Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ghostess with the Mostess, The (1988)

... aka: Alex de Renzy's The Ghostess with the Mostess

Directed by:
Alex de Renzy


If you'd asked me who my favorite director was fifteen years ago, I may have said Tim Burton. PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (1985), BEETLE JUICE (1988), EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990) and ED WOOD (1994) were some of my most-watched and beloved movies as a kid. Unfortunately, my interest in Mr. Burton has decreased significanly and steadily ever since MARS ATTACKS! (1996). As Burton's budgets started to skyrocket, his output suddenly became cold, noisy and impersonal exercises in elaborate art direction and overblown special effects. His films have always been impressive to look at, but his newer films come off as hollow and heartless once you look beneath the surface. Of Burton's earlier work, the highly imaginative horror-comedy BEETLE JUICE was always my favorite. It involved a good-hearted couple who just so happen to be newly-dead and, as ghosts, attempt to amicably share their home with an obnoxious, pretentious couple of artiste's and their misunderstood Goth daughter. When co-habitation fails, the ghost couple enlist the aid of the titular disgusting poltergeist to help scare off the new family. The film was a pretty big hit and received Oscar nominations. It also spawned this porno parody. For the record, so did Edward Scissorhands (See: EDWARD PENISHANDS 1, 2 or 3).



Instead of a the eccentric family found in Burton's film, here we get a dysfunctional family moving into a new house that's suspiciously cheap. Dad Joe (Joey Silvera) is carrying on a not-so-secret affair with their bitchy, demanding Cuban maid Consuela (Tanya Foxx). Mom Goldie (Aja) is being sexually neglected, while son Jeffrey (Tom Byron) is just left out of the mix with a copy of Hustler to keep him company. Instead of the good-hearted ghost couple, here we get a good-hearted, fun-loving swinger ghost couple; Charlie (Randy Spears) and his ghost girlfriend (Eva Allen as "Marlena Bond"), who I don't think was ever given a name. They're most interested in one-upping each other in who they can have sex with; I guess to see who is the 'ghostess with the mostess'. Charlie makes a b line to mom's bedroom, while the female ghost heads after Jeffrey. The next day, Consuela is possessed and has sex with Jeffrey while he eats rice crispies. And finally, we have the spin on the seance scene, with Dr. Goody Twoshoes (Blake Palmer), his psychic sidekick Fifi (Dana Lynn) and some other chick (an uncredited Lisa Bright) added to the works for a group number.



Ghostess delivers on the sex with a (mostly) attractive and enthusiastic cast who seem to be enjoying themselves. Male star Randy Spears of course has been an adult film mainstay for the past twenty-five years and has, according to IMDb, amassed over 1000 acting credits (!) as of this writing. He's also tried his hand at crossing over into mainstream films by appearing in Chuck Vincent's thriller BAD BLOOD (1989), doing voice work on the TV series American Dad and popping up in many of Fred Olen Ray's recent soft-core films. Aja (born Barbara Holder) was very popular during her four-year career in adult films (having made 80 films in that time) and is often regarded as one of the most naturally beautiful women ever to do adult films. Silvera just recently entered his fourth decade (!) as an adult film star and has directed several hundred of them himself. And of course, it's nearly impossible to watch one of these things without bumping into Tom Byron, who's a pretty terrible actor and not much to look at either but is also still going strong in porn and has an astouding 1500+ credits. Co-star Eva Allen, someone I'm not at all familiar with, was something of a nice surprise. She's extremely vibrant and pleasant in her role, though her career in the adult industry ended after just a few years.


The biggest surprise of all is that much of this material is actually pretty funny. Intentionally so. Even the dialogue during the sex scenes is funny. It's actually funnier than most R-rated horror comedies I've seen. The film works OK as a semi-spoof of Burton's film, following that film's plotline fairly closely, and also throws in a few horror references (there's an EXORCIST joke, a Freddy Krueger poster on the wall...) There are no visual effects in the film aside from some cheap *Boing*-Pops-The-Ghost cuts, but it's competently shot on video and colorful-looking.


If I've noticed any trend in adult films since the age of the internet, it's not only that it's not even necessary for adult films to even be films anymore, but that the sex itself has generally learned more in the direction of degradation and 'extreme' acts. Seeing an older porn like this one, with lots of laughing and smiling, and even glimmers of personality from the performers, marks a sharp contrast to the anonymous direction the genre has gone in recent years.

★★1/2

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