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VS-029_web

This month we get a double bill of oddities from actor/director Joseph Bardo, a Ray Dennis Steckler associate who held bit parts in Body Fever, The Thrill Killers and Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters as well as working camera on Bill Osco’s X-rated Alice in Wonderland and the drive in exploiter Trip with the Teacher.  Hell, he even showed up on an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies (of all things)!  
 
First up, Deep Roots. 

A laid back if somewhat whiny American Indian hippie (Jesse Chacan) leaves the reservation (which is never actually shown, you’ll have to settle for some generic woods) and heads out to Hollywood.

But wait, if this is his first time, how does he already seem to own a snazzy motorcycle and home, as well as appearing to already know half the female population of Tinseltown?  Don’t ask me, ask Joe…

Our hero’s first visit is to ‘Joanie’ (Anita Sands), a busty if somewhat homely Teutonic type who delivers a disinterested “oh…you’re an Indian?” as an jaw dropper of an opening line before getting body painted at his small but respectable Hollywood Hills spread.  A particularly endless coital scene ensues.
 
Without any buildup or transition, Bardo scene shifts from that lengthy and somewhat unappealing scenario to our friend Jesse making out with another, somewhat more attractive girl (likely Toni Bell as ‘Rene’, though the character never actually appears to be named in the proceedings).  Our mystery gal has a much nicer spread, complete with its own decorative Chinese bridge and waterfall and walk-in bath area(!).  

Without giving the viewer sufficient time to be dazzled by her impressive digs, Miss Mystery starts to give some oral favors, but changes her mind halfway through, claiming virginity (yeah, right). Luckily for Our Man Chacan, a homely girl named Susie (Mary Swan) shows up, who appears to know them both (he even proceeds to claim she’s like a sister to him!  How the hell long has he been in town, and just how busy has he been?).  Despite Susie’s apparent friendship with both parties, she doesn’t appear to mind his calling our would-be ‘virgin’ a cock tease… And then she proceeds to stare right into the camera with a lost look in her eyes! Talk about professional…
 
Then who shows up but drag queenesque former gangster moll Liz Renay, whose list of exploitation credits is quite impressive, ranging from Steckler (both The Thrill Killers and Body Fever again, the latter likely where she met Bardo in the first place) through Ed Wood (Lady Godiva Rides), Arch Hall Jr. (Deadwood ’76 and The Nasty Rabbit aka Spies A-Go-Go), Carlos Tobalina (Refinements in Love) and John Waters (Desperate Living).  Hell, she even dipped her toes in blaxploitation (Blackenstein)!

Liz is apparently working wedding arrangements for Joanie…wait, she’s getting married?  Since when?  To who? – and actually reads her own autobiography onscreen, punctuated by the choice zinger “aw, what a nice girl…I hope she has a happy ending”!
 
We then get a long shower scene from our earlier ‘virgin’, while Joanie gets a trim of her nether regions, fiddled with a pointy hairbrush and gives wedding night service to a fat hairy guy with a tiny dinker (one ‘Señor Ricardo’…Boy, who’s the lucky guy purchasing sloppy seconds tomorrow?).  Finally our hero gets to finish his earlier oral session with the ‘virgin’ before giving himself an effective snowball…yeah, we probably didn’t need to see all of that…
 
Of course, we also didn’t need to see Liz Renay doing a horrible burlesque bump and grind in an old lady nightie, a guy in a Groucho Marx getup chasing swinging grannies around, or the wedding orgy…I mean party featuring “50 Beautiful People”, the prevailing majority of whom are anything but. 

But there you have it. Thanks, Joe.

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We never do get to find out who the unlucky groom is, but Chacan decides that “you should never leave where you belong…I’ve got deep roots back in that reservation…and that’s where I’m going.”  Bardo actually THANKS YOU for managing to sit through all of this foolishness, and credits roll.
 
There’s plenty of cheesy hippie-era countrified folk-rock and a whole lot of awkward line delivery from our likeable if unlikely leading man, whose lighthearted bubbliness wouldn’t seem out of place in the average episode of the Partridge Family.  In fact, those familiar with Michael Gray’s Billy Batson in Filmation’s live action Saturday morning kids show Shazam! should have a good idea of what to expect here, which is a bit odd to say the least and quite amusingly out of place in a porno.

And now on to our second feature, which Joe saw fit to title Starlet Nights.  Great pun, there.  Cough.

If the first feature wasn’t scary enough, we get the overused privates of Leslie Bovee in close up once again, and yes, this bit of inaesthetic mirror play once again opens the film, just like it did in Lustful Feelings!  The lady must have really liked what she saw, or had a thing for shoving her least attractive bits in the audience’s face…

Seriously. While Bovee is otherwise quite attractive (see the aforementioned review if you will), trust me, her Love Canal (pun intended) in closeup is not something you want to be seeing on a full stomach.  All I can say is sheesh…

Our pal Jesse Chacan shows up once again, looking somewhat worse for wear at a decade’s remove, and still playing to ethnic stereotypes.  For this go-around, the American Indian thing is put aside so he can spend his entire screentime as a “genie” in full maharajah headdress.  Whew.
 
Apparently this is all just some weird fantasy of Bovee’s, as she seems to be married to an ugly old professor type whose idea of fashionable decor is some perfectly atrocious mustard on white wallpaper.  Yeah.  As if we weren’t grossed out already.

Effectively, Bovee is supposed to be the “wicked queen” whose whole schtick is hating on her  daughter “Snow” (the usually stunning Kandi Barbour of Neon Nights, who looks like a completely different person here in a hideous frizzy perm…is that really the same girl?!?).  

To judge by some silly character bits, her ‘magic mirror’ (Tyler Horne) would appear to be the real queen here…or would that be the director of the new project ‘Snow’ is set to star in?  It’s all badly faked and stereotypes abound – our magic mirror pal even does his best Tonto at one point. Sheesh.
 
We go back into Deep Roots territory with a masquerade orgy where Chacon shows up in that same stupid genie outfit and scores some oral off a cutie in sequined black dinner gloves and bustier (which seems to be a popular outfit, as Bovee sports a similar look, as do at least two others…).  

There’s an ugly old fat lady doing half assed S&M (complete with some hilarious post dubbed voiceover from the ‘victim’), Barbour shows up in a Marilyn Monroe number, and Bovee looks her Sandra Bullock best.   Did I mention Bovee and hubby employ a butt ugly and quite masculine “maid”, who unfortunately for viewers actually takes part in this sequence?  Seriously scary shit…
 
Thanks to the presence of Bovee, the prurient interest is considerably stronger this time around, but if you’re looking for a coherent story, forget it – this is just as disjointed as Deep Roots if not moreso.

Oh, my GOD, that’s a giant freaking cucumber – no wonder Bovee appears to need cosmetic surgery down there…

And yes, the tradition of “50 Beautiful People” continues, with the party guests consisting of…you guessed it…’Party Guests’.  

Wow. Thanks, Joe.
 
It’s Vinegar Syndrome, so you know these prints look the best they likely ever have – there’s almost no point in mentioning that anymore, bar anomalies of note. 

The films themselves?  Well, they’re certainly amusing enough – it’s hardly Sexualist/Wendy’s Palace territory, with both films remaining eminently watchable if not entertaining in their own bizarre light. 

But is there any significance to the fact that this double feature appears to be the first VS release to come without a spine number or official press release?  Hmm….

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