Roberta Findlay is responsible for both features, The Altar of Lust and Angel on Fire. Though they are truly unique tales each is exemplifies a strong story telling, high production value on film; both releases are scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm camera negatives and theatrical prints respectively. While we've been branching out into more exploitation and adult cinema in the last year, this may be an exception to that, at least wholesale. While Robert Findlay created a slew of pornographic pictures, she actually diverged into our beloved horror genre. Yes, you've seen her movies. The Blood Sisters. Prime Evil. Lurkers (which just saw a double feature release with Die Sister Die). These are not unknown to the fans of late 80's horror. While the break into horror features seems like it was not entirely of free will Findlay having directed a film about the suicide of a real life porno actress in Shauna: Every Man's Fantasy, we can be glad she broke into one of our genres of choice for a short while. She had nearly twenty years of the sexy celluloid before crossing over ultimately ending her run in 1989.
THE ALTAR OF LUST
Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome:
A psychiatrist probes deep into the erotic traumas experienced by a young woman who has turned to lesbianism.
Things you absolutely must watch out for in this first half of the double feature. Harry Reems is one hairy motherfucker. You've seen him at his hairiest and in this picture he actually looks to have trimmed up even forgoing his signature stache, but rest assured he wouldn't leave it all behind. Harry's ass crack actually stands out against his pail white buttocks in a staggering contrast that creates moments of real comedy in otherwise well filmed, enjoyable hardcore scenes.
Altar feels light on the hardcore. That is not to say that there isn't an abundance of carnal knowledge and penetration, but this is lighthearted. It's softer. Friendlier. Gentler. Even emotional at times focusing on the feelings of both the psychological patient and Reems' characters hurt feelings as he is rejected by his lover for another woman. It's near heartbreaking to watch Reems run away from a threesome. At least his ass crack makes with the laughs to lighten up the mood.
This is the kind movie that can only be described as a sign of the times. A woman wants to cure her lesbianism so she goes to a doctor. Doesn't quite fit with today's sense of sexuality, but it makes for a dated porno movie that provides an abundance of laughs. At least it's ultimately moral, especially in some of the psychologist's responses to his patient's view of lesbianism.
ANGEL ON FIRE
Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome:
After dumping his pregnant girlfriend, an arrogant chauvinist is hit by a van and reincarnated as a woman.
For as lighthearted as Altar feels once you get over Reems' ass and the potential for modern faux pas with its dated view of lesbianism (or at least it conveys a time that can only be described as "back in the day", angel is a serious tale of moral repercussion. It is a hardcore picture first and foremost, with penetration clearly in play bordering on a roughie. Is Jamie Gillis typecast as a down and dirtie cocksman? Yep. That's the role he plays best in these mid 70's romps.
Ultimately this is a tremendous picture with some fabulous soft bodies, tremendous blow jobs that last forever and angelic orgasms that can only be described as blasphemous. I mean actually watching angels fuck in heaven... that's unique. What will astound the casual adult film viewer is that Angel on Fire tries to end itself on a moral note. It is not an altogether cheerful ending featuring an angry and abusive Gillis in one of his best acting roles (he's just not a cock and two legs ya know). Maybe it's an appropriate let down after such a raucous good time under the rain coat.
Angel on Fire is my favorite of the two releases partially because I'm ever a fan of Gillis' work as the roving, filthy, naughty but also because it's a better story. It has multiple settings and clear start and finish providing a moral tale throughout.