Genre: Straight Feature Director: Tristan Taormino Cast:: Joanna Angel, Sarah Blake, Justine Joli, Keeani Lei, Saana, Jezebelle Bond, Tristan Taormino, Scott Nails, Mr. Marcus, Talon, Justin Synder Length: 155 mins Production Date: 2005
Audio/Visual: In a Nutshell - Good, but Not Great.
In order to maintain the illusion of being caught off the cuff, the video image here is a little underlit and occasionally hampered by technical limitations. Not everything is captured on a high-end digital camera, and some of the scenes are overly dim. Still, the 1.33:1 image can be colorful at times, and is always expertly framed. Director Tristan Taormino has one of the best cinematic eyes in the business. She seems to inherently understand where the camera needs to be, and then places it there, allowing the action to play out naturally, without a lot of edits or aesthetic excess.
Extras: In a Nutshell - A Nice Array of Added Content
Along with the standard collection of adult DVD extras - weblinks, galleries, trailers and the like - Adam and Eve gives House of Ass a couple valuable bonus features. First up is an additional scene from the film Fleshbacks. Brooklyn and her meat puppet partner Chris Cannon get down and dirty, plowing though some cabaret, a blowjob, a smidgen of doggy (with V to M) and two tantalizing positions (Mish and Reverse Cowgirl). The pop is aimed at the mouth, and when it's all over, we've had a decent, if not overly exciting, sex scene. The far better extra arrives in the form of a 20 minute Behind the Scenes documentary. In truth, it plays more like deleted scenes from the already long (155 minutes) movie, and all the material here is definitely worth a look. Especially eye opening is an extended sequence where Mr. Marcus discusses racism in the adult industry. Along with some insights from director Taormino herself, this is an excellent bit of complimentary content.
OK, where have we seen this before? A group of strangers are set up in a palatial home, allowed to freely interact with one another, and all of it is captured on camera. There's even a secret room where individuals can enter and "confess" their inner most thoughts and fears. Wow, if the Dirge weren't so dense, he'd swear this was a hardcore remake of MTV's staple of stupidity, The Real World. Indeed, author/director Tristan Taormino is out to use the reality television tenets of that eavesdropping exploitation to create something new and unique in saleable smut. The result is the resplendent House of Ass. To paraphrase the tagline of that music channel chum, this pornographic DVD is the story of ten adult entertainers, picked to perform in a freeform feature. As they spend the weekend in an elegant California pad, they stop being polite and start being real...randy...and risqué. Indeed, Taorimino's concept for the title - a little bit of individual industry insight, a whole lot of blistering balling - works amazingly well here. It turns something that could have been silly or stilted into one of the best titles of the year.
The Sex Scenes:
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Let's put it this way - the sun wishes it were this hot. Deserts are jealous over the amount of heat these scenes put off. Radiators, blowtorches and nuclear fission are seeking self-esteem counseling over their inability to match the scorching simmer of these sequences. Tristan Taormino knows her fuck and suck, and realizes that a combination of chemistry, personal passion, and a well placed camera mean brimstone-like balling. Even the groan-inducing girl/girl scenes that the Dirge dreads like a trip to the proctologist are filled with erotic arousal. Maybe it's the power in the film's premise, or maybe it's the performers themselves, but House of Ass is more than just a hardcore IHOP. It's a smorgasbord of sensational XXX-cellence.
Scene 1:Joanna Angel, Scott Nails Acts Performed:Foreplay, Kissing, Blowjob, Cunnilingus, Mish, V to M, Ball Action, Reverse Cowgirl, Doggy, Pocket Rocket to Clit, Mish w/Butt Plug, Anal Mish DP with Glass Toy Action, Anal Mish, Anal Doggy, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, $hot in Mouth, Swallowing Score:4.5 out of 5
Having never run across her before, the Dirge was wildly impressed with newcomer Joanna Angel's sex stylings. Though she plays the semi-Goth punk rock girl for all its worth (including the mandatory body art and personal piercings) she is really just a wholesome, homespun whore. When Scott gets his monster rod ready to rock, Ms. Angel makes her many openings the willing recipients of his major man meat. All the fucking here is ferocious, fierce and fiery. It's a good thing they accomplish some of it in a half full bathtub. Otherwise, there might have been some fatal friction damage in the couples' crashing genital area. The incorporation of toys is effortless, and the overall atmosphere is one of personal enjoyment, not professional performing. This was the main focus of Taormino's premise, and she succeeds in making us believe in this unforced fornication.
