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Studio: Red Light District Video » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 10/8/05

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

Darkside (AKA: James Avalon's Darkside)

Red Light District

Genre: Feature

Director: James Avalon (story elements)

Director 2: Vince Vouyer (sex elements)

Cast: Penny Flame, Herschel Savage, Hillary Scott, Alicia Alighatti, Randy Spears, Dillan Lauren, John West, Tommy Gunn, Marcus London, Sunny Lane, Kelly Wells, Holly Wellin, Alex Rox, Ethan Cage, Missy Monroe, Julia Bond, Deja Daire, John Strong, Sean Michaels, Billy Glide
Non-sex roles by William Margold, Sandra Shine, Fingaz, Amy Ried, Lexi Lamour, Lisa Campbell, Kid

Length: 163 minutes

Dates of Production: 5/16/2005 to 5/19/2005

Extra's: Most of you will enjoy the bonus blowjob scene between Dillan Lauren, Tommy Gunn, and Marcus London the most. She knew how to work a meat pipe, sucking, jerking, and otherwise manipulating their cocks to coax out a load or two. Personally, I preferred the 27 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Jason Silver better since it had the cast and crew explaining some of the nuances of the movie as well as offering up glimpses of their hot bodies without the grain film adds. There was also a set of trailers and three photogalleries but they weren't anything I cared much about. The packaging was good enough to be considered an extra too with the fold out case style enclosed in a glossy cardboard cover (the thick kind, not the disposable kind porn usually uses either).

Condoms: None

Audio/Video Quality: Darkside was presented in 1.85 ratio anamorphic widescreen color as shot by directors James Avalon and Vince Vouyer for Red Light District. This being Red Light District's first feature film, and it was shot on 16 mm film, they went all out to offer a unique fusion of the hardcore action RLD is known for as well as the more intellectually stimulating feature story line that Mr. Avalon is used to. The lighting was generally far lower than normal for RLD movies and the thematic appeal of trying something different probably led them to take some chances with this one but there was a lot of grain here to contend with. There was also some video noise and other visual flaws but the composition of the sex scenes was well done. Further, the story elements looked to be handled with some measure of care too, adding to the appeal of the DVD. Essentially, when someone as fussy about visual defects as me can live with it, the rest of you won't care a bit but I believe fans will want to know the truth (rather than the glossed over comments I've seen since this one came out). The audio was presented in stereo English with some separation between the channels and even a bit better dynamic range than usual but you won't mistake this one as being handled by one of the high end feature companies either.

-- sponsored by --

Body of Review: Red Light District is known for offering the best value in gonzo porn with high end production values. You may find cheaper movies but they won't look half as good and you may find kinkier material but it'll cost an arm and a leg so the company has taken great strides at ripping market share away from most competitors in the last few years. In a strange twist of events, the company decided to try its hand at feature porn; the kind with plot, acting, and a story to enjoy. The title of this little effort was Darkside, a movie co-directed by James Avalon and Vince Vouyer. A movie about a sexual research institute where the experiences offered were "more real than reality" as feature lead William Margold put it. The sexual lead of the movie was the lovely Penny Flame and the story was an amalgamation of a number of mainstream movies where memory, science, and mind games combined to make for a surprisingly enjoyable feature. It didn't rely on pirates, special effects, contract gals or any of the other trappings of most high end features these days and I figured it was released recently to gain eligibility for AVN awards. You can watch the movie yourself to determine if the story material was worth it (I liked it a lot) but having watched a ton of porn, I can readily acknowledge that this had the best sex of any feature released this year (at least that I've watched). Whoever thought to combine "real" sex with plot rather than stick with the watered down action made for couples, was pretty bold considering many who like gonzo won't appreciate being interrupted for story but I think if this one is marketed correctly, it will work well for those of us wanting something a bit harder in our feature action. That said, here's a look at the action, noting no condoms were used, the sex was hardcore with lots of anal, and the feature aspects were very well done:

Scene One: Penny Flame, the hot young cutie featured on the front DVD cover, was up first during the opening credits with old man Herschel Savage. The two were having an affair and seemed to enjoy one another as they kissed, fingered one another, and even sucked some toes (her sucking his though). It started in B & W, but moved over to color after the credits were done with and he was plugging her tight pussy by then. She gave some light dirty talk but it was intimate (not loudly yelled out as in most gonzo) but then started doing PTM (pussy to mouth) a lot so she was polite enough to stop talking when her mouth was full. He rubbed out a couple of drops on her tongue after it was done, leaving a streamer hanging from her chin that she tried to clean off.

