Blair Harris, Bob Chinn, Delania Raffino, Don Fernando, gail palmer, Jesie St. James, John Holmes, Kandi Barbour, Kitty Shayne, Lauren Dominique, Paul Thomas, Richard Pacheco, Sharon Kane, third eye cinema podcast, Veri Knotty, vinegar syndrome
Vinegar Syndrome brings to light two more Bob Chinn efforts from 1979 with this month’s sole double feature. One’s pretty good. The other…
First up, the veteran adult film director goes all “couples film” with the stagey disco-era predecessor to 1981’s goofy So Fine in the Gail Palmer production Hot Legs.
Slow moving and somewhat boring, the film follows fashionista John (Jon Martin, in a rare non-costar abusing turn) and his PR team cum layout designers Mort and Sandy (Richard Pacheco and Delania Raffino) as they try to sell form fitting disco Lycra hot pants. Yep, I’m being entirely serious here.
Dave (Paul Thomas) is the hotshot photographer whose fancy camerawork makes the magazines sell…and assistant Debbie (Sharon Kane) have long, Harlequin-style fantasies over. Jesie St. James spends more time on her back than in front of the cameras, inclusive of bouts with Blair Harris and wardrobe assistant Julie (Lisa Sue Corey). When St. James proves just too unreliable, they pull in pinch hitter Janet (Barbara Allen) to save the promotional campaign. Pacheco gets a last minute fling in with makeup girl Katrina (Lauren Dominique), and that’s all she wrote. Seriously, that’s it.
Did I mention there’s a guy in here going by the name of “L.G. Sleaze”?
Aside from the cocktail napkin’s worth of plot, there’s far too many reasons to consider this one a miss: namely, plenty of dry ice, Solid Gold-style stage lighting, roller disco, slow motion and way too much of the prematurely aged Jesie St. James for my taste. The one concession to lovers of the raven tressed is a snooze inducing missionary sequence between Martin and the Joanna Cameronesque Delania Raffino (of Anthony Spinelli’s Expectations and Candy Goes to Hollywood).
The film’s only saving grace beyond Chinn’s always impressive eye towards cinematography, location work and set design is it’s soundtrack, jam packed with jazz fusion and discofied funk. Obvious theme song cover aside, expect a lot of wah pedal, ring modulated organ and the sort of laid back yet accomplished musicianship you just can’t find anymore. Another one that should have gotten it’s own soundtrack CD…
A much better example of Chinn’s work comes in the form of the second feature, the same year’s California Gigolo.
Opening on what appears to be a Randy Stonehill theme song (!) over a street sequence featuring a sweaty, just-got-out-of-bed John Holmes‘ inept attempt to pick up a positively stunning Kandi Barbour (who amazingly follows Big John up a mountain ski lift immediately after rebuffing him), the film takes an obvious riff on Paul Schrader’s grim American Gigolo and turns it into a brightly lit, visually sumptuous and sunny comic romp with zero implied downsides to the man’s means of making a living.
“Health nut” Holmes shows both awful form and extreme difficulty in curling what look like a pair of 10 pound dumbbells when “the Screamer” (Liza Dwyer), frustrated by getting hung up on by a random filthy phone caller (and her inability to use the phone receiver as a lonely person device despite her best efforts thereto), calls for his paid services.
Holmes apparently does quite well for himself, as he has a white suited manservant (“Gomez”, Don Fernando) and routinely receives gifts like multifaceted diamond rings as parting gifts from his rich (and unlike Scharader’s film, generally youthful and reasonably attractive) clientele.
“Gomez” doesn’t seem to mind his role in this arrangement, as Holmes is prone to giving him his cast offs, such as Girl Scout uniform sporting Kitty Shayne…who he promptly runs off with!
Then a seedily attractive brunette bearing the unfortunate sobriquet “Veri Knotty” ruins her aesthetic appeal and predilection for leatherette bondage gear by performing a terrifying geek show with her nether regions. Sheesh…and she was kinda cute, too…
When his car breaks down, Jodie Fosteresque Vanessa Tibbs gives Holmes a lift which turns into a bet and finally an auto-demonstration of a trick Fatty Arbuckle made famous. Just before credits roll, “Gomez” reappears for a joke sendoff where he shows girlfriend Delania Raffino his new cabin cruiser, courtesy of (one imagines former) squeeze Kitty Shayne.
Filled with Beverly Hills location footage, Hardbodies-like seaside scenes of pretty bikini clad locals and sunny Los Angeles street sequences, there’s really no downsides to this one, which unlike it’s rather dry, often questionably cast companion piece features one pretty girl after another.
The only sticking point whatsoever here lies with the aforementioned carnival freakshow sequences, courtesy of a reasonably attractive starlet who should’ve had a bit more self respect. Otherwise? Another well shot, reasonably aesthetic (and well restored) Bob Chinn effort, which deserved top billing over its sleepy companion feature.