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Alpha 15: Reform School Girls

Studio: VCA » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 8/29/06

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Alpha 15: Reform School Girls


Genre: Lesbian

Director: Cat P. (with guest director Hollie Stevens)

Cast: Daisy Layne, Vanessa Lynn, Justine Joli, Genesis Skye, Jayna Oso, Jezebelle Bond, Gia Jordan, Hailey Young
Non-sex roles: Hollie Stevens, Hook Duff, Elizabeth Panorama

Length: 70 minutes

Date of Production: 3/27/2006

Extras: The best extra included was the full version of the very appealing lesbian flick by director Antonio Passolini from 2004, Lezbo A Go-Go. It lasted longer then the movie in hand with a cast containing nearly a dozen of the top hotties from 2004 going at one another in a highly appealing manner. There was no "alt" tag added to the flick and the almost hippy style of the late 1960's was in stark contrast to Alpha 15 but it helped make the DVD a solid value even for those not into the anti-porn nature of the feature being reviewed. I'm always happy to report a company providing value and this certainly boosted the score from my point of view; a trend I've seen with some other titles by VCA of late. I suppose the next best extra would have been the Behind the Scenes feature that was shot by Ray Dark and edited by Edgar Allen Pole but for some reason, it never made the DVD. Since it wasn't advertised on the package or in the press release, I'm not going to subtract any imaginary points (I don't use a formal point system) but if one was shot, I'd think it might've made it to the DVD. Perhaps a future HD release will include it as a special extra on the director's cut or something. There were also three trailers, a slide show, and some spam but clearly the addition of the bonus movie was head & shoulders above most extras on DVD these days.

Condoms: None

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Audio/Video Quality: Alpha 15: Reform School Girls was presented in the usual 1.33:1 ratio full frame color as shot by debut director Cat P. for release by VCA. The movie was one of the newest batch of Alt-Porn titles so you can well expect that the lighting, special effects, and jerky camera movements were not flattering to the cast. There was a sense of style here that took some getting used to with the scenes largely coming across like they were made on an ultra low budget and forced to rely heavily on raw energy instead of technical gloss and expertise. It showed less of the anti-porn attributes that other alt directors have put forth (where the casts usually look like they are having a crappy time and display animosity towards the camera) which made all the difference for me but a little of the style goes a long way in my book. There was a lot of grain, video noise, and whoever held the camera seemed to have epilepsy but most of the scenes succeeded in spite of those issues thanks to the cast. The audio was presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital English with a soundtrack by Muffy Ramone that sounded much like a combination of Siouxsie and the Banshees mixed with Danielle Dax as tempered by punk sensibilities. The vocals were not eliminated and most of the background direction appeared to have been left in the movie (even in the first scene) but it was a balance I could live with since I enjoyed the music. This is one of the leading problems with most alt porn audio; if you rely too heavily on the music, it tends to sabotage the stroke value for those who hate the tracks presented but regardless of what else you hear, this one had some merit to it.

Body of Review: VCA has been one of my favorite studios for years thanks in large part to the quality of the direction the company has offered for so long. Directors like Veronica Hart, Jim Holliday, Wit Maverick, Antonio Passolini, and numerous others have provided some great stroke flicks over the years; especially when the company initially embraced the DVD format. In the last year or so, the company has seen a revitalization of their pioneering spirit by giving new directors a chance to show what they have to offer rather than just have the same old hacks from other companies make the same old formulaic porn you can find anywhere else. This sometimes means the experiments will fail but at least they'll rise or fall on their own merits with minimal interference by the so-called "suits". One of the more interesting attempts at providing something new this month was Alpha 15: Reform School Girls by debut director Cat P., the gal best known for her weird Behind the Scenes work on another flick. The movie is a science fiction send up of a future when women rule the world and are required by law to act on their sexual impulses. The year is 2969 and Justine Joli stars as virginal Emily, a repressed gal sent to a reformatory prison called Alpha 15 until she can freely enjoy her gifts openly with other ladies. The plot was minimal but the sex was hot so here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting there was no need for condoms:

Scene One: The Junior Guard Training: Daisy Layne and Vanessa Lynn, two relatively new gals to porn, were up first as they played futuristic prison guards ready to enjoy some of the pleasures of the prison with each other on a red couch. They might not be considered top flight hotties in the industry at this time but I had no doubt that they were into the action with one another, despite the garish make up, weird lighting and camera effects, and mixture of vocals and music. I'm not a fan of modern "Alt" porn as a general rule but I apply the same standards in terms of appreciating it; are the ladies having fun and does the camera catch the moment in such a way that I can get off to it? Thankfully, I could answer in the affirmative in both cases with the lesbian action coming off much more like real lesbian fun than 95% or more of modern porn shot in the Valley. They savored the taste of each other, displayed some playful antics, and used some of the coolest glass dildos (from Phallix, I believe) as they took plenty of time to get each other off. I wouldn't want a steady diet of this kind of thing but it was a hot change of pace that I found most strokable.

