DVD Reviews: September Fun from Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome brings us into Fall with three releases that take us back to school, the convent, Hawaii and World War II.

Peekarama: Cry For Cindy, Touch Me & Act of Confession is a triple bill courtesy of director Anthony Spinelli. Before he entered the world of adult cinema, Anthony had small parts on numerous TV shows including Green Acres, That Girl and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Once he went behind the camera, he became a prolific filmmaker in the other movie industry. The threesome on this collection show his characters being both probing and profane. Cry For Cindy (1976 – 86 minutes) explores why a hooker (Amber Hunt) commits suicide. In her case, it’s the harsh truth of what she did for love. Her boyfriend thought she was able to afford his medical school bills by modeling in the big city. Turns out she was turning tricks and her pimp wasn’t ready to let her retire after she married the doctor. The movie has the people at her funeral recollect how they helped her along in the business. This is not the usual eulogy for such a somber event. There’s an almost R-rated cut of the film for those who want a less penetrating view of the action. Touch Me (1971 – 78 minutes) takes us back to the start of group therapy. Psychologist Dr. Lloyd Davis (Tom Stevens) wants to explore the resistance people have at sharing pleasure. Instead of having people sit around in chairs in his office, he takes things to a natural extreme. He starts out the evening with a breathing exercise, but soon it’s everyone stripping down. They explore their hang ups, fears and desires with a complete hands on approach. Some people have more hands on them than others. The film attempts to sound like a documentary. Any reliable institution of higher learning only used this movie for department sponsored bachelor parties. What’s interesting is that this film was released a year before The Bob Newhart Show aired. Although odds are that Touch Me had no influence on creating the TV show that featured group therapy. Act of Confession is straight up nunsploitation. What dark desires lurk inside a nun’s heart? This movie does its best to express the fantasy. Novice Sister Beatrice (Kim Durey) is on the verge of her big vows to the sisterhood. As that day approaches, she is overwhelmed by her dreams of unbridled lust. First it’s merely forbidden desires with her fellow novice nun. These lusty fantasies build up until she has a full on romp with the Big Guy. The movie was thought lost until they uncovered a 16mm of the version that could run on Cinemax After Dark if the executives there wanted to be cussed out by the Pope. Spinelli’s three movies aren’t the most comfortable of romantic films since his characters are filled with a lot of repressed anger and disturbing issues.
Peekarama: Mai Lin vs. Serena & Oriental Hawaii is a double feature from director Carlos Toblina (Marilyn and the Senator) that features Mai Lin and Jade Wong. Mai Lin vs. Serena (1981 – 79 minutes) is a tricky logic question. Can there really be a loser when two actresses compete to star in an adult film by doing adult things that end up being filmed for an adult movie? That’s exactly what happens when Mai Lin and Serena go all out to impress director Carlos Toblina. The two women stop at nothing to outdo each other in physical exertion. How does one truly judge such performances? The duo do their best with anyone who wanders across them while the competition is in progress. Oriental Hawaii (1982 – 79 minutes) is about what people did before AirBnB. A dad tells the family that times are tough and they’re going to have to take in boarders to make ends meet. The grown kids who won’t leave home are at first angry about the new living arrangement. Their frustrations fade away fast when Mai Lin and Jade Wong knock on the door. The two girls are doing their best to get through the university. But very quickly the duo give the family an adult education. This film put the University of Hawaii on the academic map. Or at least had plenty of people putting up “Room For Rent” signs on the Honolulu campus. The trailers for the films are the bonus feature.
Prisoners of Paradise (1980 – 78 minutes) is Bob Chinn’s epic tale of what really happened in the Pacific during World War II. The big surprise is the return of Chinn’s set from Sadie. The tropical decor seems to have lasted longer in the business than star John Holmes. Why not? It’s a good and sturdy set that fits the action. The same can be said for Holmes. He’s an American sailor whose ship gets sunk. He washes up on the shore of what he thinks is a deserted island. But this is not the case. He’s on Japanese territory. What makes his plight worse is that this is also a Nazi outpost run by Hans (Sadie‘s Heinz Muller) with his blonde assistants Ilsa (the legendary Seka) and Greta (Sue Carol). Jade Wong is a mute assistant. It’s up to John Holmes to rescue the American prisoners from the Nazi trio. He has only one weapon and he uses it as much as he can on Ilsa and Greta. Mai Lin also has a role in the action. The film is less disturbing than Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS. The film plays more like a really dirty version of McHale’s Navy. The Polynesian set once more elevates the cast.

Prisoner of Paradise is the must have of the trio mainly because of the on screen talent of Holmes and Seka. The trio from Anthony Spinelli are interesting to watch because of their diverse approach to adult entertainment. Carlos Toblina’s double feature is just pure fantasy especially about what happens when two co-eds move into your house.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for all the titles except 1.33:1 on Act of Confession. The transfer restoration job by Vinegar Syndrome makes these films look better than when they were released. The “nice” cut of Cry For Cindy wasn’t restored so you can see how brutal they could look. The audio is mono for all the films. The sound is fine for the low budget productions.

No additional bonus features.

Peekarama: Cry For Cindy, Touch Me & Act of Confession, Peekarama: Mai Lin vs. Serena & Oriental Hawaii, Prisoners of Paradise will allow you to turn your TV room into a Time Square cinema.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Peekarama: Cry For Cindy, Touch Me & Act of Confession, Peekarama: Mai Lin vs. Serena & Oriental Hawaii, Prisoners of Paradise. Starring: John Holmes, Seka, Mai Lin and Jade Wong. Released: September 12, 2014.