19th Jan2015

‘Carnal Haven’ / ‘Her Last Fling’ Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

CARNAL HAVEN

carnal-haven-logo

(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1976)
“Sharon has the ‘Gypsy Grip’… But John knows the ‘Inka Knot’”

Not every couple has amazing sex. Thankfully, for those couples out there who suffer, you are not alone! You see, we have four couple who each have their own problems and hang ups. Firstly, we have Leslie and Richard, played by Leslie Bovee (Maraschino Cherry) and John Leslie (Dracula Sucks). When Richard isn’t fantasising about other women, Leslie is downing her sorrows with good old J&B. Their marriage is the same way Leslie probably takes her whiskey, on the rocks. Of course, their last ditch attempt at saving their marriage is to visit the sex clinic of Dr. Klein and Dr. Wasserman, played by Sharon Thorpe (Sexworld, Femmes de Sade) and Ken Scudder (Pretty Peaches, Tropic of Desire). Leslie and Richard aren’t the only ones attending however! We also have Pat and her pimp husband, played by Desiree West (All Night Long) and Dashile Miguele (The Ultimate Pleasure), a young black couple who aren’t happy even though, contrary to popular belief, they have lots of children (don’t you just love 70′s stereotypes!?). Let’s see, who’s next? Oh yeah, we have Bob and Debbie, played by Turk Lyon (Hardgore) and Candide Royale (Jingle Blue), a couple who’s financial troubles and habits (cigarettes and hairspray) are really making down time a real downer. Finally, we have freshly released from prison Joey (who has developed a thirst for anal sex) and his long suffering girl Olivia played by Joey Silvera (Purely Physical) and Bonnie Holiday (Female Athletes, Fantasies). Will everyones sex lives improve? Will everyone come out a better person? Well, that’s for you to make an appointment for yourself!

Carnal Haven is an interesting film. I really appreciated how the film was structured. The first half effectively introduces us to the couples. The latter half is pretty much an orgy. Yes, it’s simple, but it works. Each couple and their stories are entertaining in their own way. My favourite couple has to be Joey and Olivia, the whole anal sex angle is funny, as is the banter between the pair. Not only is the film entertaining, you may even learn a thing or two from our wonderful medical staff… and I’m not just talking about the sex (ah, misinformed racial stereotypes)! If orgies are your cup of tea, you will enjoy this film a lot. That being said, there are a variety of acts on display. Being a Tobalina flick, these are executed well and there are some lovely handheld shots. Overall, aside from some slow spots, the film is very entertaining for the most part and the films running time is just right. As a little bonus, you also get a nice all girl three way scene including the wonderful Annette Haven (Barbara Broadcast), which is NEVER a bad thing!

HER LAST FLING

her-last-fling-logo

(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1977)
“See Sandy seek the secrets of sexual survival!”

Her Last Fling follows Sandy, played by the cute Sandy Pinney (Long Jeanne Silver, Babyface). Unfortunately for her, she has just found out that she is terminally ill and doesn’t have long to live. Whilst her doctor does more tests to determine a time frame, Sandy decides to make the most of whatever time she has left and goes on sexual journey. Not only that, but she also decides to go to Vegas, blow her cash (in between blowing of another sort) and buy a motherfucking Cadillac! Yes folks, she’s doing it right! When I said sexual journey, I actually mean she partakes in a multitude of orgies (shocking for a Tobalina flick, eh?). It gets a little complicated when she falls in love with an uncredited Jeff Lyle (Bon Appetite, Roommates), being that she could die any day now, she can only offer him her Cadillac (seems like a win-win situation to me!). After all the sexcitement and personal inner-exploration (in more ways than one), Sandy returns to the doctor and finds out something that changes everything…

Prior to viewing, I was wondering which direction Tobalina would take. Would it be a somewhat subtle and honest approach? Would it go down the exploitative, even unintentionally cheesy route? I just didn’t know. I have to say that for the first 10 minutes, I was in love with this film. It set the tone brilliantly. You felt sympathetic straight away to Sandy’s situation. The musical score overlooked by Sharon Thorpe (Honey Pie, Love Slaves) helped setting the sombre tone by using pieces of classical music. The cinematography (once again, handheld) from Fernando Fortes (Champagne Orgy, Jungle Blue) during the scenes of Sharon coming to terms with the news add to devastating effect. It kinda lost its charm once the actual sex kicked in. Yep, it’s another orgy fest which, although well done and performed, got a bit dull (I have seen about 6 orgy scenes in my last few reviews). It does every now and then cut back to Sharon talking about her situation, but that work setting up the film seems to disappear. I personally think this would have been great if we would have spent more time with Sharon wondering the streets of Las Vegas and reflecting. That being said, I did find this to be a somewhat nice example of porno chic. Overall, not a bad film at all.

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This is a solid double feature. If you are in to orgy scenes, you are going to really, really enjoy these films. Both films have great stories, but in my opinion could have been a much better experience if the focus was more on story over sex (as crazy as that sounds, but there is a wonderful all girl scene in which Thorpe gets explored). Out of the two, I feel Her Last Fling was the better film. Thorpe’s performance (which is sometimes wooden) is subtle and the scenes of her looking off in to the distance in silence, speak volumes and add power. It was also great to see John Holmes (Eruption, Fantasm) pop up (ha!) in the orgy scene. Both films seem to deal with learning something. Was that Vinegar Syndrome’s intention? I don’t know, but it does make this a double feature that has a theme and it works its favour. Do I have to go on about how nice of a restoration and presentation job Vinegar Syndrome have done? Not really, but they friggin’ well have. Both films look and sound great. The exterior scenes of Vegas in Her Last Fling look brilliant and make you wish you where there. There’s one scene specifically of Thorpe laying in bed that is simple, but so damn effective thanks to the combination of Fortes’s cinemtography and Vinegar Syndrome’s restoration. The sound pops out one or two times, but that’s hardly anything to whine about. Overall, this is a strong release from Vinegar Syndrome in their Peekarama line. Definitely worth the price tag!

You can buy this release directly from Vinegar Syndrome here, as well as your favourite online retailers.

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