After releasing about 70 films on DVD and Blu-ray in 2015 and making even more available through their new streaming service Exploitation.tv, Vinegar Syndrome took a little time off at the end of the year. They returned in January and are off to a running start for 2016, including two related and particularly notable standalone DVD releases in January: STAR VIRGIN and TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO.
In STAR VIRGIN, a race of robots in the distant future spawns a human female in their space ship for… some reason. She emerges from the protoplasmic chamber as a fully-formed and scantily-clad adult woman (played by “Hustler Centerfold Kari Klark”) with an overactive sex drive. She is kept in a room with a robot called Mentor (Kevin Thompson) who shows her videos about the history of sex, which “began in 1950.” This leads to a series of unrelated vignettes tied together by scenes in the ship as Star Virgin breathlessly asks Mentor to teach her more about human reproduction. The only problem is that the more she learns, the more sexual energy she builds up. Can Mentor help before his superiors put a premature end to her education?
STAR VIRGIN was directed by Howard Ziehm, best known as the director of the 1974 softcore sci-fi parody FLESH GORDON. This film is at its best when Ziehm ues stories to replicate the look and tone of other types of genre and exploitation film, and it hits an early high point with a silent film-style horror segment about a pair of young people who are stranded at Dracula’s castle. The opening segment transplanting Adam & Eve to a 1950s high school is clever, and Ziehm explains on the commentary track (with Bill Margold and Vinegar Syndrome’s Joe Rubin) that he took about a week to film each part of the film. The care and attention to detail with costumes and production design pay off and make the early sequences more interesting, but the final segment is a lengthy 8-man-2-woman orgy in a red-curtained room that could have been lifted from any contemporary porno film.
Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD of STAR VIRGIN presents the film in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, scanned and restored in 2K from a 35mm print. The film looks good for the most part, but there are some recurring lines in some parts, especially noticeable in the first reel. None of them are a major issue, though. The disc includes the previously-mentioned commentary track, which is very interesting for any student of 70s exploitation cinema. Ziehm mentions early in the commentary that he hired Kari Klark on the recommendation of Suze Randall, and the film was written by Randall’s partner Victor Nye. Randall and Nye were two of the main creative forces behind the camera on January’s other feature TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO.
Catholic schoolgirl Betty (Angel) falls asleep while studying and dreams of a weird series of erotic encounters. Her friend Catherine (Ginger Lynn) introduces her to a “Sex Maniac” (Jamie Gillis) and they have sex while Betty watches. Then Catherine takes Betty to the brother of Madam Rose (Lisa De Leeuw) where Betty peeps on some of Rose’s employees (including a pink-haired punk girl). Rose auctions off Betty to the highest bidder between a priest, a senator, a film director, and a nazi. She flees the brothel and meets two randy policemen, a sex-crazed undertaker (Harry Reems), and a suspiciously friendly woman who offers her a ride to a secluded spot and initiates her into lesbianism and exhibitionism.
Victor Nye, screenwriter of STAR VIRGIN, wrote and directed TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO. The film was produced by Suze Randall, a former model and photographer. Randall worked for Playboy and Hustler in the 1970s and went on to success in the adult entertainment and film industry as a photographer, producer, and director. This Vinegar Syndrome DVD release of TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO includes a lively commentary track by Nye and Randall (again with Joe Rubin of Vinegar Syndrome) that, like Ziehm’s commentary on the STAR VIRGIN DVD, will be essential for serious fans of 70s and 80s adult cinema. TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and was restored in 2k from the 35mm negative. Needless to say, it looks fantastic, exactly what one would expect given Vinegar Syndrome’s previous track record of restoration work from original elements.
Of these two films, TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO would serve as a better introduction to quality 1980s productions for anyone looking for a good jumping-on point. It features recognizable stars and high production values, while STAR VIRGIN was obviously made with considerably limited resources. However, both of these films are fun and well worth picking up for any dedicated fan of the Golden Age of Porn.
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