Sunday, December 8, 2019

Electric Blue 32 (1985)

... aka: Electric Blue '32'
... aka: Electric Blue 32: Too Hot to Handle
... aka: Electric Blue Presents Too Hot to Handle

Directed by:
Robert Veze

The Electric Blue series – a video magazine featuring nude centerfold models, softcore vignettes, cars, sports, travelogue footage, movie clips, celebrity nudes and other things deemed appealing to most heterosexual men – debuted in the UK in 1979. The series would become a resounding success in Europe and one of the top selling video series' of the entire decade. They churned out one tape after another until the late 90s. There were at least 53 numbered Electric Blue tape releases in the UK as well as off-shoots like “Best Of” videos, Sex Model Files, Reader's Wives, Girls in Uniform and other specials that pushed the total number of video releases well into the hundreds. The series was so popular that there was even a 1982 theatrical release; Electric Blue: The Movie. These videos were released on their own Electric Video label, which also began acquiring and distributing adult titles (both R and X rated) from the U.S. and other countries, which were then promoted on the various EB tapes.

What's extremely confusing about these is that the UK Electric Blue releases are not the same as the U.S. Electric Blue releases despite them sharing order numbers and some footage. In other words, the original Electric Blue 001 in the UK, which was hosted by Fiona Richmond, is not the same as the original Electric Blue 001 in the U.S., which was hosted by Marilyn Chambers. Only furthering the confusion, Electric Blue releases in other countries like Germany and Australia were also different. Some were censored and cut down to as little to half an hour apiece (the full versions ran about an hour) and various scenes were shuffled around from tape to tape. For instance, a scene from the third UK Electric Blue series may end up in the seventh U.S. Electric Blue and then the tenth German Electric Blue. It's nearly impossible to keep track of and makes establishing a coherent database for these a chore. The current listings on IMDb and most other websites are pretty much a mess of false information.

Here in America, the initial Electric Blue releases were distributed on VHS on the Kenyon Video label but the tapes apparently didn't sell as well as they did in Europe so they were discontinued fairly early on. However, the series continued on the Playboy Channel and ended up going up to at least entry #57. While the numbered UK versions were made for decades and all were released on VHS, the U.S. versions were all released in a five year window lasting from 1983 to 1987 and most have never been made available on home video. The American scenes were filmed on both coasts. Most of the top West Coast porn stars of the time appear in vignettes while others feature people who also acted for New York-based exploitation directors like Chuck Vincent, Frank Henenlotter, Tim Kincaid, Ernest G. Sauer and Roberta Findlay. Credits list both (Jim South's) World Modeling Talent Agency out of Sherman Oaks, California and Jane Hamilton Productions out of New York City (I didn't even know Hamilton / Veronica Hart even had her own agency at one time) for supplying models.

The U.S. Electric Blue 32 is what we'll be reviewing here today. Dubbed "Too Hot to Handle," this features a framework story set in a smoky and red-tinted hell. Hence why it's even on this blog to begin with. Cosgrove and his assistant Raven (Laurie Smith) are horned demons whose job it is to make sure none of their subjects is ever satisfied. He calls her "the lowest, the filthiest, the most disgusting creature I've ever laid eyes on!" while she considers him "a walking spittoon." That's their idea of foreplay. White-suited, cigar-smoking angel Jasper comes down to complain that they're not meeting their quota and heaven's getting too crowded. He then demands they start increasing the number of hellbound souls.

The latest sinner to walk through the gates of hell is Daisy Diddleman (Penthouse Pet and U.S. series regular Krista Pflanzer), a large-breasted bimbo who was killed when her vibrator short-circuited and exploded. Despite the fact she has a low evil quotient, she's desperate to earn her horns and is assigned the task of corrupting an Earth soul. But first we cut to a vignette called "Damsel in Distress" starring Michelle Bauer as the titular damsel. Set in Northern France, Bauer is a woman on holiday who's renting a country villa that's rumored to be haunted. While out riding her horse, she's thrown off, knocked unconscious and then has a romantic fantasy involving the knight on horseback (Jay Sterling) who rescues her. Bauer started with this series back in 1981 when she appeared under the name "Felicity" in the UK-produced #6 and #7. She went on to appear in many more of these and shot scenes for both the UK and U.S. versions.

Next up we meet Homer Jones, whom Cosgrove calls a "pusillanimous pussywillow" and a "petrified powder puff." In other words, he's too nice of a guy to ever end up in hell. Because she wants her to fail, Raven makes sure Daisy is given the near-possible assignment of corrupting him. The story is then interrupted with a British vignette taking a look at "Party Palaces," described as a place for R&R where "singles in the know" play "adult party games." The games include strip poker, "grab bag," costumed Twister with people dress like cavemen, Hawaiian girls and Indian warriors and another card game where the top prize for the winner is "Get Laid." Seeing how UK nude models like Marie Harper and Charlie Dean are featured we can assume this isn't a real activity people partook in in the 80s. (For the record, these scenes are all snippets from a separate 1985 UK EB release called Adult Party Games).

We return to poor Homer, who is sitting around being miserable when he's visited by Daisy, clad only in a red cape. She whisks him away in a cloud of smoke to his favorite night club "The Flesh Pit," where he always strikes out, only this time he's mauled by every girl there. Angry at Daisy's success, Raven sends a few devil men to pose as bouncers to throw him out. Homer is then transformed into a glamour photographer but right when he's about to score with a model, Raven sends her devil girls Dulcie (Gina Carrera) and Pippi (Paula Harlow) to interrupt the proceedings. She does about the same routine when Homer is turned into a rock star and in bed with a couple of groupies, only this time she sends her gay friend Lance to do the dirty work, which leads the girls (including Lois Ayres) to shriek "Oh God! This guy's a flamer!" before storming out. Will Homer ever find true love? Will Daisy ever earn her place in hell?

In between the main story we get a number of shorts, including a "Critic's Corner" review for the porn film Pink Champagne (1979), a segment on downhill skiing, a "Fantasy Girl" segment about competitive best friends at an all girl's health club who fight over a lifeguard and "Cool Hand Lizzie" featuring Monique Gabrielle as a biker babe / pool hustler who has sex with her opponent. The winner gets to take on Julia "I'm the cousin of Dolly" Parton, who appears for all of five seconds.

For what it is (a showcase for female nudity with some goofy comedy and misc. stuff), this is actually pretty entertaining. The hell sets are decent, the dialogue is sometimes amusing, the cast look like they've having fun and there's a certain upbeat charm to the whole silly thing. Smith - known only as a hardcore performer - is surprisingly good in her role as the she-demon and should have done more mainstream films. I'm not sure who the actor playing Cosgrove is but he's also pretty good. Pflanzer, whose most notable part was getting naked then butchered in the 80s slasher Cheerleader Camp, does the cute airhead routine adequately enough. For soft erotica, this was a lot more pleasant and engaging than most of those "erotic thrillers" that saturated the market in the 90s.

Despite being listed on many websites as "adult" this features no X-rated content whatsoever. I've seen plenty of R-rated B movies with just as much nudity. Director Veze went on to make some other entries in the series and the dumb T&A comedy Bikini Summer (1991), which enjoyed frequent cable runs in the 90s and probably made a fortune. The current IMDb listing is completely wrong. They actually don't even list #32 and instead stuck the cast for this one under Electric Blue 34.

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