The Films (2.5/5)
Vinegar Syndrome has upgraded its most popular Peekarama double feature to Blu-ray. It’s not hard to see why the movie caught on with Vinegar Syndrome’s audience - while neither Candy movie is a masterpiece of adult cinema, they’re both charmingly goofy and feature a murderers’ row of ‘70s adult stars.
The Erotic Adventures of Candy’s opening credits state that the screenplay is an adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide, but it’s actually Terry Southern’s raunchy Candide riff Candy that the movie is paying homage to/blatantly stealing from. The movie begins with director Gail Palmer turning to the camera, introducing herself and telling us a little bit about the movie we’re about to see - it’s a cute gimmick, and I wish more adult movies tried it, though I learned afterwards that this is because adult director Bob Chinn actually helmed most or all of both movies, and putting porn actress Palmer front and center was a marketing angle.
However the auteurship of these movies should be divvied up, the filmmakers succeed in making an adult movie whose disarming lightheartedness works even when the comedy is groan-inducing. As with Southern’s heroine, Candy (Carol Connors) is an innocent whose curiosity about sex leads her to be deflowered by her family’s gardener, Manuel (Don Fernando), before embarking on a sexual journey that ends at an orgy presided over by a Hare Krishna (Paul Thomas). It’s a premise that has been done a million times in adult movies - my wife, who watched the first half of the double feature with me, asked if there are any porn movies about smart girls. Still, Connors is a very likable leading lady, the sex scenes are better than average for the time, and appearances by adult stars like Georgina Spelvin, John Leslie and John Holmes make The Erotic Adventures of Candy a crowd-pleaser for fans of ‘70s adult film.
The sequel, Candy Goes to Hollywood, was shot close enough to the original for the filmmakers to include an extended teaser in the credits for the first movie, like Back to the Future II. The second movie begins with a shot stolen from Singin’ in the Rain (adult filmmakers in the ‘70s were awfully blase about copyright laws) before cutting to present-day Hollywood, where Candy arrives in the hope of becoming a star. It’s easy to guess what happens next, as meetings with agents and producers turn into casting couch sessions. The highlights of the movie are two shamelessly corny porn parodies. In one sequence, Candy appears on The Dong Show, a talent show hosted by Chuck Bareass (Richard Pacheco); punk singer Wendy O. Williams makes a cameo appearance, and her hidden talent made me wonder if Trey Parker and Matt Stone had ever seen this (you’ll know what I mean when you see it). The other is Gary Grime as Johnny Farson, the host of The Last Night Show, who invites Candy to a proper Hollywood orgy (one of the guests is Desiree Cousteau, who had her own Candide-esque odyssey in Pretty Peaches). Again, the comedy is shamelessly broad, but it’s so cheerfully silly that you can’t help but smile.
Both films were scanned and restored in 2K from the original 35mm camera negatives - clarity, detail, contrast and color are all strong throughout. While both transfers feature scratches and other occasional print damage, it’s the kind that adds a pleasingly retro feel to the presentation and never becomes distracting. The DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono audio is clear throughout both movies - I especially appreciated how good the “Staying Alive” parody that pops up repeatedly in Candy Goes to Hollywood sounded.
Only theatrical trailers are included for both films.
As this Blu-ray doesn’t offer any new special features, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a double dip, but if you’re a big fan of the movies and want them in the best presentation available, you won’t be disappointed. For newcomers who like their porn crossed with goofy comedy, the disc is highly recommended.