Scene 2:Sarah Blake, Justine Joli Acts Performed:Various Gal on Gal Goodness, Pocket Rocket Action, Ass Slapping, Tuning Fork Vibrator Action, V to M, All Orifice Penetration Score:3.5 out of 5
Okay, the Dirge can hear you all already. You are groaning at your computer screen as you prepare to read yet another diss of your favored all-girl fantasy scenes. Well, guess what. The old dude actually LIKED this scene. Sarah and Justine are truly in touch with their "inner lesbian" and they provide one of the most powerful and potent same sex sequences this critic has ever witnessed. The odd collection of toys definitely helps, including one of the weirdest vibrators ever manufactured. A metal cock with an actual tuning fork on the end, one gal gets the gadget in her snatch while the other bangs the prongs with a metal rod. The resulting note is novel, and the ladies really seem to love the naturalistic vibration. But aside from this new sex substitute, Blake and Joli are a completely connected couple. We sense their lust and longing and are glad to be witness to their wanton display of both.
Scene 3:Keeani Lei, Mr. Marcus Acts Performed:Cunnilingus, Fingering, Salad Tossing, Mish, V to M, Blowjob, Cowgirl, Reverse Cowgirl, Doggy, $hot in Mouth, Swallowing Score:4.5 out of 5
Our main man Mr. Marcus will, like the somewhat short-tempered Scott, get two scenes here, and both are absolute smashes. With our Asian honey Keeani, Marcus makes with the romantic ramrodding. In front of a fireplace, and near a convenient (and clichéd) bearskin rug, the couple copulates as if the rest of the world was a million miles away. Things go from sensual to slammin' as our capable cocksman gives the petite Ms. Lei all she can handle - and still, we sense that if she could, she would definitely take more. What starts with some friendly friggin' by the fire turns aggressive and arousing as the pair indulges their every individual fantasy. It's enough to have you grabbing at your groin in vicarious satisfaction.
Scene 4:Joanna Angel, Mr. Marcus Acts Performed:Foreplay, Kissing, Fingering, Eggplant Dildo Action, V to M, Blowjob, Mish, Doggy, Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Dildo Action, Anal Doggy, Anal Mish, $hot in Ass, Anal Cream Pie Score:4.5 out of 5
Proving that Ms. Angel is a powerful porn star on the rise, she makes an unusual confession. When initially asked if she would do interracial, she declined. When questioned about why she would allow someone to spew all over her chest and face, but not take on an individual of color, she sheepishly had no reply. We then quick cut to Joanna and Marcus making small talk, and it's not long before the duo dive into some of the best dicking of the entire film. Living up to his onscreen reputation as a caring and considerate lover, our big black gentleman never pushes his anxious paramour, and as the two get to know each other better, we witness the awakening of Ms. Angel as a certified adult phenom. Once into the pairing, she matches Marcus beat for beat and looks like she'd gladly handle his oversized hog all day if she could. This is sex as an expression of inner freedom and curiosity quelled. Along with her hook up with Scott Nails, Joanna Angel is one of the main reasons to visit this horny House of Ass.
Scene 5:Joanna Angel, Sarah Blake, Justine Joli, Keeani Lei, Saana, Scott Nails, Talon Acts Performed:Hey, it's an orgy. Lots of gal/gal and guy/girl, plus three and four ways Score:4 out of 5
In regards to its overall entertainment value, the group grope has limited likeability. With all that action going on, usually captured in an equally frenetic and chaotic manner, it's hard to get a handle on the humping. Just as one sequence of clit-sucking is starting the camera rotates to show the final thrusts of a derivative bit of doggy. Here, Taormino tries something different. She films the fun in stages, letting each bit work up a good sin sweat before moving on to the next installment of nookie. We begin with our four leading ladies - Joanna, Sarah, Keeani, and Justine - and then move to a setup where Scott spreads Ms. Lai and starts banging the bejesus out of her. Soon, substitute talent Saana and Talon arrive (they are taking the place of a pair - Jezebelle Bond and Justin Synder - who dropped out over some oral sex issues) and soon we are watching them frantically fuck. Eventually, we begin to get lost in the lewdness, and the sequence pays off in pure, prurient porn delights.
Disco Dirge Peter Meter Rating:4.5 out of 5 (DVD Talk Collectors Edition) Cohabitation Certification:Easily Granted
All hail Tristan Taormino! A new Queen of quality adult entertainment has been crowned. While her "public" persona as a writer and educator can be questioned, her ability to make meaningful - and amazing - hardcore pornography is beyond reproach. But it's not just because of the nuclear naughtiness alone. Taormino manages to get us to care about these performers, to look at them beyond their sex for hire facade and see the real personable individuals that they are. For this reason, as well as the red hot humping, Tristan Taormino's House of Ass earns the DVD Talk Collectors Series rating for adult titles. While you might find more "professional" packages, you will not witness wilder, more mesmerizing man/girl gratuity than what you see here. Couples will cream over the sensual side of the action while lovers of aggressive action can't deny the unswerving efforts of Nails, Marcus, Joanna Angel and the others. Real or not, this is exceptional erotica.