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South Of Eden

Studio: Digital Playground » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 6/6/04

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

GENRE: Straight Feature
STARS: Joey Ray, Alexa Rae, Eden, April, Angel Cassidy, Sandra Hall, Teanna Kai, Crissy Moran
LENGTH: 80 mins with bonus material

Everyone remembers The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling's inventive offering into the supernatural that featured far out stories with even more bizarre twist endings. And there's O' Henry, author extraordinaire, who made a living taking standard sagas and giving them a surprise, shocking situation in the final act. Recently, the hot young director M. Night Shyamalan has made a blockbuster living creating cinematic spectacles that usually toss in a narrative U-turn at the last minute. Let's face it, the "everything is not what it seems" manner of tale telling is a classic, a formula and format that, when done well, really makes an audience's appreciation stand up and swear allegiance. But when it's done badly, nothing smells up the screen worse. Nothing. Not Madonna's underpants. Not a visit from hygienically challenged Norwegians. Not a set after Stephen St. Croix has finished fouling the air with his performance farts. So when Pornmaster General Robby D tries his horny hand at a fable of the unexpected, he has a whole lot to live up to. And South of Eden succeeds, for the most part. It has hot and heavy hardcore action. It has production values out the curvaceous ass. The acting by the performers is rock solid and sexy as Hasenfeffer, And Robby D knows his way behind a camera lens. The directing is distinct and atmospheric. So the big question becomes, does Robby pull off the tawdry trifecta? Does he have a story here to match his filmmaking and his performers? Well, you'll just have to wait until the end of the review. It wouldn't be fair to give the revelation away now, would it?

The DVD:
Told in a straight feature format, the story in South of Eden is fairly simple. Peter Wild (Joey Ray) is a down on his luck thief hoping to pull one last job so he can finally live the good life. Partnered with the oversexed Slim (Alexa Rae), the couple pulls off a complicated heist inside a ritzy mansion. After the safe is cracked, Slim wants a little non-financial satisfaction.

Scene 1: Joey Ray (Peter) and Alexa Rae (Slim)
After placing the cash in a satchel, Slim grabs Peter's groin and releases his semi-swollen rod. She sucks it with sheer abandon. Soon both burglars are nude and Peter is kissing and licking Slim's pierced nipples. He moves down to her equally adorned clitoris and begins a plentiful pussy eating. When the oral is over, Peter encases his cock in a condom and straight on vaginal sex ensues. They decide to switch things around and visit red rover at the doggie pound. After a lot of frenzied fucking, Pete is ready to drain his meat. Slim slides off the rubber raincoat and coaxes a load out of her man's member. The resulting jizz jolt ends up all over her face and mouth. Alexa Rae, despite all her body jewelry, is a fairly hot looking honey and when matched with the husky, bulky Joey Ray, the result is a relatively erotic opening act. It's hard to figure out why Joey Ray is the star here. He's dumpy. He's dopey. He gives off a mook-like 'turdy turd and turd avenue' appearance to his personality. But he can deliver in the dick department, so perhaps that's the most important thing. Robby D does an excellent job framing the fucking, capturing the nuances of the nookie expertly. Score: 7/10

While getting dressed, the sound of a siren is heard. Peter panics, but not before Slim pulls out a handgun and blasts him. Fade out.

Fade back in and a very angelic woman named Eden awakens Peter. She explains that he's dead and that she will lead him to his new home. Skeptical but curious, Peter agrees. They enter a huge white mansion and Eden explains that he has everything he can possibly want for the rest of eternity. Peter doesn't believe her. She tells him to wish for something. He asks for a whisky and a hot piece of pussy. PRESTO! They are both in another part of his home, and a sexy bartender is pouring a shot. Eden disappears and Peter asks for some sex.

