Fantastic Orgy/Champagne Orgy

Director - Carlos Tobalina

Cast - Various

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 1

Distributor - Vinegar Syndrome

Reviewer - Andrew Bemis

Date - 12/28/14

The Films (2.5/5)

 

   Vinegar Syndrome’s newest double feature disc includes two very different selections from the late-’70s filmography of prolific adult filmmaker Carlos Tobalina (as Troy Benny). The first, Fantastic Orgy, is a compilation of scenes and outtakes from his other work, while the second, Champagne Orgy, is exactly that - confined to one location, it’s essentially one long orgy scene that unfolds over the course of 75 minutes. While neither movie ranks among the best adult films of the decade - the first, especially, is literally assembled from Tobalina’s trim bin - they’re not without some interest.

 

   Fantastic Orgy is admirable, at least, as a testament to the skill adult and other low-budget filmmakers have shown for getting the most out of everything they shoot. Some of the scenes assembled here show obvious technical issues that presumably kept them out of the features they were shot for. Others, I assume, were cut for their lackluster performances. It’s not a “Greatest Hits” as much as an “Everything Else,” though it does take on a level of deadpan comedy thanks to the movie’s framing device. Narrated by star Iris Medina as she fantasizes about the scenes we see and, eventually, is ostensibly “directing” her own scenes (shots of Medina sitting behind a camera cut into some scenes), the already banal narration about Iris’ fantasies become deadpan hilarious thanks to her strange, wooden line deliveries. My personal favorite has to be “There’s something special in his moustache that tickles my pussy, and he’s got me coming again,” delivered with the sort of emphasis better suited to, say, “I stopped on the way home to pick up a gallon of milk because we were almost out.” The movie ends with a scene between Medina and John Holmes that reminds of Annette Haven’s remark that sex with Holmes was like “doing it with a big, soft kind of loofah.” Haven also appears in the film, along with stars like Paul Thomas and Sharon Thorpe; while Fantastic Orgy wouldn’t be included among any of their greatest hits, it’s worth checking out for completists of their work.

 

   Champagne Orgy is considerably more entertaining; while it feels like a bit of a quickly-made afterthought, the simplicity of its premise is oddly endearing. Tobalina/Troy Benny appears as himself, hosting a “champagne party” after a shoot (as one does). Tobalina stays out of the action, but the party quickly turns into exactly what it promises. I’ve read other reviews that describe Champagne Orgy as boring, and while I can see why - some of the performers in the movie look bored to be there, or possibly just stoned - the general sense of ennui becomes strangely fascinating. Tobalina, whose other films are more carefully blocked and shot, goes with a roving documentary-style approach here that, when the movie occasionally stumbles on an actually erotic moment, is oddly effective. While some of the pairings lack any kind of chemistry, others linger on couples who take their time for this sort of thing, reminding of more contemporary “couples’ porn,” if that’s your thing. And Tobalina repeats cumshots from multiple angles; whether this was a creative choice or an excuse to pad the running time, it’s an interesting early example of a device that is much more common in porn today.

 

   My favorite part of Champagne Orgy, admittedly, had nothing to do with the sex. About halfway through, in the background of one shot, a German Shepherd is visible pacing in the adjoining room, separated by a glass door. I assume the dog belonged to the owner of the movie’s location and was put in the other room so as not to disrupt filming. I chuckled when I saw the dog the first time, and laughed out loud the second; by the third time, I was nearly in hysterics. The funniest part is that the dog is completely indifferent to the humans fornicating several feet away from him; he’s clearly focused on finding a way out of the room. You can see the pleading look in the pup’s eyes, as if he’s thinking “Is one of you going to let me out when you’re done?” Poor dog.

 

Audio/Video (3.5/5)

 

   As with their previous Tobalina double feature, both films included here look great. Restored in 4K from their original 35mm camera negatives, both are remarkably free of dirt and debris while retaining a pleasantly filmic look. While the mono soundtracks include on both are limited by flaws in the original recordings, dialogue is clear throughout.

 

Extras (1/5)

 

A theatrical trailer for each film is included.

 

Overall:

 

I’m becoming a broken record with these recaps of Vinegar Syndrome discs, but happily so. Once again, the company has done a fine job of giving movies that many would dismiss as having no artistic value the sort of careful presentation that other companies devote to more “important” fare. The movies themselves are a mixed bag, but I’d still recommend them for completists, and Champagne Orgy, in particular, is much more interesting than it’s gotten credit for. It’s perfect for your own champagne party with friends - just remember to put your pets away.