"The Night Bird"
The Film (2.5/5)
Southside is an Italian hawker on the streets of New York City. He's also part of a unprogressive small gang that rivals another gang labeled the Spics and while Southside's gang eagerly trash talks about getting back at the Hispanic rivals and look to stick their Italian sausage into any hot broad off the street, copulating in a friendly associate's isolated garage, Southside desperately dreams to do more with his life than just be a brute thug and an illegal jewelry street-seller; he wants to learn how to dance. Also from the streets of NYC is Maggie, a beautiful, young dancer who owns an underground disco sex club named The Night Bird where many patrons don't just work up a sweat from their nifty dance moves, but also in the heat of uninhibited passions. When Southside's gang is killed from a planted improvised explosive device underneath the tabletop of one of Southside's favorite bars, the former Big Apple con and criminal finds a moment of relieving solace at The Night Bird when introduced by a mutual friend and in a time of despair, Maggie comes to his aid, teaching him how to dance with and without his clothes on.
The first feature of this Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama Big 2 Unit Show release comes from the debut vision of first time writer-director Felix Daniels. Daniels' 1977 discotheque of debauchery has been restored and lands on a new DVD that resembles something like a time capsule withholding the contents of a long dead music genre that suddenly breathes new life into a reminiscing geezer or compounds confusion and wonder into a naive millennial. There are dance moves in "The Night Bird" that haven't been used in a better part of 30 years, though the funky moves of "The Night Bird" are no razor-sharp whips and dips like John Travolta spun in "Saturday Night Fever." However, not everything has changed from 40 years ago as sex, especially in adult films, remains just as filthy and pleasureful as if the dirty deed hasn't changed it's standards ever.
Marc Valentine stars in a debut role as Southside, thick with a Rocky Balboa-like accent, and he performs alongside co-star, the Natasha Lyonne lookalike, Christie Ford, with sunken eyes and pole wrapping lips. The "Debbie Does Dallas" star has a great body and a sleaze to match when schlepping through the roster of guys lacking vigor, even with Marc Valentine. A missed opportunity to flesh out on some good flesh-on-flesh involved a claustrophobic backseat-threesome with the dark features of an inviting deposition sold convincingly by American Indian Beth Anna, known as Sweet Lips in the film, being tag teamed by "House of de Sade's" Michael Ronds and, another "Debbie Does Dallas" star, David Morris. What should have been a scene of confined naughtiness turns annoyingly obscured as Daniele's couldn't master the necessary angles, but a saving grace arises when Beth Anna slithers between the two front seats, unbuckles Valentine's pants, and begins to tongue whip his crotch through her sweet lips. Rounding out the cast are names that went further into their industrious careers such as Sharon Mitchell, Hershel Savage, and, a cult exploitation favorite, Robert Kerman ("Cannibal Holocaust," "Cannibal Ferox").
"The Night Bird" has potential. With a setting such as New York City, the city that never sleeps showcases street life and has an abundance of ambitious scenes for a low-rent porn. Coherently, the story's a bit of a hot mess with no focal point. The title suggests the subject revolves around the sexy disco club, The Night Bird, but Daniele's maintains a beefy "West Side Story" approach between Southside's gang and the Spics, whom, by the way, never make an appearance in the 75 minute runtime. Gang war and hooligan mischiefs overtakes the thin storyline and the disco club is, well, just present to fill the sex scene quota necessary to be a hardcore feature where thrusting, pumping, and grinding out numbers the swinging 1970s groove moves such as The Hustle and The Bump Dance. "The Night Bird" suffers from Daniele's turbulent editing style that skims across conveying a scene properly; off camera dialogue, millisecond scenes, and flashback moments make up the director's unorganized editing technique toolbox.
"The Night of the Spanish Fly"
The Film (2/5)
Just when you thought it was safe to put a juicy, hot wiener in your mouth. A shipment of Go Go Wiener hotdogs are contaminated with the powerful aphrodisiac known as Spanish Fly and has evaded the New York City recall, scattering a few packs across the metro area. Any female who chomps down on a Go Go footlong turns into a crazed, sexual maniac, anxious to get their pork and beef byproduct greasy hands all over any hard erection at arms length. Forget the ketchup and the mustard, no condiments are necessary when these amped up women can produce their own salty and creamy topping for their hotdog delicacy.
