Seduction Cinema // 2004 // 83 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bartholomew Payne (Retired) // July 21st, 2006
An innocent girl comes of age and learns all kinds of ways to get it on.
The DVD of The Seduction of Misty Mundae feels like an artifact from some bizarre alternate universe where the dreams of Burt Reynolds's character in Boogie Nights came true. Porn (at least the soft-core, Skinemax variety) has become a legitimate arm of the film industry, with movies that actually tell stories and concern themselves with character development.
Soft-core cutie Misty Mundae (Lord of the G-Strings, Mummy Raider, The Girl Who Shagged Me) stars as "Misty," an innocent teenage girl who undergoes her sexual coming of age at the hands of her older, wiser Aunt Inga (Julian Wells, Flesh for Olivia, Who Wants to Be an Erotic Billionaire?). This plot, such as it is, provides Misty (or, uh, "Misty") with opportunities galore to shed her innocence through voyeurism, tentative sexual experimentation, and finally a full-blown lesbian love scene with her aunt. (In case you find incest distasteful, a throwaway line at the end of the movie reveals that Inga is just Misty's mother's close friend, not a biological aunt.)
All of this is handled with much more sensitivity and style than is customary in movies of this kind. The plot and dialogue are predictably weak, but Misty's sexual awakening and new-found pleasures come across as almost sweet. This is due in large part to Ms. Mundae's surprising on-screen vulnerability; she comes across as believably shy and tentative. Director Michael Raso (Girl Seduction, Inside Misty Mundae) states in the commentary track that he was tired of the usual approach to eroticism in films of this kind and wanted a new (perhaps kinder and gentler?) approach that incorporated sex scenes as an essential part of a real story. Raso was inspired by the works of skin flick legend Joe Sarno from the 1960s and 1970s, such as Inga. His goal was to attempt to recapture the innocence and wonder of the "first time" and allow viewers to experience it through the eyes of Misty. Whether the attempt succeeds or fails will be largely a matter of personal taste, but he does manage to make the sex scenes (even hot, steamy, lesbians gettin' it on) warmer and less mechanical than is typically the case.
This DVD sports a collection of extra features almost on a par with "special editions" from some of the major studios. As noted earlier, there is a commentary track pairing director Michael Raso and editor Tony Marsiglia. Raso explains how he got into the erotic film business. Bascially, he went to school to make movies, and he had to work somewhere, and this is the niche he found. The commentary is surprisingly engaging, with Raso explaining his difficulties in making the kind of story-driven erotic film he wanted, maintaining a sense of mystery and drama, while also bearing in mind the "deliverables" required of him. It seems that distributors of this kind of movie demand a certain number of "deliverables" -- specific nude shots of the leads, such as a certain number of butt shots, breast shots, full frontals, and so forth. Trying to tell a story and deliver all the requisite shots is one of the challenges of making erotic films. He also gives some behind the scenes information on his star, Misty Mundae. It seems that Mundae, being heterosexual, has no problem doing lesbian scenes because they don't really affect her. On the other hand, hetero scenes are tougher for her to do, since they hit closer to home. Raso's account of the making of the film is fascinating, partly because he comes across as so old-fashioned, almost prudish, in his approach.
Other special features on the disc include an interview with Raso about the making of the film, four minutes of backstage footage that is basically Julian Wells and Allanah Rhodes goofing off, a photo shoot featuring Julian Wells, and a collection of trailers for other Misty Mundae vehicles. Also included is a vintage bit of erotica, a racy peep show from 1965, what I suppose used to be called a stag film. Of course, our perceptions of what qualifies as "racy" have changed over the years, and a girl who performs a tame striptease and smokes a cigarette might not qualify any more. Finally, there is also a bonus CD of the film's soundtrack, performed by two-man band The Pink Delicates. It sounds exactly like what you'd expect the soundtrack album for a soft-porn movie to sound like.
The Seduction of Misty Mundae is pretty well done for what it is, and it avoids the campiness and spoofery of her other, better known titles. The special features with director Mike Raso are more interesting than I expected, but I still don't think they make this DVD worth picking up.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Seduction Cinema
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by Director Michael Raso and Editor Tony Marsiglia
* Interview with Director Michael Raso
* Behind the Scenes Footage
* Retro-Seduction Peep Show
* Julian Wells Photo Shoot
* Misty Mundae Trailer Gallery
* Soundtrack CD -- Music by the Pink Delicates
* Misty Mundae's Official Site
* Retro Seduction -- Vintage Erotica