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“In the United States of America, thanks to Constitutional guarantees of complete religious freedom, the old established churches prosper tax free…
Also the self-appointed messengers of God, now dominating TV.”

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And with that garbled return to what the hell is he trying to say polemics, our old pal Carlos Tobalina returns, oddly for a porn producer appearing thereby to be endorsing totalitarianism and a clampdown on the right to personal belief.

Yeah, it’s his usual anti-porn censorship diatribe buried under his notably poor command of the English idiom, but still.  Like I said, what the fuck?

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Bill Margold takes the oft-abused 80’s porn trope of the faith healin’, fire and brimstone televangelist with a secret life (gee, not like that ever happens in real life…).  Like a certain Mr. Swaggart, he’s fond of visiting prostitutes for self-flagellation and ritual abuse, while his horny wife (Rita Ricardo) and skanky, manly voiced older daughter (Tamara Longley) diddle themselves in his absence.*

* even his younger daughter (Marguerite Nuit) gets in on the onanistic fun with a giant teddy bear and old fashioned vibe massager…

In fact, wifey does a whole hell of a lot of diddling, as Reverend Bill seems to have a thing for beating off on the ladies rather than actually copulating with them.  Hmm, some unresolved orientation issues, maybe?  Worse, he bilks the public with paid plants who essay the part of his “healings”, and uses hired muscle to roughhouse unsympathetic investigative reporters.

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Eventually, wifey finds an encounter group where Herschel Savage, Don Fernando and a few fellow femmes give the lady what she’s missing out on at home.  Longley finds her own poolside orgy while hitching a ride from a stranger, and Margold continues tying hookers up to beat and beat off on.  Is there a point to all of this?  Please.

Tobalina uses some hilariously hoary stock footage of early 60’s Southern folk as the audience to Margold’s tent revival bit, and while Ricardo is certainly no beauty queen, her sheer enjoyment and unusually alabaster skin tone offer their own respective measures of appeal.

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There’s a groovy, laid back disco soundtrack that’s a good 10 years out of date by the time of filming and some hilariously tacky locations (is that a stylized arrow on the wall of their home?  Seriously?), but being Tobalina, things have to turn twisted and incestuous by film’s end.

Gee, thanks, Carlos.

Yecch.

As if in apology for that stomach churning top bill, Vinegar Syndrome offers a far more enjoyable 2nd feature in Marathon.

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Pecker-nosed fisherman Jamie Gillis throws a costume party cum orgy, and he’s inviting Ron Jeremy, Mai Lin, John Holmes, Bill Margold, “Miss” Sharon Mitchell, Herschel Savage, Don Fernando and Jesse Adams, plus none other than John Stag(liano) in the pre-Evil Angel/Buttman days.

Tobalina himself shows up (but does not participate, if you were actually wondering) in Groucho glasses, and there’s even a few unknowns, inclusive of a pre-poundage Celia Cruz lookalike, if that’s your thing for whatever reason. Seriously.  I don’t wanna know.

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There’s zero plot, just a few quick one liners and then right down to the business at hand.  The big nod to thespianism here comes about halfway through the running time, when they all move location to the local hospital, where Margold and that girl from Flesh Pond are laid up after a car wreck.  So hey, let’s continue our orgy in front of them, sound like a plan?

But damn if it doesn’t seem like a head and shoulders improvement over its queasy top billed co-feature!

Tobalina was at least 2/3 of the way through his career when this one dropped, and I guess at this point he was getting tired of even trying anymore. We’ve got a whole shitload of big names in the industry, what sort of epic can we craft to fit them all in?  Aah, fuck it, let’s just film another orgy.

Think of this one as Whit Boyd’s The Office Party, but more hard- than softcore and with better looking participants.  Seriously, there ain’t nothin’ going on but the rent, so don’t expect anything more in depth than that.

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Mai Lin is quite fetching in her Zatanna cosplay, looking particularly stunning with her hair styled up like that, Mitchell and a punk-streaked short dark haired lass who seems to vanish when the gang moves to the hospital are also worth watching, the music’s appropriately funky and Gillis, Jeremy and even Tobalina drop a few smirk inducing jokes if you’re paying close enough attention.

As ever, things look quite vibrant, colorful and crisply photographed.  Is it even possible these scum theater productions looked half this good on initial release?  I don’t think so.

The ineffable Carlos Tobalina once again gets a much better presentation than his zero-effort efforts deserve from the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome…who must have as weird a sense of humor as I do, to continue lavishing so fine a spit polish job on garbage like this month after month!

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