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April 11, 2013

Movie Review: Expectations/Confessions (1977, Vinegar Syndrome)

Review by John Beutler

In the past few months, this reviewer had become privy to a relatively new video distributor...with an eclectically unique banner of Vinegar Syndrome. Delving further into what they had to offer, and being a devoted fan of the drive-in style cinema, I relished the advance word of numerous attention-grabbing titles...some familiar, some I was dimly aware of, and others, quite unknown...ideally paired up, for what would be their 'Drive-In Collection'. With gleeful dispatch, I quickly rendered pre-orders of these soon-to-be-released titles, and was even afforded opportunity to try one out...featuring a duo of gritty, tantalizing, nearly forgotten, X-rated B-movie zingers, which were directed by famed 'blue movie' maestro, Anthony Spinelli (, with both titles bearing two of his pseudo-names).

Clearly, and with purpose, 1977's steamy "Expectations", and the same year's fetish emphasized "Confessions", were married in this particular collection, because of their overall conclusive theme, that being 'be careful what you wish for; you just may get it'. "Expectations", easily the best of the two, tells the lucrative story of two, a bored and sexually frustrated socialite, and the other, a free-spirited hippie type...who via a newspaper ad, conspire to change places with each other (...even though they hardly look alike), in an effort to hopefully venture into new and stimulating sexual realms. They set certain ground rules...though often, as the events here unfold, those rules get bent, or even outright broken, which seems to add to the spice of this particular erotic and fantasy-driven venture. Although much more emphasis is place on the hapless socialite's point of view, and the varied sexual revelations SHE encounters (...or, should I say, stumbles into), the heated love-making scenes, as the film transitions back and forth between the two women in the film are quite arousing, and passionately enacted. The women themselves are modestly attractive & sexy, and the men they engage, for the most part, come across as amusingly stereotypical, pulpish 'rogues', an almost rape-inclined 'filthy animal'...another, an eye-patched brother of the socialite, engaging a fantasy of his own, in the midst of this unconventional trade-off...and a third, not a guy at all, but to the socialite's shock, a lusciously dominant ebony beauty, ready to 'do it all'. In the end, does this covert, perspective-shattering ploy work?? Will both women willingly submit and resign themselves to their separate, albeit interchanged fates, as a result of their oh-so tantalizing, sensuous and inner-revealing, fantasy-driven adventure??

The second feature, "Confessions", although an interesting and intriguing sexual venture, seems to come off, for the most part, as surprisingly NOT sexy, at all. The performances...even as far as most of the sex scenes, appear relatively forced, which might be somewhat understandable, given that this film is preponderantly more fetish-based. With a much simpler storyline, once again, we have a sexually bored, married socialite, seeking to broaden her stale sexual horizons, with a self-revelating notion of randomly prostituting herself out to a number of different men...not for the money, mind you, but for the promiscuously enlivened and freshening experience. Her chosen entourage for the day includes a wayward motorcyclist, with a penchant for personalized instruction, and a talent with special tools...a submissive husband of a perversely voyeuristic dominatrix, the latter of whom 'pays' our intrepidly 'enterprising' and erotically adventurous gal, a very special 'price' for her services...and the third, a relatively forgettable sexual excursion, where our dear lady actually returns the service charge, as a result of his ho-hum ability to please. The ending?? Fairly predictable, as the wife returns home, all the wiser...smilingly slyly...seated across the dinner table from her husband, who of course, asks the stereotypically expected question, without looking up from his newspaper.

Kudos and bravos all around, to Vinegar Syndrome, for exhibiting here, very enjoyably watchable prints of these films...'enjoyably watchable', in the sense that in addition to being quite watchably B-movie gritty/sharp, there is a large accentuation of scratches, jump-cut and splices throughout...indicating a print that's definitely gone through the mill, countless times, which only adds to the nostalgic, well-worn charm of these minor league 'blue movie' treasures, culled from the golden age of X-rated drive-in cinema. With great eagerness, I'm looking forward to further embraceable, drive-in style trash and sleaze, from the folks, out at V/S; y'all should, too.

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