The Film (2.5/5)
Frustrated with his lack of sexual desires, Peter Allison’s depression forces him to leave behind everything in Los Angeles, from his small business to his busty-blonde wife, and embarks on what he believes will be a suicide-destined journey in hopes to rediscover his sexual appetite. He travels to Las Vegas where he amounts a fortune in gambling winnings, but he returns to where he feels most at home, the state of California. It’s in California where Peter meets Carlos, a light-hearted Hispanic hippie who tries to help with Peter’s problem. Along the path toward recovery, Peter is set up with two sexy ladies associated with Carlos, a kidnapping ordeal that leads to a grisly murder, painting for leisure turned profit, and involved in a brief homosexual experience. Will anything break Peter’s maddening impotence?
Carlos Tobalina busts onto the feature film scene with his first directed picture “Infrasexum,” a 1969 erotic flick of inner turmoil from an era that was still semi-experimenting with nudity and nudity’s reception from the public. If Cinemax was around during this era, Tobalina’s film would have been a prime candidate for Cinemax’s after hours skin film catalogue. Embodied with central narration from Eroff Lynn (not to be confused with “The Adventures of Robin Hood’s” Eroll Flynn) portraying his character, Peter, who struggles with a poor sex drive, “Infrasexum” aims to stray away from a man’s life of normality and into a fantasy world of sex, gambling, and hobby, but the character can’t stimulate his unfulfilled yearnings from which his previous life has drained from him in volatility.
"Infrasexum," in my opinion, is the highlight of Tobalina's sexploitation-adult film career, showcasing numerous and various exotic and flashy locations, experiencing the lifestyles of a bohemian culture, and going against the social grains in heterosexuality and dabbling into homosexuality. From my experience covering Tobalina's adult films, they seemed cheap and slapped together too quickly just to profit solely on the flesh of the actors. Characters in "Infrasexum" are internally struggling and painfully challenged by the temptation of desires and nudity. Eroff Lynn's character has to pull away from desires after coming so close to being all in and, sometimes, his character's scenes go unresolved and that only heightens the problems of his problematic character.
This is where Carlos Tobalina comes to aid the film's sexploitation nature. If Peter can't commit, his friend Carlos (played by Carlos Tobalina himself) will surely step in to fill that man-up role. Tobalina implements himself into his co-written script with Claus Muras and his character is the comic relief, a let-loose bohemian Latino living his life without much consideration until he meets Peter. When Peter meets his friend, Carlos tries feverishly to resolve Peter's issue by setting him up with multiple women. Carlos has a whimsical nature that has him stealing cop cars and smoking tons of weed and Tobalina adds the slapstick style of humor, such as being unable to sit still, over zealous in his sexual performance, and bumming anything he can off of Peter, that lightens up the tone of "Infrasexum" that switches radically from melodrama to gory.
Though certainly more substance in the story, the cinematography quality from William Larrabure and Michael Goritschnig is inexpensive, showing off Tobalina's inexperience in his freshman attempt. The lighting was constantly an issue with the shadow of the camera man always in the shot. Also, Tobalina even acknowledges the camera in a few particular scenes, especially during sex scenes in which he's involved. Though none of the sex scenes are overly hardcore or graphic, most likely simulated, female full frontal nudity is abundant and clear from nearly all the female cast, just like most softcore features, but there are brief moments where Tobalina is able to flash his genitalia, as if a visual message to strike against the censorship boards lack of male nudity use. Props are hilariously used such as obvious fake brick to kill one of two kidnapping thugs that hold Peter for ransom; the other weapon of choice is a thin tree branch to impale their other thug! Another personal favorite prop is the small sea-shell used for lighting up. The sea-shell is blatantly not rigged to smoke weed as it has an open spiral formation and to further more not sell the 420 performance, no smoke is exhaled...ever.
While female nudity doesn't ever go out of style in the Tobalina film, the credits feature two starlet names Marsha Jordan and Sharon Matt. Marsha Jordan plays Peter's well-endowed housewife who prances around their home in a skimpy nightgown. Her "Infrasexum" role only lasts a few minutes as she's in one of two scenes: Jordan in bed and on top of Lynn, placing her mammoth breasts in his face, and pleading with him to take her while the other scene is her calling her mother, worried about Peter's sudden bon voyage and his mental health state. The other actress, Sharon Matt, has equally allotted screen time near the finale as she has miraculously cured Peter's impotence during one of Peter's nude modeling sessions. Neither woman has a major part to play while other starlets, such as on screen lesbians Molli Starkins and Maria Pia, have more screen time and are given more girth to fulfill the sexual nature of the film.
Audio / Video (3.5/5)
Vinegar Syndrome has gorgeously out done themselves with their 2k scan and restoration from the original 35mm print and presented "Infrasexum" in a spectacular 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The natural coloring is executed well and balanced out from the brawny details that actually display Eroff Lynn's elder features, making the scenarios with the aging actor that more awkward. The original print has slight lens flare on the right side during the threesome scene, but nothing major to be concerned. In addition to the original print damage, brief mishandling of camera focusing creates blurry moments which, luckily enough, were insignificant to the story.
The Dolby Digital mono mix is as well as the recording equipment allows it to be with some murkiness to the dialogue audio. However, the tracks make the grade, passing through cleanly enough without too many equipment flaws to hinder the experience.
The only extra featured is the original theatrical trailer.
To be able to witness the building blocks of a director's career is always a fascinating insight into the empire their legacy leaves behind. This is where we see Tobalina's trademark, where men are powerful and hungry for their sexual needs and where women should abide by man and give into man's desires, are plastered with subplots intensified with taboos and terror that's quite alarming for the year 1969. Recommended.