• SexWorld (Vinegar Syndrome) UHD/Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: February 14th 2021.
    Director: Sam Weston (as Anthony Spinelli)
    Cast: Lesllie Bovee, Kent Hall, Kay Parker, John Leslie Joey Silvera, Annetta Haven
    Year: 1978
    Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

    SexWorld – Movie Review:

    One of the late, great Sam Weston’s (aka Anthony Spinelli) most revered films, 1978’s SexWorld begins when a group of men and women from various walks of life board a bus (with a giant SexWorld banner plastered on the side!) bound for the titular resort. Once onboard, a guide with a goofy accent (Sean Desmond) fills them in – see, they’ve all sent in applications in hopes of being accepted to the exclusive SexWorld, a land where sexual fantasies are made into sexual realities – and obviously (as they’re on the bus), they’ve been accepted.

    As we travel to the resort with the guests, we learn why some of them wanted to go. Lisa (Sharon Thorpe) used to use phone sex (and a blonde wig!?!) as a means of release but now needs something more – and she’ll find it after her arrival in an interracial session with Johnnie Keyes, who quite literally recreates his infamous scene from Behind The Green Door. A painter named Joan (Leslie Bovee at her finest) and her boyfriend Jerry (Kent Hall) have a strong and seemingly fun sexual relationship but she secretly harbors lesbian fantasies for her neighbor Marion (Abigail Clayton) – at one point Joan tells us she has the most perfect pussy she’s ever seen! Jerry just wants to bang two chicks at the same time, and he’ll get his chance with Linda (Amber Hunt) and Jo (Carol Tong). Meanwhile an older woman named Millicent (Kay Parker, immortalized in the first few Taboo films) struggles to keep the spark alive with limp-dicked husband Ralph (Jack Wright). When her attempts at oral stimulation can’t get a rise, it’s off to SexWorld they go where she’ll get boned and rough-housed by a guy with huge balls as per her request (Joey Silvera credited as Joey Civera!). Ralph, meanwhile, will work out his mommy issues with the kindly and cute Ann (Maureen Spring). A cocky, racist playboy named Roger (John Leslie) will wind up experiencing the joys of black love once SexWorld’s sexperts send a sexy soul sister named Jill (Desiree West, credited only as ‘Desireee’) – who he earlier rebuked on the bus ride in - to take care of him. West steals the film, turning in a remarkably hot performance that is as natural as it is sexy (she should have been a bigger star). A lesbian named Dale (Annette Haven) splits up with her girlfriend, Alex (Chris Cassidy), and winds up giving some manly love a shot in the form of a Latin lover named Tomas (Robert Ramos).

    Of course, as all of our participants live out their erotic dreams, we see both the good and the bad materialize in the ramifications of their actions. This leads to a bit of fairly well-played drama in between the various scenes of hardcore couplings.

    From the opening theme song to the featured décor and wardrobe, everything about SexWorld screams ‘1970s’ but that’s half of the film’s charm. Where else are you going to see a couple making mad, passionate love in a room painted with a giant bull, the word ‘BEEF’ and a painted bowl of chili surrounding them? And that’s at Joan and Jerry’s apartment, before they even get to the resort where technicians decked out in lab coats (with embroidered SexWorld logos on them, of course) surrounded by weird looking computer equipment press colorful buttons and discuss in amusingly clinical terms how to best serve their clients. Another great example is the scene with Leslie and Desiree that takes place in a room clad in swirling red and black animal print wallpaper and decorated with wicker furniture. Colors are bold, brash and very in your face while the bouncy score elevates the nicely shot sex scenes to sometimes almost surreal levels.

    The film was obviously meant to cash in on the success of Westworld and there is a science fiction slant to some of the film, but it’s only really there to exploit the title rather than enhance the storyline (without spoiling things, it plays a part only in the ending rather than in much of the activity leading up to it). The emphasis here is more on character development, something that Spinelli’s films typically do fairly well. The performances in the film compliment the script quite nicely, with Parker and Wright actually delivering some decent dramatic work here, particularly in their first encounter together – their marital difficulties resulting in an argument that is completely believable. John Leslie is quite amusing in his part and the scene he shares with the beautiful Desiree West is a stand out. The other interracial scene, the one with Keyes and Thorpe, is odd in that it really is Behind The Green Door redux, but it is, like the rest of the encounters, impressive in how it is shot and edited. Of course, throwing Annette Haven into the mix is always a good thing, her acting here is solid and she looks absolutely beautiful, with Abigail Clayton, Carol Tong and Leslie Bovee all looking fantastic and offering inspired performances here too.

