, 1980, 76 mins. 57 secs.
Directed by Roger Watkins
Starring Samantha Fox, Kandi Barbour, Robin Byrd, Christine De Shaffer, Michele Lake, Vanessa Del Rio, Robert Kerman, Ron Hudd, Jesse Adams, Alan Adrian, Michael Gaunt, Rick Iverson, Ron Jeremy
Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray & DVD) (US R0 HD/NTSC) / WS (1.85:1) (16:9), TVX (DVD) (US R0 NTSC)
Though best known as the director of the notorious horror roughie, The Last House on Dead End Street, the late Roger Watkins stayed busy in exploitation including a very strange, fascinating detour into adult filmmaking in the early 1980s with titles like startling Corruption. One of his earliest pornographic features was the more frivolous but still perverse The Pink Ladies, which features his usual penchant for pounding, experimental electronic music and warped surprises at every turn. And despite the title, it has nothing to do with Grease.
The comic and sometimes abstract fun begins when some Long Island female pals go out for an afternoon of racquetball that stirs a peeping tom (Hudd) to fantasize in the lockerroom about an orgy with Lori (Fox), Kay (Barbour), and Jane (Byrd). From there we cut to some lengthy banter between the married women as they sit on the john, and another in their group (Lake, a.k.a. Marcia Minor) has some afternoon delight with Rick Iverson to a kitschy Muzak cover of "Copacabana" while her neighbor Bert (Cannibal Holocaust's Kerman) watches on and has his own reverie about having sex with her in front of a Humphrey Bogart poster. That night at home, Jane indulges in a sweaty, glittery foursome fantasy complete with Ron Jeremy once again demonstrating where his "hedgehog" nickname really came from, followed by Kay imagining a lesbian brothel indulgence involving Marlene Willoughby and Barbara Daniels. As it turns out, all of these marrieds have pretty wild inner lives with the commuter husbands getting just as far out including Raymond (Adrian), who has a BDSM scenario in his head that wound up being snipped out of most video editions. If that weren't enough, you also get a batch of steamy scenes with Vanessa Del Rio as a train stop object of desire, a crazy orgy scene (set to "Ride of the Valkyries") involving participants covered in body paint at a gym, a fun turn by Christine De Shaffer as another put-upon member of the titular circle of friends, and a goofy sort-of twist non-ending, and you've got a funny, adults-ony curio that keeps getting better with age.
Very difficult to find in its complete form of VHS, The Pink Ladies has been largely ignored over the years with substandard video transfers doing it no favors either. In 2019, Vinegar Syndrome gave this film the red carpet on Blu-ray and DVD including a limited slipcase edition. The new 2K scan from the original 35mm negative is up there with the company's usual track record for miraculous, pristine presentations of adult films that now look far more polished and impressive than ever before, proving the crew involved were giving this as much production value as possible on fairly limited budgets. Watkins' unusual use of color and shadow isn't as prevalent here as some of his other films, but it definitely pops up where it counts particularly in the final 20 minutes. The DTS-HD MA English mono audio is also in perfect shape, with optional English SDH subtitles provided. The extras kick off with a video interview with a completely nude Adrian (13m55s), a.k.a. John A. Mozzer, who talks about first going out for a different, more violent Watkins role and his own proclivity for bondage that he got to explore in this film complete with the nickname "Spike." Ultraviolent's Art Ettinger, who befriended Watkins and conducted the longest interview with him in print, offers a detailed account of the film (18m31s) from their conversations together, explaining how this film emerged from the completion of the disco porno The Night Bird along with the much more harrowing Her Name Was Lisa. He also goes into Watkins' thoughts on his adult output, the film's official X rating by the MPAA, the use of actors Michael Gaunt and Jesse Adams (who had appeared as comical gravediggers in City of the Living Dead), Watkins' admiration for Fox and Del Rio, Kerman's personal issues at the time, and a colorful story about a coffee shop encounter in Pittsburgh. Also included are a production stills gallery (3m33s) from Mozzer's collection, a script and shooting schedule gallery (1m45s),
Reviewed on July 26, 2019.