Blu-ray Review: Taboo

The movie Boogie Nights covered the transition experienced in the adult movie industry from ’70s to the ’80s. The film simplified how quickly the action went from film to video. This was a real change that prompted by arrival of the home video recorder. No longer did people have to sneak into less than stellar theaters in order to see the latest and hottest films from San Francisco and Manhattan. You could watch the action safely at home with the knowledge of how the floor got so sticky. Taboo came out during the end of the cinema era with a plot that was all about shocking the audience.

Barbara Scott (Kay Parker) thinks she has the suburban dream as a stay at home mom. However things go really bad when her husband dumps her for his hot young secretary. He’s cut her off cold and she’s not sure where to turn. She has a growing boy (Mike Ranger) to feed. Her only friend is extremely liberated (Juliet Anderson). She does her best to get her friend to swing with the times. After a struggle and feeling hopeless, Barbara lands a job. Her boss expects her to put in extra hours in his bedroom. She tries to get into the dating pool except the liberated life isn’t for her. In her emotional crisis, she turns for comfort from her son. Way too much comfort. She crosses the relationship boundary into Taboo territory. Can she stop herself?

Taboo doesn’t seem so shocking after 36 years since Mike Ranger is way older looking than his character. When he offers to give up school and get a job, it seems like he was wrapping up his post-doctoral studies and not high school. So it doesn’t seem like she’s his mother. Kay Parker does an fine job conveying the emotional crisis of being a house wife tossed away by her husband without warning. Shortly after Taboo, the video revolution happened and the movie became a huge hit with a series of sequels on VHS and even Beta. It even won an award from the Video Software Dealers Association for Sales volume in 1981. Director Kirdy Stevens spent the rest of the ’80s helming follow ups. The series itself continued for 23 installments that only wrapped up in 2007. The first movie set it up right with Kay Parker as a MILF gone too far.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks much better than when the 35mm prints were traveling around to your local disreputable cinema. The 1080p image brings out a lot of detail that didn’t exist on the Beta tape version. This is from the era before body hair grooming so you’ll get an eyeful from the time before electrolysis.

DVD has everything from the Blu-ray at a lower resolution.

Audio Commentaries abound to give so many stories about the fast production. Kay Parker contributes two tracks including a brand new one. She discusses both her career, why she agreed to such a taboo role and the effect it has had one her life. Writer/producer Helene Terrie gives even more insight on about the film and its legacy in the adult industry. Finally there’s a vintage track that has Terrie sharing the microphone with director Kirdy Stevens. He was able to spend most of his career revisiting the film with new stars during the video heydays.

Archival video interview with Kay Parker (7:14) talks about her role in a cult classic. She realizes the role did turn her into a named star.

Promotional Image Gallery covers so much of how you sell a taboo topic.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Taboo. Directed by: Kirdy Stevens. Screenplay by: Helene Terrie. Starring: Kay Parker, Mike Ranger, Juliet Anderson, Ron Jeremy, Betsy Ward, Brooke West, Don Fernando, Dorothy LeMay. Running Time: 86 minutes. Rated: X. Released: August 30, 2016.

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