Continuing After Hours' tireless pursuits in unearthing forgotten pornos from the 1970s, here's a 2-disc collection of three early films starring the famously hung Mr Holmes (or Johnny Wadd, as he was sometimes known).

Disc 1 throws two early 16mm classics our way. The first is SMASH H (the title being a pun on popular American comedy-drama M.A.S.H.). In it, Holmes plays a doctor at a hospital who is working on transplanting a penis onto a female patient.

Or at least that seems to be what the film eventually ends up being about, as the plot is non-existent for the best part of 30 minutes - occupied instead by sweaty-looking sex scenes between a doctor and his female patient, and a man in a Stars & Stripes helmet prancing around his office, pretending to ride a motorcycle.

This latter character appears to have nothing to do with the rest of the film, his disembodied appearance being totally bizarre and confusing.

But then, SMASH H is a baffling affair from beginning to end. It is filled with scenes that don't have any bearing to the previous scene in terms of continuity, and sex scenes that go on forever, only for the camera to cut away to another random scene before things have reached their logical conclusion.

Most frustratingly, SMASH H bills Holmes as it's star but he doesn't get to do much in it. He delivers his lines awkwardly, fends off his secretary for the first forty minutes, then when he finally succumbs to her advances we get fifteen minutes of sex but no money shot!

The most interesting aspect of Holmes' performance in SMASH H is how young and clean-shaven he looks. I almost felt sorry for him, bearing in mind the drug-addiction and death by AIDS that were lying in wait for him.

Anyway. BENNY'S BUNGLES follows, in which Benny (Holmes hosts a house party that starts off oddly enough with him showing his collection of executions paraphernalia to his perplexed guests.

It turns into a farce as people decide to leave without the partner they arrived with - or find host Benny (Holmes) in bed rutting their girlfriends!

Holmes' talents are put to more use this time around, as are a few others in the cast. Okay, Holmes has the largest member but in all truth is not the most interesting porn star to watch. He seems like a hopeless lover who just happened to have a large tool ...

BENNY'S BUNGLES makes more sense structurally than SMASH H and is better shot in terms on camera angles and lighting. It also features passable acting during scenes of dialogue. In fact, its least interesting factor is the sex.

Both films are presented uncut in scratchy but perfectly watchable 1.78:1 transfers, both of which have been 16x9 enhanced. Images are not too soft, and there's minimal grain.

English mono tracks accompany both films, and in both cases the audio comes across as loud, clear and consistent. Minor hissing appears at times, but is not problematic.

Although there are no scene-selection menu pages to hand, both films can be remote-accessed - SMASH H by 8 chapters, and BENNY'S BUNGLES by 11.


Disc 2 introduces us to NEW GIRL IN TOWN which sees Holmes as a curly-haired hippy, complete with unconvincing Mexican moustache. He and his two friends sit in a flat one day enjoying a joint together, until a girl - Judy Angel - turns up and dances for them.

Holmes and one of the men take her to another apartment and sex follows (Angel also plays the secretary in SMASH H, so anyone who was left frustrated by that half-baked sex scene gets to see Holmes give her the full works this time around). Meanwhile, the hippy they left behind gets his leg over with another female who turns up. And so on!

NEW GIRL IN TOWN gives Holmes a little more to do, both in terms of acting and fucking. It's still not that interesting, although it does have amusing moments - such as when Holmes' friend takes over shagging Angel, but Holmes keeps placing himself clearly in the shot!

Again, the film is presented in a 16x9-enhanced 1.78:1 transfer that, while being very scratchy, is relatively bright and sharp considering it's age and origins.

The English mono audio track is another solid presentation.

NEW GIRL IN TOWN can be remote-accessed via 10 chapters.

Extras on disc 2 consist of a whopping 21 trailers. Among the best of these are trailers for CHIC 69, FORCED ENTRY and A TOUCH OF GENIE.

Finally, it's worth mentioning the 8-page booklet that comes with the DVDs and boasts decent liner notes from The After Hours Collector, along with some very graphic photographs.

John Holmes is a legend in porn circles to this day. As the excellent liner notes muse, it may be that his enduring popularity has more to do than his nerdish, unassuming nature than his big dick (which, incidentally is nowhere near being 18-and-a-half inches long, as the trailer on disc 1 declares!).

Holmes the actor is a likeable, warm chap who genuinely looks like he doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing half the time. Watching Holmes the actor is engaging, curious and a tad saddening.

Holmes the stud is more than a little boring, even in these early films where he could still get it up easily (witness the embarrassing finale to the otherwise superb INSATIABLE for Holmes at his worst!).

An interesting release, though not necessarily for the reasons you may have thought!

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by After Hours Cinema
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review