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TEENAGE TWINS COLLECTION: THE EARLY FILMS OF CARTER STEVENS VOL. 2 (1976-1977)
Published by David Carter on 2012/8/21 (2635 reads)
Directed by Carter Stevens
Review by David Carter
Released by After Hours Cinema
Running Time: 163 minutes
Rating: Not Rated (Rated X)
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Mono English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Interviews and commentary by Carter Stevens
Trailer Online: No
Short Version: Some of the porn pioneer’s best
Since if you can’t be “good,” you should at least be good at it, we here at Film Fanaddict have become dirty movie experts over the years. While it’s good work if you can get it, it does have a downside: specifically, it takes a lot of work to surprise or impress us when it comes to “adults only” cinema. A recent release that definitely falls into that latter category is After Hours Cinema’s TEENAGE TWINS COLLECTION, the second in their retrospectives on the early films of Carter Stevens. Stevens is a rare commodity – a filmmaker from the “porno chic” period that is both A) alive and B) eager to discuss his experiences working in the weird, wild world that was the New York porn scene in the seventies. It doesn’t hurt matters that Stevens was an innovative filmmaker both in terms of subject matter and artistic direction, and the three films in this collection are his most famous and infamous features.
Let’s first take a look at the film that lends its name to the collection: TEENAGE TWINS. Stevens’ film has perhaps the most memorable gimmick of all time: its two female leads are real-life twin sisters Brook and Taylor Young. Consensual incest was a common theme in the early seventies, but it is generally accepted that TEENAGE TWINS was the first (and, for a long time, only) film to show the real deal. It’s hard to imagine that you’d need anything else to sell the film, but Stevens went the extra mile and gave the film an interesting, if bizarre, plot. The girls’ stepfather and his collaborators are searching for the ancient occult text the Necronomicon (yes, the same one from HP Lovecraft’s books and THE EVIL DEAD) to unlock the secret to eternal life. They eventually find it and, as you’d probably expect, the necessary spells involve a lot of incest, real and fictional.
If TEENAGE TWINS had been the only film Stevens made, he’d still be considered an important figure of the porno chic era. However, it was actually the film he made just before that – ROLLER BABIES – that is considered his best. A sci-fi porno, ROLLERBABIES uses the “future without sex” premise six years before Rinse Dream’s more famous CAFÉ FLESH, a fact often omitted from the praise heaped on that film. Sherman Frobish is a television producer tasked with filling the airwaves with sex to distract the populace from attempting to engage in it on their own. His magnum opus is a game show featuring – you guessed it – sex on roller skates. Stevens was highly praised upon the film’s release for making a watchable and entertaining film on the cheap. While other filmmakers were using the genre’s popularity for more elaborate films, Stevens was learning how to do more with less. The film is certainly dated, but charmingly so.
Speaking of dated, our final film is another seminal work: PUNK ROCK. Designed to cash in on the musical revolution of the same name, PUNK ROCK was released in hard and soft versions and has become a cult classic for punkers and porners alike. Stevens graphs the well-worn porn plot device of a private detective on a case onto the scene at Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs, and the film features performances by little-known punkers Elda and the Stiletto. It’s more private dick than punk rock, but the overlap between the seedy New York underbelly of porn and the seedy New York underbelly of punk make it an interesting historical piece. Look for a brief appearance by Robert Kerman, a man whose contribution to the cinema of the seventies and eighties could fill several volumes.
Carter Stevens is all over this collection, both in interviews and commentary tracks, making this a must-have for those of you aspiring to become dirty movie experts yourselves. Stevens also approved the restoration of the prints – they aren’t perfect, but they are light years better than any other version of these films and excellent given the films’ vintages. Stevens was a porn pioneer, carving out a memorable career using a fraction of the budgets his competitors had, and it’s nice to see his career getting the due respect it deserves. After Hours should be commended for once again releasing a trio of essential films in an attractive and affordable collection.
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