• Violation Of Claudia, The / Hot Honey

    Violation Of Claudia, The / Hot Honey
    Released by: Distribpix
    Released on: October 7th, 2014.
    Director: William Lustig (as Billy Bagg)
    Cast: Sharon Mitchell, Jamie Gillis, Serena, Simone Sinclair
    Year: 1977/1978

    The Movies:

    Distribpix rolls out the red carpet with a new double feature celebrating the adult films of William Lustig. Before he went on to direct horror classics like Maniac and Maniac Cop and long before he started Blue Underground, Lustig cut his teeth in the adult film industry of seventies New York. The Violation Of Claudia and Hot Honey would be the first two film’s he would direct.

    The Violation Of Claudia:

    First up is this loose 1977 XXX remake of Luis Bunuel's Belle De Jour starring a fantastic cast of seventies smut film superstars. Made back when adult films needed a plot and semi-competent cinematography and acting, The Violation Of Claudia tells the story of the lonely titular housewife (Sharon Mitchell) who is stuck in a relationship with her husband Jason (Don Peterson). Their marriage isn’t so hot though, as Jason just can't seem to find the time to take care of Claudia’s womanly needs.

    Rather than go without and become miserable, she seeks satisfaction from others, starting a whole thirty four seconds into the film when he indulges herself in a lesbian orgy that kicks the movie off nicely. Claudia lays naked on the couch while the other three ladies (Long Jeanne Silver credited as Long Jeanie Silvers, Justine Fletcher and an unrecognizable girl) ravish her orally and otherwise. The acid trip music swells up in the background as she comes closer to a climax, her yelps getting louder as the music becomes more absurd. Turns out it was all just a sexy dream! When she wakes up and wants some though, Jason wants nothing to do with her so she decides to take matters into her own hands.

    The next day, Claudia heads to her tennis lessons and after a session on the court and a quick lunch, she decides to seduce Kip (Jamie Gillis), her instructor. He’s into it though, replacing her masseuse and taking advantage of her in the sauna while the masseuse he replaced peers in through a window. Kip decides he can make something of her and so he starts setting her up as a woman of the evening, arranging 'dates' for her. After a relaxing dinner with her husband, Sharon moves on over to Victor's place for a little after dinner dirty fun. They screw in front of a fireplace while soft music plays in the background. After that, she heads over to Kip’s place where she and he watch two friends (Roger Caine and Crystal Synch) have sex. After that, Claudia heads over to her meet with one of her dates who just so happens to be a nice looking blonde (Gandi Sanders) with a taste for expensive champagne. They drink on the couch of her NYC apartment and then start kissing. You can figure out what happens next. This is the longest and hottest scene in the film as the two girls do seem really into each other here and also treat each other with that kind of tenderness that makes it all seem pretty authentic rather than putting on a show for the camera.

    As Claudia becomes more comfortable in her new role in life, she heads over to visit a senator (Waldo Short). He is a short, fat, bald man who has Claudia over to help him work out his kink. He has her lay on her back atop his dining room table, naked, so that he can cover her with whipped crème. Once he's done this, he goes to town as she giggles like a schoolgirl. Then he puts hot fudge all over his dick using a paintbrush and, still lying on her back, she returns the favor. When she arrives home after taking care of business, she finds that Kip has been in on this all along and that Jason had more to do with things that Claudia first realized.

    This film moves along at a nice pace, almost an ideal pace for an adult film. The sex is plentiful and pretty hot though it's shot with a slightly more careful eye than your average dirty movie. The performances are about as good as they get in this type of movie, with Mitchell and Gillis leading the pack and delivering some stand out work. Mitchell looks fantastic here, she’s lean and lithe but healthy looking and very attractive and enthusiastic in her role. She handles the dramatic side of things rather well too and her scenes with Gillis are really well done. As to Gillis, he plays ‘smug’ better than anyone ever could and he brings that fantastic screen p presence of his to the movie in a big way. Throw 'Long' Jeanne Silver into the mix and a few other notables from the era and you've got yourself a winner. Great location photography, a solid score and really nice production values help here too. Lustig also wrote and edited the film and he definitely put some effort into creating something worthwhile.

