The Film: 3.5/5
By day, Bob (Mike Horner) and Ted (Jake Scott) are lawyers. By night, they’re ungrateful husbands. Twenty-four hours a day, seven hours a week, they’re perennially unsatisfied horn dogs who complain about the lack of bedroom action they get from their gorgeous respective wives Cindy (Krista Lane) and Julie (Erica Boyer). At first the wives are unaware of their significant others’ extracurricular sexual exploits, but after Julie discovers a used condom in the pocket of Ted’s suit jacket and the husbands’ scheme to have a “stealth wife swap” goes awry, the wives plot their revenge. They seize upon the opportunity for some glorious payback when Cindy finds a business card for the Mask Club, a private club where guests can have their every salacious desire fulfilled, in Bob’s pocket (these clowns sure suck when it comes to concealing their infidelities).
Born in England in 1946, Suze Randall was a genuine trailblazer for women in the world of adult entertainment; she was the first female staff photographer employed by both Playboy magazine and its hardcore competitor Hustler, and later in her career shot photo layouts for some of Penthouse’s most beautiful Pets; she runs Suze Network, one of the biggest online providers of adult content; and she was one of the first women to direct pornographic cinema. Randall brought her gift for capturing steamy erotic tableaux from the printed page to the big screen and soon proved to be one of the best filmmakers the porn palaces and adult video stores of the world had ever encountered. She made high class smut for the masses and continues to this day to do what she does better, even though she has essentially retired from the film side of the billion-dollar XXX industry.
Randall often worked with her husband Humphry Knipe, who both wrote several of her feature productions and was credited as the director under the pseudonym Victor Nye, though the amount of authority Knipe commanded on the set is debatable where his wife is concerned. Regardless, 1986’s Unveiled, one of the rare adult features from the latter half of that decade to be shot on film rather than video, is one of their finest cinematic collaborations. The plot Knipe probably scribbled down on a cocktail napkin during Happy Hour could barely support a 15-minute short film and naturally functions as a flimsy foundation on which he and Randall, along with their cinematographer Guido (no last name ever given) concoct a series of elegantly staged and photographed sex scenes with all the trappings audiences demand: graphic insert shots, high volume moaning, milky white discharge, and the dirtiest of dirty talk.
Unveiled wastes no time getting into the action as lawyer Bob engages in a wild afternoon tryst with a prostitute (Patty Petite) while his faithful wife Cindy sits at home awaiting his return from a day at the office. Said office is also where Bob’s fellow attorney-at-law Ted is calmly coercing his lovely secretary (Alex Greco) into an impromptu bout of sweaty sex that is well underway when Ted’s own concerned spouse Julie calls inquiring on his whereabouts. Of course the secretary is expected to take the call mid-bang. Jake Scott only had a few credits in porn to his name when he was cast as Ted, and they were mostly gay films (three of which were directed by future exploitation veteran David DeCoteau), but he brings a sleazy charm to his lascivious lowlife character, as does adult cinema journeyman Horner, who also handles his role as Unveiled’s comic relief with good timing and energy.
The beautiful Krista Lane (who also toyed with a secondary career as a B-movie actress in several Chuck Vincent efforts) and Erica Boyer give Unveiled its passionate charge in the sex-heavy third act set primarily in the Mask Club, but they also get to have each other in the film’s sole lesbian encounter and it’s pretty astounding to behold. The Mask Club is the kind of place where a gentleman customer can get a blowjob while they’re waiting for their drink order and enjoying a comedic stage show (featuring porn goddess Taija Rae and a barely recognizable Horner as mimes whose routine includes a rather lengthy piece of sausage – basically Horner is watching himself during that scene), but the ladies get to join in on the fun. Cindy and Julie don masks before entering the clandestine establishment and set up their cheating hubbies for a hilarious comeuppance.
Despite having a running time of only 75 minutes, Unveiled comes to a dead stop during the Mask Club sequence. But that’s just me expecting a little narrative progression from a damn porno. I’m silly. At least the sex is hot and plentiful and the finale is funny and an appropriate fate for those pathetic wannabe lothario lawyers. The predictable reveal threatens to take the movie into sitcom territory before the big fade, but it’s what the bastards deserve. This time around, the ladies get to have all the fun.
As always, Vinegar Syndrome has gone the extra mile with their DVD release of Unveiled by scanning and restoring the film in 2k resolution using its original 35mm camera negative as a source element. Presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, the transfer is simply a stunner, with a balanced and consistent grain structure and vibrant colors that explode off the screen. Pinks, purples, and blues look the finest. Print damage is minimal and hardly a hindrance to the overall status of the restoration. The English Dolby Digital mono soundtrack features a clear and nuanced showcase of the dialogue and an excellent presentation of the synth score that keeps the music in the background where it belongs and never allows it to overwhelm the rest of the audio mix. Damage and distortion are not a bother at all. No subtitles have been provided.
The supplement bound to be of the greatest interest on this disc is “Mike Horner Unveiled” (14 minutes), a frank and illuminating video interview with the film’s lead actor that covers a lot of background on the production of Unveiled, Horner’s working relationship with Suze Randall, and his personal thoughts regarding some of his co-stars. He also discusses traveling to Europe to make adult films and wrangling extras for the Mask Club sequence at Randall’s behest. Horner is a good-natured interview subject who makes the time fly by with his recollections. The only remaining bonus feature is the original theatrical trailer (3 minutes).
Unveiled is one of the better works of XXX cinema to be made in the 1980’s, a sexy comedy of errors that manages to wrap its slim plot up neatly with a nice bit of comeuppance for its fuck-happy heels. The direction is assured, the cinematography lush and entrancing, and the performances mostly solid. Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD release of this minor gem of Reagan-era raincoat crowd erotica is a definite recommendation for fans of the genre with its first-rate transfer and new retrospective interview with one of its stars.