Carlos Tobalina was a prolific adult filmmaker in the 1970s and 1980s, and Vinegar Syndrome has released a few of his films on standalone discs (JUNGLE BLUE, MARILYN AND THE SENATOR) and a total of four Peekarama double features being released through November. September’s double feature is a step up from the first Tobalina Peekarama release, THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE and I AM ALWAYS READY. Where those films had some technical issues that made them feel rushed and sloppy, these features are much more technically sound, while keeping up the boundary-pushing sexuality and penchant for group sex that defined those films.


ORIENTAL HAWAII (1982) tells the story of the Walker family, living in Hawaii and in some financial trouble. Bob (John Leslie) and Mildred (Jessie St. James) announce to their four, um, “children” (Jesse Adams, Jon Martin, Rhonda Jo Petty and Danielle) that they will have to tighten their belts a bit. One of the boys suggest the siblings double up on rooms and the family advertise at the local university for a student or two to live in the house and pay rent instead of living in the dorms. Soon enough, Lelani (Mai Lin) and Ming (Jade Wong) answer the ad and move in to the empty room. Their presence, unsurprisingly, leads to a series of erotic encounters.


There’s a lot of incest in ORIENTAL HAWAII, including a dream that Bob has in which all the members of the family and the two students have sex with each other. It’s inherently creepy, but it  would be a lot creepier if it was in any way possible to buy the fact that any of these people are related to each other. The most glaring example of this is Jessie St. James, who is supposedly the mother of four college-age kids who look the same age, but who barely looks more than a few years older than any of them. As far as all the siblings being the same age, they could be quadruplets, but it’s never really discussed. Interestingly, the sisters have a sex scene with each other, but when we see what’s going on in the boys’ room when they’re bored and horny, they’re just reading books and whining before going to bed. At least it’s edited in a way that makes sense.


The second feature on the disc is another “porn movie about making a porn movie”: MAI LIN VS. SERENA (1982). Carlos Tobalina (himself) is casting for his new feature, and Mai Lin (herself) and Serena (herself) are both up for the role. Only one of them can get the role, though, so a competition is proposed that Tobalina will judge. The winner will get the role and the $25,000 payday. And so they’re off, wandering into local businesses and starting orgies everywhere they go until they end up in jail, where things go pretty much the same way. For the big finale, Serena invites a few dozen guys over to her place where she and Mai Lin service them while sitting in a huge pink claw-foot bathtub. Whoever wins, those guys all won, apparently. Watch for Jade Wong, Billy Dee, Herschel Savage and Jesse Adams, who all pop up throughout the film.


Vinegar Syndrome presents both features restored in 2K from the original camera negatives, and as such they both look fantastic. These films are bright and colorful, and are served well in this new scan. They’re both technically solid, but still land around the middle of the pack of the Peekarama line for quality of production and storyline versus pure titillation. This release will probably appeal most to fans of the actors involved in the films, but anyone looking for more satisfying cinematic experiences will want to look elsewhere.





Jason Coffman

Jason Coffman

Unrepentant cinephile. Contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly. Member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. Co-director, Chicago Cinema Society. Attempted filmmaker. Proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's GURU, THE MAD MONK and Zalman King's TWO MOON JUNCTION.
Jason Coffman
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