The title is taken from Kenneth Anger's groundbreaking book which took tabloid legends about Tinseltown and magnified them entertainlngly. Already having inspired a rather silly soft-core era film (of 1972), this epic-length (but intimate in content) Dana Vespoli feature held my attention, but did not involve me in the heroine's plight.
Sovereign Syre does a fine job in the central role of an innocent among sharks. Much of what happens to her is a cliché, but brought up to date with intimations of BDSM and other kinks, though avoiding the gonzo experiments of other Vespoli efforts for the Evil Angel label (see: her FLUID series).
She's victimized by (not in order of importance) a plastic surgeon (reliable Steven St. Croix) who orders her to "get a new face" (she resists his insistence on a boob job, having benefited in her real-life career by refraining) in his quest for perfection; James Deen, an archetype of the "love 'em and leave 'em" big star; and the oddball team of a doctor played by Ramon Nomar and his stunning wife Valentina Nappi (duo represent the European injection into the cast) who tag-team the poor girl into sexual exhaustion. Ryan Driller gets his licks in (no pun please) as I guess a George Reeves styled character, almost de rigeur for these BLACK DAHLIA style melodramas.
Vespoli's balance of lengthy sex vignettes (a requirement for today's audience) and narrative leaves many of the main characters sketchy or near-blanks, perhaps why I never sunk my teeth into the unfolding story. Most interesting element is the strange, almost Manson-esque, family created when Syre moves in as a sub with St. Croix and his sexually wild wife Dana DeArmond (one of porn's least inhibited performers -check out her penchant for jamming one of her own hands down her throat nonchalantly during a sex scene) and his son Michael Vegas. This leads to the expected downer of an ending, similar to that of many soft-core exposes of the '60s.
Picture unfolds in flashbacks as Syre is interviewed by cop JM Darling (who may or may not be the Joshua Darling who works on the crew of Dana's and other lesbian videos), acquitting himself well in a big, no-nonsense, non-sex role. Film's structure is intriguing and allows Dana, using the famous novelistic ploy of "the unreliable narrator", to pull off a big, surprise twist.
Tech credits are okay, but overall the feature comes to more closely resemble (for budgetary reasons) a Jules Jordan glamorous extravaganza (i.e., wall to wall sex in a mansion) than a real, lots of locations and set-ups movie.
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