“My Sinful Life”
The Film (2/5)
Under the long time sexually abusive thumb of her adopted parents, Jill accepts their lust for her as normal life behavior and being already sexually active at such a young age, any other promiscuous activity would be insignificant in comparison. She spills the story of her and her adopted brother Dan’s incest by adoption to her unfazed aunt Vickie, whom Jill stays with while attending school in the San Francisco area. Jill eventually meets Laurie, a college student who shows Jill around campus, sparking an immediate friendship between the two co-eds. Laurie introduces Jill to Zsa Zsa, a brothel Madam capable of running a swanky house of prostitution where Laurie and other sex workers can earn highly fashionable clothes amongst other valuable objects. While Jill begins her lustrous career as a working girl, Dan unexpectedly arrives at Vickie’s doorstep where more incest by adoption behavior takes place. Soon, Dan and Vickie end up working for Madam Zsa Zsa while Jill continues her ongoing pursuit to discover the truth of her maternal mother, but the truth may be closer than she realizes.
Under his usual moniker of Troy Benny, “My Sinful Life” director Carlos Tobalina exploits the tastes of the forbidden fruit, diving without caution into a pool of casual incest and into on how a young co-ed could earn a lot of fast money – a foretelling outlook of sorts that’s paralleled in the modern lives of adult performers such as with Duke University’s Knox or Oregon University’s Kendra Sunderland. The incest taboo train has ran rampant before under the direction of Tobalina, startlingly unpremeditated within a previous film “Lust Inferno” starring William Margold as a corrupt televangelist getting the shock of his life when one of his underage sexually paid conquests ends up being his own daughter. Tobalina twists the shocking reveal around on it’s head the following year in the 1983 film “My Sinful Life” by not only involving the biological parents of protagonist Jill, played by the actress known only by as Danielle, unbeknownst to them but also by Jill’s adoptive parents who intentionally set out to make hot, hot love to their adopted children.
Does Tobalina successfully orchestrate upon the unmentionable nature of the characters? To put it simply and bluntly, no. The plot and it’s players are significantly downplayed with a nonchalant attitude about all the depravities they just dispersed. Tom Byron’s Dan character sticks it to just about all the female leads from his adoptive mother (Rita Ricardo), to related by adoption sister Jill, and to his may or may not be blood aunt Vickie (a phenomenally sexual aura heavy D.J. Cone). Don’t know how incest lost the immorality and degeneracy appearance that’s always been associated with it, but somehow Tobalina found a slither of a path to achieve just that by being biased-ly focused and strict on the carnal side of human desires that’s so dominantly prevalent in the adult industry.
Is “My Sinful Life” a technically well constructed film? Far from it. Tobalina’s trademarks are splayed throughout to put to rest any doubt of his involvement; trademarks from his slow motion, replayed money shots to his invariability to keep the lens in focus and from the constant zooming in and out are among his stylish characteristics and flaws. His junky filming equipment spares no mercy with momentary damage throughout the duration and the equipment even makes an on screen appearance during the threesome with special guest star Jamie Gillis being tag teamed by Danielle and a lovely Brooke Fields. This only goes to show the quick and disoriented of cheap production from Diamond Films and Carlos Tobalina.
Of course, you can’t have a Tobalina film without a touch of his indelicate farcical humor. The Germany-born, well-endowed Helga Sven as madam Zsa Zsa does a spot on impersonation of Zsa Zsa Gabor or, in fact, the entire Gabor family. In the film’s credits as an interesting sidebar fact, Sven is even credited as Helga Gabor. There’s also a Burt Reynolds lookalike within the confines of an elderly and hairy Burt Rommer, who unfortunately enough, can’t act as an actor and can’t perform as an adult actor. Rommer really had no business being in the film aside from his Burt Reyond’s getup to be the love interest of madam Zsa Zsa. Tobalina would have been better off casting another Gabor, Sasha Gabor that is, as a Reynold’s lookalike, eventually doing so in his 1986 “Super Sex.” Tobalina also loves cameos, briefly making his impact as a lawyer working, through the payment of money and (off screen) quickies, to reunite Jill and her biological mother.