Scene Two: Emily's Old Roommate Fantasy: Justine Joli, the petite redhead lead of the movie and curvier brunette Genesis Skye, were up next in the shower as they got dirty and clean at the same time. It was fun and I never got the impression that the ladies were performing so much as trying to get each other off (placing their own pleasure secondary). This continued the theme started in the last scene with a lot of attention placed on letting the gals find their own way. The use of the glass door enhanced some of the visuals for me with the emphasis being on using their hands and toys to drive it home, though Justine was a net receiver as Genesis was clearly in charge the entire scene. The ending rubbing and stroking seemed realistic to the point that other than the difficult leg positioning (and momentary glance at the camera by Justine), I would have believed the voyeur-cam to have slipped upon a couple of gals really doing it for their own pleasure and not the gay for pay lesbian action many of us appreciate just the same.

Scene Three: Emily's Voyeur Fantasy: Jayna Oso, dressed up in black fetish attire, and Jezebelle Bond, the hotty on the front DVD cover (I wondered why she was there instead of Justine) in a fishnet body stocking, were up next in a dark, grainy setting that appeared to be largely lit by the candles along the wall. On a purely technical level, I hated the scene because of the jerky camera movement, the unbalanced lighting, the slow music, and numerous other factors that bugged me but the more I watched it, the more it grew on me as having substantial replay value. The previous scenes also employed techniques not to my liking yet they weren't nearly as far off from what I'd call "mainstream porn" as this one. All three shared the same realistic dynamic of ladies enjoying themselves with one another; using much more raw energy and far less a sense of staged sex then I'm used to, with the unpredictable result of being very strokable for lesbian fans. The sex itself was straightforward with licking, toys, and rubbing but I had fun (and seeing a bit of extra footage of Justine masturbating as she watched was interesting too).

Scene Four: Emily's Poke-Her Fantasy: Gia Jordan, a babe by any standard, cute Hailey Young, and lead Justine Joli, were all up next in a scenario centering on a card game. The stakes were high and Justine dropped her royal straight flush to become the plaything of her two attractive pals. The camel toe action, kissing, and usual lesbian antics were far stronger lit this time; to the point where they were washed out somewhat. Still, I was pleased to say that the ladies displayed a sense of urgency as they licked and pawed at one another in the den, never letting up as they sought to further their own needs as well as the needs of their partners. There was some spanking, toy use (including a technical DP), and spitting but if regular porn is considered guerilla filmmaking, this was in a class all to itself. The ladies had a lot of chemistry together and Gia led the pack as far as I was concerned, but the heat was just as evident as in the previous scenes with a bit more spark this time to enjoy.

Scene Five: Initiation of Emily To Pl1969: Justine Joli, now rehabilitated in her metallic bikini, was to be cast out of her newfound Eden so she refused to leave and guard Daisy Layne was sent to handle the matter. Like you would expect, this led to the duo doing each other in the fashion already established by the previous scenes. The one noteworthy difference this time was how the pair didn't seem as into the sex as some of the other scenes showed the cast. This was not to say they weren't having any fun but it wasn't as evident this time and the stroke value of the scene was only fair. Still, one scene not quite up to snuff out of five isn't a bad ratio when speaking about fuck for the buck and it was okay in most ways as the gals licked and poked each other soundly.

Summary: Alpha 15: Reform School Girls was too short for my tastes and had technical values that could only be described reasonably as requiring an acquired taste but the level of true lesbian lust, the cast, and the heat generated in the name of porn was well worth a rating of Recommended to me. There were scores of rough edges in need of polishing up but the movie struck me as a return to a time twenty years ago when the idea of porn was focused less on technical perfection than on the underlying heat of the scenes. I got the impression that almost every gal in the movie either got off or could have done so if she wanted to, making this a return to the so-called "old ways" as much as opening a new style as some of the alt-porn marketers would suggest. In short, Alpha 15: Reform School Girls was wacky, wild, and weird but its heart was in the right place in terms of giving the consumer an alternative to the slickly produced titles littering the landscape and the inclusion of Antonio Passolini's Lezbo A Go-Go enhanced the value of the package a whole lot. I look forward to seeing what Cat will offer up next given the strengths of this one.

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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