    Slick, well-made and very definitely made to be a ‘couples friendly’ style film, SexWorld is very much a product of its time but manages to hold up very well by modern standards. Sure, some of the appeal will be its vintage but even outside of that aspect it’s a professionally put together film that proves both entertaining and genuinely steamy.

    SexWorld – UHD Review:

    SexWorld arrives on UHD from Vinegar Syndrome on a 66GB disc in a new 4k transfer of the original 35mm negative framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p with HDR and Dolby Vision enhancement. This disc, which would appear to be the first classic adult feature released on the UHD format anywhere in the world, would, in a perfect world, open the floodgates. Detail is excellent, improving on the already very nice Blu-ray release from 2015 significantly. There’s much better depth and texture here than we’ve seen on previous releases, and the colors look gorgeous. Skin tones, always important when evaluating the transfer of a vintage porno movie, look lifelike and natural from start to finish and black levels are nice and deep. There is no noticeable compression here at all, the strong bit rate on this release ensures that, and there are no problems at all with any noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. Vinegar Syndrome releases this on limited edition Blu-ray and then standard edition Blu-ray a few years ago, which might make it tough for some fans to want to upgrade to this release, but this transfer really does look considerably better than those older releases, making this very much a worthwhile upgrade for the videophiles out there.

    Audio chores are handled just fine by the movie’s 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono mix, in the film’s native English. Dialogue is easy to follow and properly balanced alongside the film’s score, which demonstrates good depth and more range than you might expect it to. That bouncy, disco-inspired opening theme song sounds great here – and you’ll be singing along to it before it’s over (seriously).

    The UHD is barebones but the included Blu-ray (which uses the same new 4k transfer) carries over all of the extras from the previous special edition Blu-ray/DVD release. We start off the feature in its softcore variant. The hardcore version runs 1:30:42 while the softcore cut clocks in at 1:28:47. It’s still pretty graphic but obviously omits the penetration footage and the more graphic after effects thereof and uses some alternate footage in its place.

    From there we move on to a sixteen-minute on-camera interview with actress Kay Parker entitled The Birth Of A Legend. Here the actress talks about how she became involved with the film and how Weston cautioned here to really think on her decision to get into the XXX rated business. She then goes on to talk about her working relationship with the director and with many of the cast members she was involved with in this production.

    Also quite interesting is a seven-minute video interview with Joey Silvera. His memory isn’t as sharp but he recalls being talked into working on this film by Weston as well, what it was like rehearsing for the film (he tells an amusing anecdote about John Leslie here) and more.

    Still Photographer Joel Sussman also pops up on camera here to talk about his work on the picture for five-minutes, talking about how he started off shooting softer material before moving on the full-fledged XXX material and how his life has taken a surprising turn since he became a father.

    Also included on the Blu-ray disc is a lengthy four-minute theatrical trailer for the feature as well as a shorter teaser trailer, both of which rightfully play up the ‘all-star cast’ assembled for the production. Animated menus and chapter selection are included on both the Blu-ray and the UHD.

    A third disc includes the film’s complete soundtrack on CD (a really nice touch and a welcome addition to the supplements on this release). There are sixteen tracks in total on the disc and the sound quality is very strong – given that the soundtrack plays a big part in what makes this movie so much fun, the importance and value of its inclusion here is definitely a big selling point.

    The cover art insert is reversible with two different great painted poster art variations available and this limited edition of 5,000 units, available from Vinegar Syndrome’s website, also comes with a very nice embossed slipcover designed by Earl Kessler Jr..

    SexWorld - The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s UHD/Blu-ray/CD Combo Pack release of SexWorld (which is limited to 5000 pieces) is a fantastic presentation of a great film that offers a very nice upgrade over previous editions. The film manages to be both arousing and entertaining and it makes great use of a top notch cast. It’s also very well shot and often times quite funny. The transfer is pretty much perfect and the extras, even if they’re all carried over from the last release, really help to round this one out nicely.

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

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. David H's Avatar
      David H -
      Nice review! I always appreciate a Desiree West shoutout- she's my favorite hardcore actress and elevates almost every scene she's in in her movies, whether it's a dialogue scene or a sex scene.