Judge Christopher Kulik hopes to be sleazy in his 70s.
Four films from the fountain of filth!
The softcore glow of After Hours Cinema conjures up another collection of forgotten, early '70s storefront features. Now they're in cahoots with Secret Key Motion Pictures, delivering a quartet of sleazy, sordid films that are sure to charm the faded green socks off your grandpas—or grandmas even, you never know. Considering their ilk, however, do these films have enough frick-and-frack in the sack to warrant a recommendation?
Splendor in the Sack: The opening sequence of this flick makes no sense, as a businessman pays a hooker to merely make out with her for about 15 minutes before running home to his wife. Said spouse seems to be having fun with her underage (?) maid, but when hubby comes home he wants to join in on the action.
A Taste of Honey: Two violent criminals decide to take a break at a local cathouse. They choose a virginal redhead as a tasty appetizer, but after some consummation and forceful intercourse, decide not to pay. Eventually they make the other hookers have an orgy with them at gunpoint, but who will get the last laugh?
Sweets for the Suite: Travel agency manager needs a new secretary who can really handle the, erm, position. Naturally, the secretary must be willing to provide oral sex and her vagina for afternoon quickies. Climax involves the guy getting it on with his true selection, until his swinger wife comes in and threatens to financially ruin him. Oh, the drama!
One Hundred Dollar Wife: If anything, After Hours and Secret Key have saved the best for last. Two businessmen love their wives, but decide once every year to fly to Vegas to have some hooker fun. Truth is, they go to a hotel in the same town and call up local providers…who happen to be their own wives doing temporary work for a local pimp!
Considering the fact I wasn't born until 1979, I simply cannot imagine what it must have been like to be in a room with sticky floors and a projector playing these films. What I can imagine, though, is I really didn't miss much. All of these films pre-date Deep Throat, avoid penetration like the plague, and are under an hour in terms of runtime. Hardcore enthusiasts will no doubt slog through these sloppy relics with about as much excitement as a eunuch in a locker room. The sex scenes themselves are, by and large, not that sexy and many seem to border on the fetish variety; if this is really your thing, tune in. Otherwise, these films are really for only one small audience—the ones who actually remember seeing them in their theatrical prime.
I wouldn't complain as much as I would if not for the fact these films are cheap, distasteful, and terminally unsettling to watch. The second film takes the honor of Most Repugnant, with the sex so violent and controlling it strongly suggests rape in several instances. Even though the ending is a surprise, Honey was still quite an ordeal. Splendor and Sweets are only marginally better, both elevated by an offbeat sense of humor. As I said, the fourth film is the only one with an ounce of cleverness and irony, while also being laugh-out-loud funny on occasion. One out of four, alas, is not nearly enough to recommend this sleazeball set.
After Hours and Secret Key treat these storefronts exactly how they should be treated. The visual quality never really varies, but remains true to their original projector showings. Exceptionally grainy, scratchy, and riddled with holes, the pictures are so awful it speaks for itself. All four films do boast anamorphic transfers, but that's it. Audio-wise, DD 2.0 Stereo, is your one and only choice, with subtitles being marked as absent. The extras are expectedly slim, but the distribution companies must be commended for the inclusion of Grind It, a play-mode which imitates an early-'70s theater experience, complete with previews and intermission advertisements. Even better is a complimentary booklet with a well-written essay on the genre and these films in general. Not much, but satisfying on the whole (har-har-har).
The last film is free to go, but the others are found guilty. After Hours and
Secret Key are free to go for at least enhancing—if not
improving—the viewing experience with their nostalgic DVD treatment.
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