Scene Two: Hillary Scott, Alicia Alighatti, and Randy Spears, were up next in a scene that gave new meaning to the term "limo ride". They took turns slobbing his knob with Hillary (a cute blonde) getting first lick while more appealing (to me at least) Alicia joined her right away. It was well done oral but the gals then went to riding his cock in their asses with some gusto as Penny, Tommy, and Marcus watched from the other end of the limo. The gals were passionate about having a cock up their ass so the scene was a lot of fun but I also enjoyed Penny's little "review" at the end of the scene. Fans of ATM will like this one as much as those of you who appreciate a gal jerking off a guy into the mouth of another gal with some cum swapping.

Scene Three: Hillary Scott, Alicia Alighatti, Dillan Lauren, Penny Flame, John West, and Randy Spears, were up next in a scene that involved some erotic shock therapy. Most surprising was John's effeminate fetish attire but there was no doubt of his masculinity as Penny tore into his cock like she were sucking hundred dollar bills through a straw while the other gals savagely played with Randy. The scene had a lot to like here too with oral, vaginal, anal, and cum swapping at the end. Penny was one of the focal points of the scene and it was a nice showcase for her skills.

Scene Four: Alicia Alighatti, Hillary Scott, Tommy Gunn, and Marcus London, were up next as the quartet took positions around a pool table. The gals had been playing a game and Penny encouraged them to draw the guys off of her (their job was to stay with her under all circumstances). Penny wasn't the main draw of the scene though as her friends took care of the body guards using their mouths, pussies, and asses in their little school girl outfits. It was a nice way to show off their skills as the gals were energetic, showed some passion for their work, and milked out those loads as if they wanted to taste the men badly. Ending with some cum swapping, the group looked exhausted but it nearly had me going too.

Scene Five: Sunny Lane, Kelly Wells, Holly Wellin, Alex Rox, and Ethan Cage, were in the following scene where they played test subjects in a scene set in college where the gals went from zero to sixty all thanks to a device William Margold invented (and part of the basis for the feature aspect of the movie). I've seen the gals perform better elsewhere but they still seemed to enjoy boning, sucking, and cum swapping like seasoned professionals in search of a bonus. The camera lost focus a bit at times here too but at least there was swallowing to make up for it.

Scene Six: Missy Monroe, Julia Bond, Deja Daire, Penny Flame, Hillary Scott, John Strong, Sean Michaels, and Billy Glide, were up next in a scene taking place at a strip club, complete with entertainers working the poles. There was some great oral, nicely handled vaginal, and decent anal but the sex seemed to disjointed in terms of tying in to one another. With elements of an orgy combined with separate pairings, I found myself almost wishing the main action were split into two separate scenes; and anything that distracts a guy from the sex in a porno is a bad idea. Still, they did all the usual tricks and if Penny had done anal, it would've been even better.

Summary: Darkside was one of those movies that I rated as Highly Recommended for a variety of reasons rather than simply the action alone. The action wasn't quite as circus act oriented as RLD is sometimes known for but it was very hardcore and the sex was nicely integrated into the story (rather than thrown in as an afterthought). To be frank about it, I wasn't the biggest fan of Mr. Avalon's previous work at Sin City and Metro although he wasn't nearly as pretentious as some of the others working at those companies. The gals were a nice mix and Penny stood out as exceptional, both in the sex as well as the acting parts (heck, acting veterans Randy Spears and Herschel Savage came off as somewhat stiff in how they read their lines compared to her). There was a good variety of action and scenarios too enjoy as well. I wish the movie was made without the use of film since the grain and visual elements distracted me at times but overall; this was a great flick. The sex was well done, the story worth watching, and even using talented actors like William Margold as a zany scientist seemed to make sense this time. Good Work!

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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