The Film (2.5/5)
Sensual Encounters of Every Kind starts very promisingly, with voiceover explaining that, three thousand years ago, a group of alchemist and “a horny oracle” created a magic talisman that would make people fall madly in lust with the person wearing it. The catches are that the talisman only works once per person and can also bring bad luck to those who fall under its spell. By this point, I was already on board with the movie. Would this sci-fi spoof follow the talisman, like the Loch-Nar from Heavy Metal, as it journeys across time and space, punishing those who came into contact with it for their sexual hubris?
Sadly, director Richard Kantner (as Ramsey Karson) disregards this premise almost immediately - the talisman does connect the various sexual scenes in the movie, but only in a cursory way. The only segment that tries to live up to the notion of an enchanting sex talisman is the first, which is also its most dated and problematic. After Leslie Bovee’s character is given the talisman at a party, she’s soon raped by her three gardeners. The scene starts with a protracted struggle until, of course, she starts to like it. There’s nothing inherently unhealthy or misogynist about rape fantasies, but this one feels particularly leering and uncomfortable, and I got the feeling that the whole sex talisman business was a pretense for this scene, because the movie loses interest in it soon after.
The other vignettes are standard gentleman’s magazine fare - a coach (John Leslie) is seduced by two students (Dorothy LeMay and Lori Blue), a senator (Turk Lyon) uses sex toys on his secretary (Serena), and so forth. On the plus side, the performers are likable and enthusiastic, and Kantner at least livens things up with some creative blocking and camera placement during the sex scenes. None of the sex here re-invents the real, but unlike a lot of the perfunctorily shot and staged adult product from the late ‘70s, it feels like everyone involved wanted to make a fun, sexy movie, and they succeed surprisingly often. There’s even a slow motion sequence that would be weirdly mesmerizing even if there weren’t naked people involved.
Still, I can’t help but wonder about the movie that could have been. Under what circumstances was the talisman forged? We know there were alchemists and at least one horny oracle involved, but for what purpose? Was this an act of malice or whimsy? I can’t help but wonder about the sequel the ending promises that we never got and imagine an alternate universe where this is the inauspicious beginning of an expanded Sensual Encounters universe.
While Vinegar Syndrome’s typically high standards are no surprise at this point, a disc like this one reminds of how much care they put into even the most forgotten titles. Restored in 2K from the original 35mm negative, Sensual Encounters of Every Kind is remarkably free of signs of aging or print damage (there are just enough specks and scratches to give it a pleasanty filmic quality). Colors, contrast and skin tones are strong throughout, and even for a DVD, it’s a remarkably detailed transfer. The DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono audio is clear throughout.
There’s only one extra, but it’s a good one, an audio interview with actor Jon Martin, who has a small role in the film. Martin talks generally about his experiences in the adult industry; he’s a good, frank storyteller who doesn’t shy away from saying what he really thinks about the people he worked with.
While Sensual Encounters of Every Kind isn’t any kind of high water mark for the genre, it’s fun enough for fans of vintage adult movies to give it a try, particularly given Vinegar Syndrome’s unsurprisingly strong presentation of the movie.