Judge Christopher Kulik found this triple feature filthy and very guilty.
Filthy, filthy, filthy!
Before receiving this DVD set for review, I had no idea what a "storefront feature," was. As it turns out, it's really an ultra-cheap, 16mm porn film (lasting roughly 45-60 minutes) which, for years, had been a staple for the 42nd street trench-coat crowd. According to Dimitrios Otis, these films would be shown in a "ground commercial space that been cheaply converted into a cinema by throwing up a screen, a makeshift projection booth, and a bunch of folding chairs." The primary difference between these storefront cheapies and the feature-length pornos was that storefronts were actually closer in spirit to today's porn, having just a series of sex scenes and nothing else.
Those who specifically want to re-live some fond storefront viewing memories will no doubt find this grindhouse triple feature appealing…and they are welcome to it. After Hours Cinema has decided to present a 2008 feature called The Sex Deviates, which was made by some weirdoes called The Trash Brothers (appropriately named if you ask me). Put it simply, they attempt to yodel back to those storefront features of yore, however the results are only mild at best, pointless at worst. On a second disc, we get two actual storefronts from the early '70s: The Apartment and Girl Next Door. If you look closely, there are several similarities between the three of them. However, I was too bored to really notice.
Not that you care, but let's start discussing The Sex Deviates. Director Adam Trash appears as Elliot Forbes, an NYC "researcher in medical science" to examine some filthy meetings between members the opposite sex. A petit brunette (Biafra Bayne) and a chunky blonde (Tracie Hayes), begin making out as the former's brother (played by Eric Trash) looks on in tongue-swirling amusement. Later, we see Adam play a travelling Bible salesman who uses vegetables as phallic symbols to get Tracie aroused. Finally, we end on a Coors Light party where all of the cast members (including an anonymous nerdy girl) have some sexual fun. Roughly clocking in at 43 minutes, The Sex Deviates feels more like two hours.
While the film was indeed slow as a slug and about as sexy as a leech, my real problem is the Trash Brothers aren't faithful enough to their inspiration. Sure, they make the print crappy with a bunch of lines and debris to give it a relic look, but they still insist on using cell phones and razor blades. Adam Trash's humor as the doctor is misplaced and moronic, the music is annoying as hell, and the girls themselves—designed as the main drawing card—look like skanks who were found inside a local dumpster. Genuinely un-erotic and mind-numbingly slow, The Sex Deviates makes its ancestors look like classics to be embraced and preserved.
That doesn't mean The Apartment (61 minutes) and Girl Next Door (50 minutes) are palatable excursions. Filled with more film grain and anomalies than most porn connoisseurs would take, they are essentially poorly-filmed hand-pumpers of yesteryear, complete with scores that smell and wayyyyy too much dialogue during the sex action. Of the two, The Apartment has slightly more plot: two chain-smoking lovers are pretending to be siblings while a bisexual neighbor has been craving for the male of the duo. In addition, the film uses more sets, as Girl Next Door utilizes only one San Francisco residence. The latter feature focuses only on an 18-year-old girl who has a variety of sexual encounters with individuals arriving at her doorstep, whether they are selling vibrators are just drunken horny bastards. Both films are certainly better than The Sex Deviates…but not by much.
Like other After Hours Cinema releases, this one is spread out over two discs for no rhyme or reason. Their insistence on including previews for every product made me groan incessantly; disc one has over fifty alone! The only real extra is a short interview with middle-school dropout Bayne, who says "like" too many damn times over the course of six questions. The only engaging element in this DVD set was a booklet, which contains a Criterion-type essay by Demetrious Otis on the films presented as well as storefront features in general.
On the technical side, The Sex Deviates is presented in a deliberately shoddy 1.33:1 full frame print. The only positive thing I could say about the film's look is the colors are certainly bold and bright. As for the disc two features, both are given a 1.78:1 anamorphic treatment, which adds little to the already dirty film quality. Sonically, everything is in DD 2.0 Stereo. Audio-wise, The Sex Deviates actually comes clean, however the 70s features have a host of sound problems, namely 1/3 of the soundtrack is practically non-existent (although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, either). No subtitles at all.
I'm not really sure who is going to be interested in this garbage, but my copy has already been (physically) burned. The court finds this DVD compilation guilty of being shabby and degrading, even on a stag film level. The Trash Brothers are hereby stripped of their film gear and are ordered to get some proper film training. Court is adjourned!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: After Hours Cinema
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