Scene 2: Peter and April (Bartender)

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Spread eagle on the bar top, Peter immediately starts dining on April's privates. After the carnal cunnilingus, she provides an oral enticement for Peter. As his massive cock disappears into her mouth, there is intense deep throating and lots of licking. Another condom corrals the cock and it's on to a date with the dog as a backdoor dynamic is assumed between the copulating couple. Humping like it's the end of the world, Peter pulls out his pecker to plop a pint or two on the pilsner puller. He flings his own froth on the lasses itty bitty titties. She asks him to help lick it off and, in a most amazing sequence, Peter drops down and laps up his own love juice. The only thing keeping this scene from being a stellar bit of smut is the relative unattractiveness of April. She is far too skinny and lacks any noticeable upper body development. Her slim skank qualities undermine what is a very robust set of situations. Any lady that can lunch on a log like she can, taking the wood all the way down to the base, is choice in the chicken chocking competition. Too bad she looks like she raised the rooster back behind her familial trailer as well. Score: 6/10

Impressed by the instant access to whatever he wants which is namely an endless supply of the wango tango - Peter asks for Eden's lush paradise. She says he can never have her and is very emphatic. Feeling rejected, Pete calls for a stripper. One magically appears and gives him a lap dance.

Scene 3: Peter and Angel Cassidy (Stripper)
In standard gentleman's club fashion, our exotic dancer really raises the roof (along with other "things") as she gives Peter a pubic Passa Doble he'll not soon forget. Nothing hardcore happens in this scene, but Angel is very fetching in her leatherette getup. She has the erotic moves down cold, but there is nothing chilly about her performance. Robby uses some interesting camera effects (facial blurring and superimposing, some strange fast-forward quick cuts) to keep this from being another Saturday night at The Dollhouse. For a bit of cock teasing (and the tent pitched in Joey's pants is testimony enough to Ms. Cassidy's ability to entice) this is a very sensual sequence. Score: 6/10

Peter again asks for Eden's favors. She flatly rejects his advances. Feeling the rebuff himself, he demands a rub down. A statuesque masseuse awaits him.

Scene 4: Peter and Sandra Hall (Masseuse)
Laying flat on his stomach in a very dreamlike space, Sandra steps in, very long, lanky and buff and proceeds to oil up Peter's body. She gives him a decent bit of body manipulation before rolling him over onto his back. Seeing his bobbing baton gives Sandy a slutty idea. She strips off her terry cloth coverings and proceeds to blow our hero to kingdom come. This long oral episode ends with Peter exploding all over himself. Sandra has got to be every man's ideal of a personal muscle relaxer (well, all muscles except one) and her evocative skills with both lotion and her lips make this a very steamy spa treatment. Joey does nothing more than sit back and enjoy the penis polish. Who could blame him? Score: 7.5/10

Still not satisfied, Peter demands Eden give up the goods. She sneers and says he will NEVER have her. She then tells him there is a strip poker game in his card room. Peter is ambivalent about wanting to be part of it. He knows the girls will throw themselves at him and he will win every hand. But with nothing else on his agenda, we move over to the gambling den.

Scene 5: Peter and Teanna Kai (Poker Player #1) and Crissy Moran (Poker Player #2)
Peter is bored out of his mind. His two lovely associates keep losing and they are down to their underwear. Another hand and they are naked. They start kissing and touching each other. They invite Peter for a three-way, but the burden of being a winner all the time has gotten to our overworked hero. He begs off for a nap and the ladies decide to satisfy their cravings Sappho-style. There is lots of lingering foreplay, with tender tongue kisses and soft, sensual stroking. The babes finally feast on each other's fetlocks before they end up in each other's arms, kissing and cuddling. The lesbianism in this scene is of the fantasy daydream variety with very little of what makes true gal-on-gal hot and heavy. Fingering is kept to a minimum and there are no toys in sight. In some ways, Joey was right to bow out of this scene. This is meant to be a sensual, seductive sequence and the girls sell it well. It's still underwhelming, but makes for a nice, normal end to the hardcore portion of the show. Score: 5/10

Peter finally confronts Eden. He wants to understand why Heaven sucks so bad. He gets everything he wants without having any of the fun of working at it. Eden gives him a strange look. (SPOILER ALERT move down to the next paragraph if you want to save the "secret" for your own viewing pleasure.) This is NOT Heaven, it's Hell. Peter is a prisoner in Satan's domain for all the wrong he has done. The Devil is actually Slim from the first scene, and she and Eden laugh as they realize that Peter understands his eternal fate. Everything he ever wanted in life will be his, but it will have none of the satisfaction he craved while alive. And the one thing he truly wants Eden will be forever out of reach. HA! HA! HA! HA!