“Las Vegas Girls”
The Film (1/5)
A wealthy Texas oil tycoon’s daughter has runaway to the sin city of Las Vegas where under the brilliant casino lights she turns tricks for a living and hasn’t connected with her parents. Concerned for their daughter’s wellbeing, the millionaire employs two New York City private detectives, Joyce and Dan, to rifle through the strip clubs, the brothels, and the trick-turning bars to track down his daughter and bring her home or at least relay the message that she’s safe. When Joyce and Dan arrive, they richly immerse themselves into erotic adventures, participating in orgy parties, and partaking in the brothel merchandise to get a taste on how to anticipate the movements of their well paid target.
The second feature on this double bill Peekarama release doesn’t get much better than “My Sinful Life.” “Las Vegas Girls” has a plot thinner than a sheet of parchment paper that loses much of the pursuit motivation as soon as Joyce (Karen Hall) and Dan (Dan Boulder) arrive in town. Released the same year as “My Sinful Life,” “Las Vegas Girls” misguiding attempt to develop a plot goes to the waste side after nearly the first 20 minutes of building one up . From then on, Joyce and Dan are snared in the City’s seductiveness web as Dan plows through hookers and Joyce pleases herself.
The waste of the penthouse location that looks over the Vegas’s casino and marquee lights barely describes the shoddy production. This grand penthouse setting had large pane windows, a Jacuzzi tub, and the space to fill the orgy participants 20 times over - ideal for a shag party. Yet, the orgy by the Jacuzzi scene had two couples, out of the four that were there before the scene, committing very briefly from foreplay to intercourse while Dan and Joyce sat naked and watched; before you know it, Dan and Joyce pushes everybody out the door without any of their guests finishing off. To further add insult to injury toward the production, members of the cast kept purposefully glancing over at the camera as if to receive direction, dissipating the fantasy and washing away any kind of credibility.
Dan Boulder and Karen Hall are the centerpieces through the entirety, mingling here and mingling there amongst various sex workers, but their on-screen chemistry doesn't pair well, even when the two do hook up in the grand finale. The way Boulder carries himself reminds me of a young Quentin Tarantino. He's tall and lanky with a square noggin and speaks with a bit of a sarcastic lisp. To beautify Boulder's averageness and that godawful lisp, Karen Hall absolutely looks stunning with a perky rack, nice bottom, and a body to yearn toward, yet her acting could be mistaken for The Robot in "Lost in Space." She mechanically goes her repertoire of easy phrases that Boulder more naturally can play off. The pair have only performed in one other film, another Carlos Tobalina production entitled "Interlude of Lust" a couple of years prior.
Audio / Video (3.5/5)
Vinegar Syndrome's Peekarama Carlos Tabalina double dipper is presented in a restored 2k scan on both the 35mm original camera negatives. The features on the anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 original aspect ratio look, for the most part, super fine with vivid coloring, natural flesh tones, meticulous details, and leveled blacks. I say for the most part because Tobalina incidentally contributed much of the source damage from his rubbish camera equipment, which I mentioned above. However, I did notice that the very final dialogue scene between "Las Vegas Girls's" Dan Boulder and Karen Hall didn't make the 2k restoration, reverting back the viewing of 35mm attributes.
The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono mix does the job with mostly clearing the tracks of noise. A few issues with the "My Sinful Life" were noticed such as the dialogue volume wasn't quite in the forefront, leaving the audio balance in question. There's also some slight dialogue hissing that slurs words, but doesn't impact the perceptible quality. Aside from some scene transitioning pops, "Las Vegas Girls" suffers mainly from humming contributed by all of Vegas magnetic energy, not necessarily a Vinegar Syndrome issue. After three decades and some change and considering whose hands these films have been through, Vinegar Syndrome, once again, did an amazing restoration.
Extras include the original theatrical trailers for both films.
In my opinion, "My Sinful Life" and "Las Vegas Girls" are not the greatest efforts from director Carlos Tobalina. His infatuation with incest, Burt Reynolds, and witless comedy doesn't jazz up either feature, mucking up professionally and technically the "action" scenes. Vinegar Syndrome's restorative work shines through and have really set the bar on reviving retro porn to it's fullest and intended nature; however, "My Sinful Life" and "Las Vegas Girls" are just not the golden oldies we'd hoped for when a film receives a King's restoration. Recommended for an appreciation in restoration.