01st Feb2016

‘Pretty Peaches’ Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

Stars: Blair Harris, Desiree Cousteau, Joey Silvera, John Leslie, Ken Scudder, Sharon Kane | Directed by Alex de Renzy


Hugh (John Leslie, Dracula Sucks) is about to marry Lily (Flower, Sheila’s Payoff) and he wants his bubbly daughter Peaches (Desireé Cousteau, Hot Rackets) from his first marriage, to be a part of the festivities. Thankfully the stepdaughter-stepmother relationship starts off well with the trio hitting up the nearest slot machines. Unfortunately, Peaches comes to the realisation that she now has to potentially compete for her father’s love and attention. After sinking down a few shots she does the sensible thing and jumps in her jeep to let off some steam. Whilst on her little bender, Peaches is involved in an accident and subsequently left unconscious. Thankfully, however help is on hand as Kid (Joey Silvera, Carnal Haven) and Jesse (Ken Scudder, Champagne For Breakfast), two good Samaritans who are having their car problems “nurse” her back to health. Once Peaches has regained consciousness, she realises that she is suffering from amnesia. Seeking their opportunity to have their own personal plaything and the potential of making some good old fashioned ransom money, they invite her to stay with them and help her get better. Kid suggests she pay his “Uncle Percy” a visit. Instead of help, Peaches finds herself on the wrong end (as if there’s a right one) of a forced enema. After such a traumatic experience, her spirits are lifted when she finds a potential job as an erotic dancer. Unfortunately, what starts out as an above board (if not slightly scuzzy) audition turns in to Peaches being forced in to an all-girl dominatrix show (it happens to best of us). Just as things are reaching breaking point for Peaches, she has a chance encounter with a handsome psychiatrist (Paul Thomas, Jesus Christ Superstar) who may hold the key to not only healing Peaches, but reuniting her with her worried father as well bringing her genuine happiness. No matter what the outcome, this is a de Renzy film so it’s only going to get even stranger!

Pretty Peaches is certainly a stand out film. Where else are you going to find a warped adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide that plays sexual atrocities off as a goofy comedy? Yes indeed, all of the physical, emotional and psychological abuse dished out to the naïve Peaches is played for laughs! Being a de Renzy film, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was purely intentional. Therefore, it may not sit right for some of the more sensitive amongst you, but it sure did make this corrupted soul smirk! From being bubbly and innocent to a complete emotional mess, Costeau plays Peaches perfectly. You really go from swooning to feeling genuine sympathy in a heartbeat. She suffers pretty much every sexual shame you could imagine; raped whilst unconscious, forced enemas, bondage… All that’s missing is being shat on! The film is brilliantly cast and as well as those already mentioned, seeing the likes of Blair Harris (Tropic of Desire) and Sharon Kane (Babylon Blue) really help to elevate the film even more. Of course, the lovely Desireé Costeau is the star of the show (not even her bob cut hairstyle can put you off!) and steals every scene she is in. You will be eating out of her hands! All in all, this is a bizarre little comedy that will make you question your existence because of some of the things you WILL genuinely laugh at. It’s a simple story that’s well written and even though it’s a porno with a feature length running time; you won’t need to press that fast forward button. You’re probably not really going to get off on the action, but it’s definitely “interesting” to say the very least. The ironic thing is, de Renzy is capable of much seedier and sinister delights! There’s a reason why this film is a classic. There’s a reason why most consider this de Renzy’s greatest film.

A wonderful film like this deserves the gold star treatment and golly gosh has Vinegar Syndrome done just that! Restored fully uncut in 2k from 35mm elements, the film looks and sounds fantastic. Of course, there’s some minor damage here and there, but it’s only there if you are actively looking for it just to bitch on forums. Not only does the film look and sound wonderful, but there’s some great special features too. There’s a rare interview with Alex de Renzy himself in which he talks about the film, his career and those he had the pleasure to work with. There’s also an interview with film historian Dr. Ted Mcilvenna, founder of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality which gives us more of an insight in to the prolific de Renzy and a bit of a dick tease regarding multiple unedited documentaries from the great director. Aside from those two wonderful interviews, there are also trailers for Pretty Peaches 2, Femmes de Sade and Baby Face 2. As you can tell, it’s a wonderful release and a must own.

Pretty Peaches is available as a stand alone DVD or part of a limited edition Pretty Peaches Blu-ray as well as being available on Exploitation.tv


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