupiter decides to ‘supply a little golden rain’ as he pisses down on earth off of the clouds, and then he appears in her room. She tells him that the golden rain was okay, but that she’s looking for something else. Jupiter, unaware that she’s talking about something completely different, tells her he’s the god of thunder and lightning but she’s not all that impressed. She decides to introduce her to Angelica (Rita Davis), her roommate, and then splits for work. Left to their own devices, Angelica and Jupiter get it on while Venus and Juno watch from above but soon they realize that he needs their help. Bacchus shows up after Jupiter pops back to the mountain, and they discuss their orgy plans some more, but back down on earth the girls miss Jupiter already.

    The rest of the film is basically the gods meddling in the sex lives of mortals hoping to gather up some new followers. Jupiter’s efforts get him in to bed a lot but don’t seem to have much luck in increasing the ranks of their worshippers. The girls pitch in and do their part and eventually, through some clever thinking and hard work (!) they manage to get the orgy they’ve been after all this time.

    Shot on a shoestring budget with Stevens’ loft covered in cotton standing in for Mount Venus, this is about as minimalist as a film dealing with Greek Gods can get, but Stevens manages to make it work thanks to some solid comedic performances and some clever writing. Gillis in particular shows really good comedic timing here, as he has in other films, going so far as to (presumably) improvise in a few spots – a prime example being when he gets up from his nap in the clouds, pulls a piece of cotton off of his toga and mutters ‘sure is cloudy here today.’ All involved seem to be having a really good time working on the film and the whole thing has a quirky, friendly atmosphere to it that really helps to make it a lot more entertaining than it probably would have been otherwise. The sex is well shot, leaving little to the imagination but again, even during the hot and heavy bump and grind sessions there’s a good sense of humor about the film that gives it, dare I saw, a lot of charm.

    In Sarah’s Eyes:

    The fourth and final film in the collection is the most serious picture of the batch. In it, Lorraine Alraune plays the titular Sarah who, when we meet her, is visiting her psychiatrist (Marc Stevens) where she’s talking about her repressed sexual desires. He encourages her to tell him more, and she does, explaining that she’s been having issues dealing with her fantasies, and how it’s gotten to the point that she can’t control them anymore. As she talks, we see her imagining her giving Mr. 10 ½ a blowjob. He tells her he wants to help her, to trust him, and to tell him more. She admits to wanting to go down on him and before you know it, we’re seeing her really go to town on Stevens’ member. Back in the real world, Stevens changes the subject and they discuss Sarah’s roommate. This too turns into an admission on Sarah’s part, as she tells the shrink that she wants to make sweet, Sapphic lesbian love to her.

    Sarah heads home where the aforementioned roommate, Jenny (Anna Livia Plurabella), is cooking dinner. They talk and discuss Sarah’s pending engagement and how she wants to save herself until marriage. Before you know it, however, we’re back in Sarah’s brain and that cute little roommate and she are naked as jaybirds and fucking on the kitchen floor. Once she snaps out of it, her fiancé (a young mustachioed Eric Edwards) and Jennifer’s boyfriend (Tony Richards) have shown up. Of course, Sarah’s imagination kicks into high gear again and as the rest of the movie plays out, we see her wrestle with her morals and the sexual desires that she’s so obviously repressing as she has to deal with such harsh problems as eating dinner, playing Monopoly, and more. Later we see her fantasize about blowing her husband to be in front of the entire wedding party and there’s an orgy and to finish it all off she gets it on with a black dude.

    The dramatic aspects of In Sarah’s Eyes don’t work quite as well as the comedic aspects of Mount Of Venus do. The story is interesting enough, if quite basic and really little more than a skeleton to hang the various sex scenes off of, but Lorraine Alraune isn’t a particularly convincing actress. Seeing Stevens in the role of a shrink is good for a laugh and a chance to see him actually trying to act in a fairly normal part (at least normal by the standards of the XXX industry of the era) and Edwards does fine with his role as well but Alraune is pretty bad, and Ms. Plurabella, while plenty easy on the eyes, isn’t really any better.