    Hot Honey:

    Our second feature starts off with some fantastic footage in which our leading lady and her boy friend emerge out of a Times Square cinema and then walk up and down the strip, checking out an arcade and just enjoying the night. Turns out this young lady is Honey (Colleen Anderson credited as Heather Young) and her boyfriend, Johnny (Jack Hammer) wants to get down her pants. After four months though, she’s not going to let him. He’s frustrated and they split up over this. She goes home and he calls another woman (Robyn Byrd) to come upstairs, enjoy some wine and get him off.

    Once Honey gets home she’s confronted by her older brother Michael (Jamie Gillis), a grouchy guy confined to a wheel chair. He chews her out for coming home late but she tells him she’s old enough to do what she wants. Meanwhile in another apartment Sara (Lisa Marks) and her husband (Herschel Savage) get it on. He heads out to work and she’s home alone when Honey knocks on the door. There’s no answer but she lets herself in and finds Sara out in the backyard, happy to see her. They talk and catch up, she complains about her brother and Johnny and what not and Sara consoles her with some hot girl on girl action in a bubble bath.

    Meanwhile, back at home, Michael’s nurse (Serena) is tending to him. She takes his clothes off and then her own and they go at it and get up to all sorts of kinky things unaware that Honey has come home and is peering in on them through a window. Honey walks in, she can’t take it anymore, and they have a three way. No longer the prude she once was, Honey decides, hey, maybe it’s about time I boned Johnny after all and so she heads over to his apartment, tells him how much she loves and needs him, and then screws him on his couch. Later on she heads to the kitchen, gets a jar of honey and slathers it on his dong before cleaning it all up. Yep, she’s not a prude anymore at all! From there, she heads back to Sara’s place and gets it on her with her and her husband and that’s pretty much it.

    This one doesn’t have as much character development going on as the first feature but as far as sex movies go, it’s pretty damn effective. Everyone involved brings their A game here and the scenes are nicely shot and well performed. Heather Young isn’t as good an actress as Sharon Mitchell is so her character isn’t quite as convincing and on top of that her sexual awakening happens very quickly but given that this is first and foremost a porno movie, it’s easy to put that aside and focus on what does work. Serena is great as the nurse, if a bit underused, and Gillis is once again in fine form as the cantankerous, albeit very kinky, brother (he doesn’t seem quite so handicapped once he gets into bed with two ladies). He’s not only into leather corsets but apparently okay with boning his own sister too!

    The opening Times Square sequence is a fantastic time capsule and it’s a kick to see not only on the marquees but to voyage inside the arcade and watch the characters play some vintage video games. Again, the movie is well shot and well edited, Lustig was a craftsman and evidently took some pride in his work because the movie is slick and nicely paced. We also get a really good score that compliments things nicely and yeah, this one is pretty fun and quite well made.


    Both features look great in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transferred in 2k from their respective 35mm negatives. The elements used were in excellent condition and while there is a scratch or two here and there, for the most part the transfers are as clean and as colorful as you could hope for. Expect some grain, obvious in some scenes more so than others, but this is how it should be. Both films were previously released on DVD by Video-X-Pix and they left a lot of room for improvement in terms of video quality. These new restorations definitely make up for that as these are very strong transfers of high nice condition film elements. There’s no serious print damage to complain about, just some minor nicks and what not. Colors look great and there are no obvious issues with compression artifacts and no trace of any edge enhancement or noise reduction at all.

    Both movies get the Dolby Digital Mono treatment, in English with no alternate language options or subtitles provided. Both films sound fine. Dialogue remains clear and crisp and the scores sound good. Levels are properly balanced for both features though some might note some minor hiss in a few spots.