South of Eden is another typical Robby D extravaganza, filled with the flamboyant filmmaker's trademark attention to detail. His lighting is always impeccable. His lens frames the action perfectly and he always manages to find a new or novel way to sell a scene. Who else would put moments of non-hardcore action (stripping) in a movie meant to accentuate XXX antics? As in past movies, the actors all excel in their roles. Joey Ray is pitch perfect as the hood with a constant hard-on. He gives off a vibe of being permanently puzzled by anything that doesn't involve crime or pussy. All the ladies offer differing versions of imaginary intimacy. Eden, as Eden, is especially good at giving off an aura of ephemera, and Alexa Rae makes a terrifically wicked little imp. Yet there is still a factor that keeps South of Eden grounded, something that becomes painfully obvious when you see the overall running time. At ONLY 74 minutes, this is a one-note story that really has no place to go once Peter is dead. The different variations on wish fulfillment are fine, but without any other dramatic element besides which afterlife the load is living in, Robby is forced to press his talents to the logical limits. The throwaway scenes are fine, but it would have been nice to insert another guy into the picture, a gentleman who, perhaps, fucks with Peter's perceived paradise by bedding babes he wanted to hump. The desire on the part of this talented, inventive filmmaker to try something simple and yet ethereal is well considered. But the storyline here (and it's rather obvious ending) tends to subvert the serious sexual sequences Robby and his cast creates. South of Eden is a far cry above other hardcore feature films. But knowing just what Mr. D is capable of, it's kind of a let down, none the less.

The Video:
Mr. D is a showman behind the camera and the look and feel of South of Eden's 1.85:1 letterbox transfer is superb. While non-anamorphic (apparently, porn hasn't advanced that far in the technological trade) the avoidance of the usual video issues with bright whites and excessive lighting are what makes the picture really excellent. Even in elements not over lit, the colors and contrasts are fantastic. This is one of the best DVD images of adult material available today.

The Audio:
South of Eden is also presented in a wonderful, evocative Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound offering that truly lives up to its multi-channel title. Atmospheric elements fill the speakers as dialogue comes crisp and clean from the front. Music, when available, gently gyrates throughout the mood and the overall immersive nature of the aural experience is truly exceptional.

The Extras:
Digital Playground LOVES trailers and there are literally dozens here. We get the entire Jack's Playground series of ads as well as introductions to all company's popular Interactive titles. Along with several other Robby D. and Nic Andrews items to choose from, you could spend over an hour shifting through the coming attractions. The Behind The Scenes featurette is short (only 7 mins) but very, very sweet. Robby runs a loose, fun set and the antics between him and the rest of this cast and crew are hilarious. Pay attention as Joey Ray shows how much of a cum eater he really is and look for moments of real movie making where Robby is essentially catching reaction shots, sans hardcore action, to insert into a scene at a later time. Joey Ray sits down for a 6-minute interview that is long on shocking revelations (he enjoys VERY rough sex in his private life) and goofy gossip (Joey loves to joke about his fellow actor's failures in the erection department). Along with a nice gallery of girls and some standard advertising tie-ins, the bonuses here are nice, if not overwhelmingly amazing.

Final Thoughts:
For anyone looking for good old-fashioned cinematic ideals in their adult material, anything by Robby D and the gang at Digital Playground is a fairly safe bet. South of Eden is another interesting, inventive offering from the studio that keeps turning out the quality product. If this latest Robby D delight is not as stellar as, say, Repo Girl or Beat the Devil, well, no one is perfect. This is not to say South of Eden isn't worth your time. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, South of Eden earns a fastidious 6.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended. Couples will also find much to magnify their intimate moments, and as a result, a Cohabitation Certification is happily granted. Still, with a single story and a single guy handling all the hardcore, fans of more fleshed out films will be annoyed. Digital Playground and Robby D. have prided themselves on making the closest thing to mainstream movie porn of any other studio. And South of Eden is a sensational example of such. But those of you looking for more in your D "trip" than a few scenes and some wistful atmosphere may find this film wanting. South of Eden wants to spellbind your psyche as it sexes up your short hairs. But in the end, all we get is some very nice, no-nonsense erotic mixed with a screenplay that misses by just a few fleeting moments. While still recommended, South of Eden is not necessarily Robby D. or Digital Playground at its best.

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