The Film: 1/5
When she was a girl Cindy (Serena, credited as "Her Serene Highness, The Princess Serena") was sold into prostitution by her evil stepfather. Now as a full grown woman she spends her days alternating between doing every household chore there is to do and watching - and often joining in - her masters pleasuring these various male clients in their Hollywood Hills brothel. With the help of her fairy godmother (China Leigh) Cindy finally gets the chance to capture the heart of the man of her dreams, Prince Charles (Paul Thomas), who is coming to the house with his assistant Mr. Thomas (Jamie Gillis) for an evening of orgies and then maybe another orgy. Naturally she will have to do this without the other prostitutes who have enslaved her for years finding out, but that won't be too difficult to accomplish as every character in this movie has replaced their brains with bigger sex drives.
Known to horror fans as the vicious killer Weasel in Wes Craven's psycho thriller classic Last House on the Left, Fred J. Lincoln also directed over 300 adult films in his lifetime and took his bow from the industry seven years before passing away at the age of 75. I can only hope his directorial skills improved with every movie he made because by the time he got around to making Serena: An Adult Fairy Tale Lincoln was still an amateur in the porno arena. Technically speaking this XXX Cinderella riff barely looks like a legitimate piece of smut, let alone a movie. Despite a running time of 68 minutes Serena takes forever to get going and then when it finally reaches its destination doesn't know exactly when to stop, and then it's suddenly over. Porn tends to bore the living hell because as I watch these actors and actresses having all kinds of amazing, intense sex it reminds me of the sad fact that at the moment, and if I really wanted to, I myself could actually be having that kind of sex.
There are several adult features that impressed me, like Cafe Flesh and some of the movies directed by Roger Watkins, because they were technically proficient and had solid stories and acting to keep your attention in between the extended sex scenes. Serena is pretty much all sex, and badly staged sex at that, and Lincoln tends to let each of his carnal couplings play out in long takes with little cutaways or additional coverage. For this movie at least he didn't bother with filming close-ups or insert shots of the action, and though I usually wouldn't care less if he did those little bits of footage would have really helped inject some energy into the multiple sex set pieces. The acting is bad but for a porno it's barely passable. Who watches these movies for the powerful performances anyhow? Most of the ladies look very attractive, especially China Leigh, and the guys are extremely hairy and lanky. Jamie Gillis adds a little humor to the proceedings, but it's far from enough to save Serena: An Adult Fairy Tale from being a total bore.
The quality of Impulse's 1.33:1 full frame transfer is - for lack of a better word - pretty goddamn pathetic.
I understand that prints for these obscure porno titles get degraded over the decades but given Impulse's reputation for putting out DVDs that may not be the most entertaining but at the very least look really good I have to say that I expected more out of this. The print is riddled with noticeable signs of damage like scratches, lines, and occasional frame skipping. Grindhouse movie fans might think these flaws to be virtues, but not this writer. The English 2.0 mono audio track fares little better. The volume levels are all over the place and can get very loud even when you have your television turned down low. Fortunately the interminable dialogue is audible and every orgasmic moan comes through nice and clear. No subtitles are included.
No extras. No surprise. Most of the players involved in the making of this flick are either dead or no longer care to talk about their days in porn. I don't blame them.
This disc will only be of interest to those with a passing interest in adult cinema in the days before video came in and ruined the party. With crappy video and audio presentation and no supplements I wouldn't even recommend Serena to the curious. Pardon the pun, but this movie blows.