Amber Hunt, Annette Haven, Anthony Spinelli, Carol Tong, Desiree West, Jack Wright, Joey Silvera, John Leslie, Johnny Keyes, Kay Parker, Leslie Bovee, Peter Johns, Sharon Thorpe, third eye cinema podcast, vinegar syndrome
A damn funky discofied theme song and a charter bus festooned with cheap dropcloth logos bring us on a trip across the George Washington Bridge to the titular locale.
Produced in the wake of a successful double feature of the Yul Brynner/Richard Benjamin consumerist satire and technological paranoia-fest Westworld and its less well remembered successor Futureworld, anyone familiar with either of those pictures should have a good idea of what to expect here. And given that we’re talking about one of the justifiably most feted auteurs in the world of hardcore, Anthony Spinelli, this is true both in terms of plot and tone as well as some measure of underlying commentary on the culture of its era, if not the human condition per se. Pretty heavy stuff for a XXX film, eh?
Kay Parker just can’t find fulfillment with her dorky mama’s boy husband (Jack Wright), who can’t get her to give him what he needs in turn. Sharon Thorpe pulls another Baby Rosemary as a lonely, makeup-free loner who needs to don a blonde wig and “different persona” to call Peter Johns for phone sex (and freaks out in shame thereafter!). Unfortunately theirs are the only backstories we get to see, but suffice to say, everyone on this bus has a reason to pay a visit to SexWorld.
John Leslie, who presents himself initially as a sex obsessed “macho stud” proves to be a woman hating misogynist and racist clown, more pathetic than enviable – so they pair him up with Desiree West, who “proves (his) spigot ain’t no bigot!”
Carol Tong (dressed like a cross between Mario, Liz Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith and the cast of Godspell) has a lesbo fling with human kewpie doll Amber Hunt of Cry for Cindy before bringing goofy nebbish Kent Hall in on it. Leslie Bovee (who seemed to have a well adjusted relationship with Hall at the start of the film) turns out to have a thing for next door neighbor Abigail Clayton. Parker wants it rough, Wright just wants to watch, but he comes to regret it when she voluntarily gives her aggro hookup (Joey Silvera) what she won’t give to him. He gets his mothering fix from a Maureen Spring.
Annette Haven is a rather prissy (if well dressed and elegant) lesbian who wants to try it with a man…any man. Slick Latino Roberto Ramos (in the goofiest damn thong you’re ever likely to see) fills the bill. Thorpe gets made up from her frumpy self to look as gorgeous as usual, and gets a little visit from Johnny Keyes. Wright mans up, Thorpe seems happy and Leslie enjoyed himself enough to request a second round, putting a smile on the face of West. Roll credits.
Featuring such top of the line “name” stars of the era as Leslie Bovee, John Leslie, Annette Haven, Joey Silvera and Kay Parker bolstered by attractive scene regulars such as Sharon Thorpe, Carol Tong and Desiree West, the simple fact is that SexWorld is another goodie from the pen and camera of a man who can only be described as one of the best adult film directors of all time.
Marked by an equally strong measure of and attention to both aesthetic and prurience, Spinelli’s films are generally well acted and grim, addressing personal, societal and existential issues alike. With the much touted sexual revolution laid exposed for its dark side to become apparent, interpersonal relationships are further examined for their difficulties and challenges and even the futility of the pursuit of happiness is explored to an extent that puts even the darkest of Radley Metzger works to shame. While SexWorld may not be the best example of his work in this particular respect, the fact remains that outside Joe Sarno, nobody does chiaroscuro better than Spinelli, on any level you choose to apply that statement.
With any sense of a Fantasy Islandesque vacation paradise eliminated by the sterile, Big Brother-like electonic monitoring and white coat medical/scientific types monitoring, analyzing and experimenting on participants every move, SexWorld is more of a creepy social engineering laboratory than anything desirable, a horrifying take on the whole Masters & Johnson by way of Cosmo thing that was so en vogue in its day.
And while SexWorld ultimately comes off like a more lighthearted Spinelli than the one who gave us such unrelentingly melancholic works as Cry for Cindy, Expectations or Confessions, it’s still got a damn sight more of a substantive, thought provoking wallop than the sort of thing regular viewers of the genre are likely to encounter elsewhere (bar, once again, the works of Radley Metzger and Joe Sarno).
In addition to the film (which comes in a Blu-ray or DVD option as well as containing both the original cut and the “soft R” version), there are interviews with stars Joey Silvera and Kay Parker. There’s even one from stills photographer Joel Sussman, of all people. Hell, you even get a CD of the soundtrack! Now if only they’d included one for Lady Dynamite…