JOHN HOLMES UNZIPPED

JOHN HOLMES UNZIPPED

Three early offerings from the legendary John Holmes, shot back in the early 1970s, before heíd gone flaccid through sustained cocaine abuse and was shooting AIDS-infected spunk over his unsuspecting co-stars.

Here, in these more carefree times, young John comes across as a happier soul.

The first film on offer is SMOKINí MARY JANE, a 55-minute romp that plays more like a stream-of-consciousness series of porno vignettes than a real movie. The plot is incomprehensible but, per the back cover, concerns Holmes as a dope dealer who "doesnít care much for smoking, but loves to be smoked!".

Itís basically a string of sex scenes held together by the frequent appearance of Mr Holmes in all his 13-inch glory. The rutting is sincere but rather unimaginative, while the camera work and lighting suggest that this is a very amateur production indeed.

Next up is MASKED MISCHIEF.

This opens with a middle-aged couple looking for something to do in New York one evening. They opt to try out a new theatre called Deja Vu. However, upon entering the theatre they realise they are the only ones in the audience.

Before they can leave, Holmes takes to the stage in a Zorro mask and ushers them into their seats. Then, the show begins ...

Firstly, a young redhead flounces onstage and is raped by a blonde stud. This is rough stuff, making the rape scenes in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE look tame in comparison. Thankfully itís only a performance and by the time the buck has entered her, the woman is having a thoroughly good time.

"I donít believe it!" yells the middle-aged woman. She may well act shocked, because whatís occurring onstage is a re-enactment of how she lost her virginity. The next act, for which Holmes drags her on to the stage for a bit of audience participation, relives her sex debut with her first husband.

So as not to leave him out, her latest hubbie is then welcomed to the stage and the redhead seduces him, recalling the manner in which his cherry was taken.

And so on, the supernatural shenanigans being interspersed occasionally with some bunkum about scientific reports unearthing revelatory test results on the nature of the Deja Vu theatre.

The use of masks and a stage lends this an atmospheric, arty edge. Some of the sex is pretty hot too, despite it being filmed from such awkward angles that you rarely get to see actual penetration.

Finally we get to RIDE A COCK HORSE (referred to on the Internet Movie Database as RIDE A COCKED HORSE). This originates from 1973 and is arguably the most well-known of these relatively obscure titles. Itís sometimes also known as CABIN FEVER.

Itís also the only one with any kind of discernible plotting. In it, two couples and a single girl retire to a country cabin for a weekend break. Among them are a brother and lesbian sister, who constantly bicker. For example, when she asks him if heís bored of shagging the same woman for the last three years, he responds with "One of these days Iím gonna cut your fucking tit off and shove it right up your ass". Charming.

Before long, everyoneís paired off for sex. The single girl takes to her bedroom for a spot of welcome dildo wanking.

Then there comes a knock at the door. A pretty brunette is welcomed in to the cabin, advising that sheís on her way to meet her boyfriend (Holmes) but has got lost. The revellers offer her a place to stay overnight.

But, far from being a charitable act, their motives are purely sexual Ė and a prolonged sexual assault ensues.

Bad move. The following day, the girl escapes and tells Holmes of her ordeal. He grabs a knife and a gun-toting pal, and the girl takes the pair of them back to the cabin ... where they dole out retribution, an-eye-for-an-eye style.

The boom microphone is often in shot. The cast frequently stammer over their lines. Actors occasionally look off-screen for direction. However, this is a well-lit and highly engaging 64 minutes regardless.

The dialogue is brutal, often amusingly so, and Holmes is excellent Ė he really acts here, clearly relishing being given the opportunity to play a violent scumbag.

After Hours Cinema have remastered these films from the only known film elements, restoring the battered 16mm prints to the best of their ability and applying colour correction throughout.

The end results are highly watchable, despite a LOT of print damage on display from beginning to end.

Each film is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks extremely worn, with vertical lines and specks galore. But colours are deep without bleeding and blacks are satisfyingly solid for the duration.

English mono audio isnít the best, with hiss, pops and very occasional drop-out. But itís perfectly sufficient for the films itís gracing.

An animated main menu page is fairly basic. Itís here that you can either access each film individually, or choose to watch them in one run via the "Grind It! Play All" function. As is normal for After Hours Cinema releases, there are no scene-selection menus.

The only extras are trailers for THE EARLY FILMS OF JOHN HOLMES, CHASTITY AND THE STARLETS, EXTREME SLEAZE 2, SEX FREAKS, SEXUAL INSANITY and SUPERSTARS OF THE 70S STAGS.

For connoisseurs of classic era porn, this region 0 disc is surely going to be a welcome addition to your filthy DVD library Ö

Review by Stuart Willis


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