14th Feb2015

‘Sexual Heights / Undulations’ Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

SEXUAL HEIGHTS

heights

(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1981)
“Unparallelled peaks of passion…”

Got a little fact for you all before we start. Did you know that there are more divorced men living in San Fransisco than anywhere else in the world? No? Well neither did I until watching this film. A few minutes in and we’re learning something already! Anyway, we meet our main characters, a group of divorced buddies who live together. We have Joe the architect, played by Herschel Savage (Jail Bait, Fleshdance), Ron the doctor, played by Jamie Gillis (Waterpower, Dracula Sucks), Jim the Lawyer, played by Jesse Adams (Mob Job, Ultraflesh) and Art the engineer, played by Michael Morrison (Purely Physical). After watching some porn, Joe tells them the story of how he came to be divorced. It’s all down to his pesky dick teasing babysitter Laurie, played by Tawny Pearl (Lusty Ladies). After talking about he nearly raped the poor thing, they come up with the plan to get revenge and let Joe have some more fun. They decide to dress up, get alcohol and lace cigarettes with some good old weed. John Holmes (Prisoner of Paradise, Johnny Wadd) wants in, but Ron says she may be a bit scared by his ‘presence’. Poor John, he’s very understanding though and goes home to get down and dirty with Mai Lin (Oriental Madam), so it’s not all bad. With the gang suited and booted, including Joe in drag, they call Laurie, she arrives and takes advantage of the hospitality. Under the influence and watching the free porn available, she decides to play and yeah, you can see this how this will end. Well, there’s a couple of nice surprises (for some) along the way!

Well ladies and gentlemen we have quite a cast here! Jamie Gillis, Herschel Savage and John Holmes. Even the wonderful Serena (Black Lolita, Aunt Peg) gets a major credit. Well, I say John Holmes and Serena have a major credit, they’re hardly in it! Holmes is involved in a couple of unrelated sequences and has a few lines with Gillis. Serena only appears in a girl on girl video the divorcees decide to watch (it is a lovely scene though!). Oh well, easy pay-check and it’s more names to sell the film I guess? That small complaint aside, Sexual Heights is a fun watch and not just for Savage’s ludicrously giant spectacles! It’s an absurd story that involves an absurd plan and it’s done with a purposefully slapstick tone. Seeing Herschel Savage in drag is worth admission alone. The fact that Laurie doesn’t realise who’s involved is humorous. Everyone puts in a great performance, I just wish John Holmes was more predominant. I will admit that towards the end, the film was beginning to drag (there’s a Tobalina staple involved, you may know my thoughts on that). All in all, this is a nice and silly title that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That being said, there are a couple of genuinely sinister scenes from Gillis (no surprises there) and Savage that put the icing on the cake. Not the best effort, but far from a dull entry in to Tobalina’s filmography.

UNDULATIONS

undulations

(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1981)
“The ultimate trip around the world… In motion…!”

John Holmes and Jamie Gillis return, but this time they playing themselves as guests with president of the International Male Watchers’ Society, Maggie Miller, played by Kitty Shane (Chain Letter, Tangerine) on the late night talk show Undulations. The hosts are Mai Lin (also returning as herself) and Georgia Drugg, played by Suzannah French (Skin on Skin). The group discuss a whole manner of subjects from male prostitutes, women taking advantage of men when it comes to landing that all important and gay rights amongst other things. John and Jamie talk also talk about (in an actually sincere and honest sounding way) their approaches to what they do best. Each subject discussed is illustrated with a vignette including something that art lovers wish would happen to them when they find a piece that is a bit out of their price range. All of this climaxes in to, yes you guessed it… A signature Tobalina group session!

Yep, this is a simple film. It’s as straightforward as Jamie’s hardened pecker. A novel concept, that some may enjoy more than others. As always Holmes and Gillis put in a great performance, the female cast not so much. That being said, there’s nothing too jarring about their performances so it never becomes an issue. On a purely trivial note, damn is John Holmes a flashy dresser. I need to get me a goddamn red turtleneck immediately! Overall, I did enjoy this effort too. The vignettes are also well acted and don’t really outstay their welcome. The action is good and varied, especially seeing the Holmes / Gillis double team! I liked some of the ‘social’ aspects too. I’m not too sure if it was completely intentional, but it does cover some great civil issues and also tackles gender politics. Don’t worry, you’re not getting bogged down with pseudo-intellectual bullshit with this. Out of the two, this is the weaker of the films, but nothing awful and it does have replay value.
_____

Overall, these are above average films from Carlos Tobalina. Sure, he uses the kaleidoscope effect a lot throughout and even uses the end credits of Sexual Heights for Undulations which gives it an unintentional charm. I’m guessing both films were produced back to back here. In terms of picture and sound quality, another stand up job from Vinegar Syndrome. I’m not too sure what sort of home release these titles have had in the past, but damn do they look and sound wonderful. I’ve said in the past that sometimes the pairings on these Peekarama releases can be pretty weak, but this is a fairly solid double feature, I can see why they’re released together. All in all, this is definitely worth your time and hey, getting to see Holmes and Gillis on home format is always a great thing! Wow, I seem to mention the male cast in classic porn a lot…. oh well!

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