21st Apr2015

‘Come Under My Spell / Lady Dynamite’ Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

COME UNDER MY SPELL
(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1979)

“The film that will bring you up to a joy you’re paying for!”

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The film opens up in hip and swinging San Fransisco and instantly we are introduced to some heavy student action. Before the memories of university life get the better of me (yeah right!), we are introduced Fernando, played by Fernando Fortes (I Am Always Ready). Fernando is a foreign exchange student who really, really like animals! Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t had any human action since arriving in America. Thankfully, his friend Dave, played by Blair Harris (Teeny Buns) is on hand to try and rectify that. He sets Fernando up with a threesome, but it doesn’t go to plan. Being the good friend that he is, Dave decides to cheer him up by buying a cheap copy of a sexual hypnotism book. After studying hard through the power of montage, Fernando embarks on his sexual adventure one woman at a time. He even gets to see some lesbian action! To show his gratitude, he allows Dave to join in from time to time, even if it can get messy (don’t worry, you’ll see!). The pair even take their creepy new trick to Dave’s family at a wedding. How far will they go? How many notches will Fernando and Dave rack up? Will it get in between their friendship? You’re either going to have to watch for yourself or find your own hypnotism book!

Come Under My Spell is as innocent of a film about unwilling sex as can be I guess? The film is played as a slapstick comedy that I’m sure all the feminists and social justice warriors will adore! I found the comedy to be hit and miss. You will laugh more at the clumsy dialogue, especially when it’s being delivered by Fernando. Aside from having a few memorable moments, the film does suffer from the occasional dull patch. In terms of the sex, it does deliver. That being said, you will be unintentionally balling (no pun intended) at the sight of little Fernando in nothing but his socks and his arse bouncing around, he’s clearly having major fun! I often sigh at Tobalina’s extended use of the orgy scene, but thankfully the one (yes, only one!) in this film is much more tolerable than usual. Thinking about the film in terms of its rather disturbing subject matter and themes makes me chuckle (I do enjoy misguided comedy!). Overall, it’s a straightforward film with a fairly solid and paced story with the added bonus of having the likes of Connie Peterson (Chopstix), Liza Dwyer (Over Easy) and Vicky Zederquist (in her only credited role) on screen. It also should be noted that the final third of the film is genuinely great.

LADY DYNAMITE
(dir: Carlos Tobalina, 1979)

“Ready to please!”

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Colleen Brennan (Supervixens) stars as Valerie, a loyal housewife of 10 years who has just found out from her doctor (Tobalina in an uncredited cameo) that she has contracted the clap thanks to her unfaithful husband. She decides that enough is enough and once cleared up, she begins a deep and personal sexual journey. Her first stop is a wealthy executive played by Blair Harris. He has wanted her for many years and luckily for him, it’s all hands on deck on his boat. After a lot of hardcore nautical action, Valerie has a party to attend, a girls only party to be exact. All the girls hit it off straight away and they proceed to get to know each other better and deeper. After some serious ice breaking, the entertainment for the evening arrives in the form of hairy manly exotic dancers. One of which instantly (and disturbingly) reminds me of 80′s era Alan Parsons (yuck!). After some seriously dope dance moves, it’s orgy time with some added 80′s sounding synth beats thrown in for good measure! After the party, Valerie’s sexual journey comes to an end and she finds herself back at home with her grovelling husband. Is this her return or the final goodbye?

If Lifetime or Hallmark did pornography, this is what it would look like. A very simple melodrama about a woman’s personal journey after having her life ruined by someone she loves. What Valerie lacks in logic (remedying Gonorrhoea and a cheating husband by sleeping with multiple partners is completely rational) she makes up for in sass and sex appeal. That is of course thanks to Brennan’s performance. Even surrounded by good looking co-stars (I’m talking about the party scene before Alan Parsons cock blocked me!), she is centre of attention. All in all, it’s a well acted film with some equally well performed sex scenes (once again, Brennan shines above all!). That being said, some set pieces do tend to drag. The film is re-watchable, if only for the cheesy charm of the music, style and of course Brennan. Fans of Brennan definitely need to pick this one up. Just make sure to use precaution!
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Lady Dynamite could be considered the ‘better’ film of the two, but Come Under My Spell was more enjoyable (albeit unintentionally) for me. Both films do have their moments and it’s a better pairing of Carlos Tobalina films compared to some of the previous releases I have covered. Both films have been restored and presented wonderfully. There may be a few visual and audio niggles here and there, but it doesn’t detract from Vinegar Syndrome’s good work. Each film comes with a trailer, which is always a bonus. Overall, this is a solid release. They may not be Tobalina’s most entertaining efforts, but they are far from his dullest. A great introduction to his work as well as an essential release for those completing their Tobalina collection.

The Peekarama Come Under My Spell and Lady Dynamite double feature is available directly from Vinegar Syndrome here, as well as most of your favourite online retailers.

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