    The main draw as far as the extras are concerned is going to be the two commentary tracks that were recorded for this release with William Lustig moderated by Nicolas Winding Refn. The Violation Of Claudia track starts off talking about what Lustig had done before making this one – he’d worked on other pictures but this was the first film he made in its entirety. He did this in the fall of 1976 at twenty-one years old and then he goes on to talk about the influence of Belle De Jour. He talks about the locations used in the film, how he got into making adult movies after driving Andrea True home from a shoot he worked on as a Production Assistant and how Sharon Mitchell was, at the time, an up and comer but not quite an A-lister. He shares some interesting stories about her and about how his uncle, Jake LaMotta, had mob ties, his relationship with Peter Savage and how Savage had an artist’s heart. He talks about the technical side of things, the lighting, the aspect ratio, the compositions and what not and he also discusses how he tried to sell the film once it was completed in foreign territories to raise the money to make Maniac. He also goes into his thoughts on movies like Forced Entry and Water Power and extreme pictures like that, and he also talks about Long Jean Silver and how he hired her over the phone and after this picture was made she flew to San Francisco to work with Alex De Renzy on Long Jeanne Silver. As the movie comes to a close he talks about the wardrobe in the film, how his confidence as a filmmaker grew in these early pictures, the importance of music to the effectiveness of a film and how it’s important to him to have control over a film – oh, and of course, the film’s ending.

    The commentary for the second film starts off with Refn asking Lustig about whether or not this is an auteur movie, what it was like working with ‘Jack Hammer’ and how he met him at a New Jersey gym. He talks about how ‘Heather Young’ did not look like a porn star, which is what he liked about her. He talks about the effectiveness of a few key shots, the locations that the film used (many of them in Brooklyn), and how Gillis and Serena were an item at the time that this picture was made. From there Lustig goes off on a few tangents that sort of relate to the movie, such as a real estate deal, and then Refn gets him talking about his distribution deals and how he made money doing that. Lustig notes that he was never screwed over by anyone in the adult business, even when he was dealing with Israeli mobsters, and how Herschel Savage continues to work in the adult film industry even today. He shares a story about running into Jason Russell in an elevator one day and how he talked him into shooting a movie for him the next day, how the NYC scene started to ‘fade away’ after a while when people started moving out to the west coast. Both tracks are great – Lustig is never at a loss for words and while these aren’t always specifically related to the features, they are literal history lessons told from someone who lived it. Refn keeps him talking and asks from interesting questions to keep him on topic and these are just really interesting commentary tracks. Definitely take the time to listen to these.

    The disc also includes a ‘bonus podcast’ that Lustig was interviewed by on Distribpix’s Steven Morowitz. It was originally released as the second installment of the Distribpix Podcast and you can check it out here. Lustig talks about growing up in New York City when he did, some memories from his childhood and then eventually how he got into filmmaking. He then goes on to talk about his feature film debuts, the two movies included on this disc, and how he got the money together to make them. He then goes on to talk about the success that The Violation Of Claudia enjoyed in its theatrical run, how he dropped off flyers in various places to try and get tourists to come see it, how Al Goldstein demanded a private screening and how Lustig handed him five hundred dollars in cash and how he wound up scoring very high on Screw Magazine’s ‘Peter Meter.’ He covers some of the same ground as the commentary tracks but there’s a lot of interesting information here about the distribution side of things and how Lustig had to work different angles to get the theatrical exposure that he did on these two pictures.

    Aside from that we also get theatrical trailers for both features, a slideshow of promotional materials and archival photographs from both pictures that also includes some behind the scenes pictures from the commentary sessions, static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Distribpix bring the early films of William Lustig to special edition DVD in grand style, offering up both movies in excellent condition and with some really fascinating commentary tracks as the cherry on top. A really great release, through and through, and highly recommended to anyone with an interest in vintage adult films.