Wednesday, November 6, 2013

THE BLUE HOUR (Vinegar Syndrome): A Triple Sexploitation Threat

It’s no secret by now that I feel like the Vinegar Syndrome can do no wrong. Each release tests its viewer whether it is a sexual charged look down exploitation lane or an under-produced, never recognized work of abject horror, the Syndrome is doing right by the lesser films in dire need of preservation, proper release and, above all things, an audience. That brings us to today’s look into sexploitation history from the mid 60’s and early 70’s. We’re talking about the Vinegar Syndrome release of The Blue Hour and accompanying films, One Naked night and Three in a Towel.

The focus of this two disc DVD set is The Blue Hour from 1971. This is a prime example of exploitation cinema preservation featuring a very nice looking 2K transfer with all the grain you’ve come to love from this period in cinema history. This disc, as with many V.S. releases is feature light, but priced so that you feel like you’re still getting a bargain.

The Blue Hour Synopsis from V.S:

The Blue Hour tells the story of Tanya, a young woman with a mysterious past who finds herself trapped in a sexual Hell in Los Angeles.

This release looks beautiful. It’s the kind of release you might expect on Blu-ray from the Syndrome, but may not have the stature or additional materials to warrant such a release. The actual tale is a familiar story to most exploitation junkies. During or just after a time of complete sexual revolution, how do you get yourself out of the meat packaging especially after a seemingly traumatic experience that has turned every sexual encounter into a mixed bag of pleasure and shocking, debauched memory? While it isn’t heavy on the violence, it is chock-full of stings and sensationalistic camera work that make The Blue Hour the road map for sexploitation-lite. This isn’t the brutal late 70’s fare you’ve seen during the Rape-Revenge era.

The other two films in this release, One Naked Night and Three in a Towel come on the second disc in the collection. Both of these movies are from the 1960’s, One Naked Night is B&W while Three in a Towel is in color (using some very avant-garde filming techniques to achieve some trippy, psychedelic sexual experiences.

From V.S. on One Naked Night and Three in a Towel:

One Naked Night follows the life of a young woman who is trying to avoid falling into the same trap that led to her mother’s suicide: prostitution.

Three in a Towel is a San Francisco lensed underground oddity chock full of voluptuous hippie chicks.

One Naked Night follows like a Reefer Madness cautionary tale of morality while allowing for some sexy scenes to tease the viewer. It’s a story that you’ll feel familiar with and shooting style in the same vain as many of the prominent moral warnings of the day. This is a good watch, but nothing that will shock the sort of audience who would buy The Blue Hour disc.

Three in a Towel truly plays out like an underground hippie flick with naked bodies flailing all around and some interesting choices of exposure. This is 66 minutes of 1969 happening on screen with really real women rather than the porno-chic that would arrive shortly thereafter. Imagine the kind of filmmaking you might expect from the Manson family if they kept to a non-violent path.

If you’re a fan of the previous sexploitation release put out by Vinegar Syndrome than this will be right up your ally. It’s a nice edition of three films you most likely haven’t laid your eyeballs on, looking as good as you’ll find them. There’s almost a story in the pairing of these three films; variations on the aftermath and lead up to the free love movement and the revolution against sexual repression (including the backlash shortly after). That’s if you want to be an egghead about the whole release and not simply the turned on lover of gorgeous naked bodies rolling across the celluloid (preserved and stunning).


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