"The Night of the Spanish Fly" is the 1976 debut, and single credited, feature directed by Bill Mason. Majority of classic adult films are heavily campy, but Bill Mason's sleazy meat between the buns caper takes point at being cheesy and trashy. "The Night of the Spanish Fly" plot isn't an A to Z narrative and, instead, breaks up the sex segments by narrating archetype industry scenarios: delivery guy makes it with a spinster, sailor picks up two stowaway immigrants, etc. No fair amount of time is wasted on setting up a scene that quickly turns animalistic after a few nibbles on wiener that transitions to nibbling on a veiny, fleshy, less leathery, wiener.
Sharing the same popularity status as their director Bob Mason, the cast has very little star power with a lineup consisting of many one time wonders to provide backup to the film's oddball plot. Day Jason kicks off the first scene with a sedative and impotent male performer portraying a food delivery guy; in fact, all of the male performers lack vigorous gusto by just laying back and sinking into the warm wetness that is their partner's mouths. Contrary to their counterparts, the female roster provides a goldmine of fellatio in a strong point of Mason's close shot style. Seeing Angel Barrett, Chickie Love, and Jennifer Jordan work erotically their lips and tongues around shafts is a saving grace for a film about aphrodisiac-inducing frankfurters. Three other female performers stand out amongst the rest with two of three being actually sisters. The Pachucho Sisters, characterized as Rite and Juanita, get coy with Ed "The Rod" Marshall" during a mediocre trio, but the sisters' wield wicked tongues that flicker to-and-fro across "The Rod's" rod in a battle of licks. The third gal is Juliet Graham, perhaps the most recognizable face in the bunch being the Queen of Hearts in the x-rated adaptation "Alice in Wonderland." Her frame rivals that of Bettie Page, with jettison ribs, broad shoulders, and a cute smile, but her dirty blond hair and slimmer figure add a differential tease to her that separates her from the others.
Putting a wiener between two buns is easy, but not too enjoyable when the accounts surrounding repetitive, dull, and unfunny. Quirky radio news snippets in between scenes and in the middle of hardcore action try attempt to liven up the stagnant copulating lazily brought upon by the male performers with a number of them sporting the epitome of caterpillar mustaches. Angel Barrett, Juliet Graham, even the Pachucho Sisters leap at being the aggressors who take the lead, manhandling male manhood in a feast or famine frenzy, and practically put on a solo act with a realistic mannequin. The scene setups are nothing spectacular and, in fact, are hastily strewn through with quick glances of momentary comedy lightly peppered in between and amid the action. Comedy that's dated and tired consisting of wacky voiceovers, satire songs, and running jokes that just run too far.
Vinegar Syndromes restore the NYC's sleaziest of the sleaze, "The Night Bird" and "Night of the Spanish Fly," through their scanned in 2k technology from the 35mm negatives and present both in their original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. "The Night Bird" has a slight, if not minor, contrast exposure issue that affects the right portion of a number of scenes are in a haze of a grayish-white that lingers, like a distortion in an vintage image, and blacks are a bit over-the-top, especially in the more enticing backseat bumping with Sweet Lips. The colors levels are relatively good, slightly blunt without that pop affect. Distortions are kept minimal, transferred over from the original source material and are insignificant. "The Night of the Spanish Fly," on the other hand, has to be one of the better transfers I've seen from the Peekarama Big 2 Unit showcases. Vibrant, natural coloring that's well even keeled is the highlight here above the content and creates a sheer contrasts it's accompanying feature. Chickie Love's breasts look absolutely soft and palpable during her scene that the image sticks of her breasts being squeezes embodies the very definition of the phrase a "sight for sore eyes."
A Dolby Digital mono mix is par for most of these types of films. There are no real distortions including pops, hisses, or scratches amongst the tracks. Soundtracks, such as the funky uptempo tunes by Dickie Long and The Splendid Members in Bill Mason's film, sound as good as possible with low fidelity recordings that undercut the potential, but their catchiness does convey and, surprisingly, a quality bitrate of Waylon Jennings' "Fresco Depot" makes a worthy and welcoming appearance in a moment of passion in "Night of the Spanish Fly." Dialogue is robust and upfront with only some fuzziness.
The only bonus material are the release are each film's respective trailer.
Oscar Meyer, Ballpark Franks, Hebrew National. These famous footlong brands have nothing on Go Go Wieners when considering their laced with sexually arousing contamination, but other than that stimulating beefiness, neither film lavishes above mediocre succulent embrace in an incoherent backdrop. Shame that neither director has a larger body of work; Felix Danieles had brief rock hardening moments and to see him grow in the industry would have been something to witness whereas Bill Mason had a knack for getting the image right when working the knob and that's a defining directorial quality. Sadly, neither director continues and either way, Vinegar Syndrome provides, again, the top-notch restoration, but these two New York City improprieties become lost despite some self worth.