    That said, this is still a porno movie after all. You’re not likely watching it for the acting so much as for the sex, right? On that level the film delivers. Again, like the other three pictures in this collection the copious scenes of copulation are well framed and well light, portraying the performers in as flattering a light as possible and giving the raincoat crowd exactly what it would have wanted when they ventured into whatever theater they ventured into to check this film out when it played theatrically. There’s enough of a story to ensure that the picture is never dull and In Sarah’s Eyes turns out to be a pretty amusing picture, if sometimes for the wrong reasons.

    Carter Stevens’ Collegiates Feature Film Collection - DVD Review:

    All four films are presented in their original aspect ratios, and while The Hot Oven is taken from a tape source but at least it’s a reasonably stable one. You’ll notice the odd roll here and there but it’s perfectly watchable and a noticeable improvement over the Alpha Blue Archives release. The other three films are taken from film print sources. They’re not perfect, there’s noticeable wear and tear and some print damage here and there, but they too are quite watchable and an improvement over previous incarnations. All four transfers are, unfortunately, interlaced (a nagging problem with these releases) but fans who know what to expect from this material should be pleased with the picture quality here. The Collegiates, Mount Of Venus and In Sarah’s Eyes are taken from the only known film elements, according to the packaging so it’s unlikely they’re ever going to look a whole lot better than they do here unless they’re given really extensive restoration jobs.

    It’s Dolby Digital Mono across the board, just as it should be. A bit of background hiss might creep in here and there but for the most part there aren’t any problems here. Expect a pop or two from time to time but dialogue is clean and clear and there aren’t any problems with heavy distortion. The scores are mixed in nicely and the levels are properly balanced throughout. For older, low budget adult films, both movies sound fine on this disc.

    The best extras in this set are the two commentary tracks that Stevens provides, moderated by Michael Bowen with periodic input from Mike Raso. Stevens speaks overtop of The Collegiates and over top of Mount Of Venus but covers all four of the films presented in this collection during his talk. Bowen continually references Stevens’ Lickity-Split as being included in this collection, but it’s nowhere to be seen. Stevens spills a lot about the making of that picture here as well. Getting back on track, the director’s memory is pretty sharp and he’s got some great stories to tell here, from how he wound up getting into making adult films to distribution woes to getting busted by the cops back when making pornographic movies in the great state of New York was still a crime. Stevens talks about his cast and his casting process, why he’d choose certain actors and actresses over others and tells some amusing stories about the first time he worked with Jamie Gillis on an 8mm loop and how Helen Madigan earned the nickname ‘Helen Ready.’ Bowen keeps Stevens talking and we learn about his pre-porn career working in a film lab, about the loft he used as a studio space on 29th Street in Manhattan, about how he actually worked with a few different writers on certain films and how he wasn’t too happy to see some of his ideas aped by another infamous New York City smut maestro whose output was in full swing around the same time.

    Stevens also contributes on camera interviews on both discs, getting into some interesting specifics about the four movies contained in this collection. While some of what he covers here is also covered in the commentary tracks, these are still pretty interesting as they play out with some clips used to help make various relevant points and to help keep everything in context. Between the interviews and the commentary tracks, there’s nary a stone left unturned as far as Stevens memories of these four films go. Seeing their history documented as fully and with as much enthusiasm as is evident hear should warm any self-respecting porno fan’s heart.

    Rounding out the extras are some trailers for Stevens’ 70s era films (including an amazing spot for Roller Babies), a screen pimping the After Hours Cinema catalogue, menus and chapter selection. Inside the keepcase is a booklet of liner notes written by Michael Bowen that detail the production history of the four films in this set and provide some interesting biographical information about the people who made them. A few nifty ad mats and pieces of promotional art are included in the booklet as well.

    Carter Stevens’ Collegiates Feature Film Collection - The Final Word:

    Stevens’ first four films aren’t his best but they’re still a whole lot of good, clean, dirty, filthy fun. They’re of noticeably better quality than the output of many of his luminaries working in and around this scene at the same time and their shortcomings are easy to overlook thanks to their considerable entertainment value. What really makes this set essentially for fans of vintage adult movies, however, are the extras which do a great job of putting it all in perspective and detailing their history.