Kay Parker had made a few adult films since starting in 1977 at the age of 33 years old (which was unusually old by industry standards) but it was the 1980 VCX production, Taboo, directed by Kirdy Stevens, that made her a star. Parker, with her subtle and sexy English accent and large, natural breasts really embodied the 'hot mom' that many younger men seem drawn to and it's for that reason that she's the perfect choice to play the lead in this film, which obviously deals with the truly taboo theme of incest. While there had been plenty of porno movies made about this type of family affair before Taboo came along, this was the first to really qualify as a blockbuster as most of them were really low budget, almost underground productions stemming from the seedy side of the New York City porno scene of the seventies. Stevens' film presented the subject in a more serious manner, and also in a more sensual one dealing with Freudian themes and the repercussions of what can happen to a mother and son who dare to take their relationship to the next level.
Parker plays Barbara Scott, a woman who has recently gone through a divorce and finds herself single again. Like most women her age, Barbara has needs and so she tries to find a new man to fill the void that her ex has left. The film opens with Parker fucking Turk Lyon (her ex) in her bedroom but once it's over, he does leave her for his secretary. The next morning, Parker, in her nightgown, is making breakfast for her son, Paul (Mike Ranger). Paul is no stranger to the ways of love, and we soon see eating Dorothy Le May's pussy while the two of them are supposed to be studying. He pulls his cock out and she gives him head, then Tawny Pearl walks in on them. They bust into a three-way, with both women servicing the lucky bastard before he fucks them both.
From there, mother and son have a talk about their day. It turns out that Barbara got a job and that Paul doesn't need to worry about school because she's made sure that his father is going to help out with the finances. The next day Barbara is at work where she winds up fending off sexual advances from her boss (Michael Morrison). She quits, or it looks like she's going to until he apologizes. Meanwhile, Gina (Juliet Anderson) is fucking Don Fernando and Miko Yani who are sharing the pussy eating chores. The girls eat one another out and then Don fucks Miko's pussy before moving on to Anderson's snatch.
Meanwhile, back at the Scott home, Paul walks in on his mother in the shower and, unbeknownst to her, really likes what he sees. He watches her get dressed and is obviously excited by her. Barbara heads out for the night and leaves Paul studying with Dorothy again, and now that he's all turned out, he can't wait to eat her pussy. They move into a sixty-nine, and then she rides him cowgirl style before pulling out and popping into her open mouth. Mom, on the other hand, has gone to a party where Brooke West, Gary Eberhart, Jesse Adams, Jeff Scott, Jeremia Jones, Ken Scudder, Lee LeMay, Holly McCall, Sarah Harris, Starr Wood, T.J. Carson, and Valerie Darlyn are all hanging out. Soon enough they all start kissing and fondling each other and an orgy breaks out, everyone sucking on everyone else in a giant daisy-chain fuck wheel. Parker isn't interested, fending off advances from a blonde hippy, and after watching every one else fuck until they can't fuck any more, her date for the evening drives her home. When she gets there, she can't take it anymore and she sees Paul lying in bed. She starts to suck his dick (and you've got to hand it to her, she does a great job here), and he wakes up, not in the least bit upset to find his mother hanging off of his dong. She climbs on top of him and rides him cowgirl style, and then he fucks her missionary style. He puts it between her big tits and she sucks the head and after that he shoots his load on her neck.
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With the two of them having broken the ultimate taboo, Barbara decides to head off to work the next morning but she does leave him a note saying she wants to talk to him about it when she gets home. Cut to the office where Barbara can't concentrate. She and her boss go for a walk to unwind and it looks like the two of them might be falling for one another. She comes home after her day out to talk to Paul, but he doesn't want to hear it – he wants to fuck her again. She fights his advances at first but soon she can't help herself and once he's gotten her warmed up he eats her out before fucking her while spooning. He does her missionary style then pulls out and shoots onto her tits. Barbara heads over to her friend Gina's house to talk to her about what's happened and as Barbara confesses she watches Gina finger herself and as Barbara keeps talking, she works herself to an orgasm.
Barbara leaves Gina's place, pissed off that her friend wouldn't help, and as soon as she splits Gina starts fucking herself again. From there, we see Barbara having dinner Paul and her boss who tells the two of them that he wants to take them away for the weekend. Paul leaves the table, obviously upset, and once the two of them are alone Morrison wastes no time making his move. They head to the bedroom and disrobe, and Barbara rides his face. They sixty-nine for a bit, until he comes. After they sex, they talk in the bed and Barbara tells him that she is going to live her life her way from now on, and the end credits play out.
An interesting cast, a reasonably intelligent storyline and a truly controversial subject make Taboo a classic. Parker has the right kind of sexual charisma required to carry the film and her two scenes with Ranger are highlights of the movie in spite of (or perhaps because of) the risqué elements that they contain. While the movie could have dealt more with the ramifications and guilt that both parties would likely feel, this is a porno film after all and you can't really fault it for not being as deep as it probably should have been. Kirdy directs with some flair and the cinematography is definitely better than average as it does a fine job of capturing the San Francisco locations where the story plays out.
The 1.33.1 fullframe transfer presents the film in its original aspect ratio. The picture isn't bad, but it could have been better (flagging it for progressive scan playback would have helped). Some dirt and debris is present throughout and the colors have faded a little bit but other than that the image is reasonably strong. Black levels are a little murky but certainly no worse than most porno movies made around the same time. There's a decent level of detail here, and while it would have been nice to see a truly re-mastered picture for this release, it certainly could have looked a lot worse.
The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is fine with only a few faint instances where you'll pick up on any hiss or distortion. The soundtrack is mixed in with the performers and the dialogue quite nicely and nothing winds up buried. It isn't a fancy track, but it certainly gets the job done without any major issues.
The main extra features on this disc are the two commentary tracks, the first of which is with director Kirdy Stevens who covers the history of the film. Kirdy is joined here by writer/producer Helen Terrie. This is a little slow at times but Kirdy has some interesting trivia and stories to tell, explaining how Turk Lyon got his name and how he went about casting the film. He talks about meeting Dorothy Le May and how Jesse St. James was initially wanted for the lead role that finally wound up with Kay Parker. Stevens, interestingly enough, never wanted his female performers to swear in the film, stating that what you see on camera should be enough. They talk about why certain angles were used for certain scenes and where various scenes were shot (parts were shot in a real estate office!). There's some dead air here and there, unfortunately, but when the two of them are talking this is an interesting look back at the making of the movie. Terrie talks about the fact that many producers concentrate more on the stills so that the box art will be strong and that copies will move but with this film they concentrated more on the shooting of the film, which resulted in having to come back and shoot some stills after the fact. Stevens obviously put a lot of thought into the color schemes that we see in the movie, using orange and red to make things look 'hot' in various intervals. The two even talk about how Boogie Nights borrows from Mike Ranger's life and how he looks 'pretty' and 'sincere' when he's interacting with Kay Parker's character.
The second audio commentary features Kay Parker herself. Again, there are a few too many stretches of dead air on this track, but when Parker has something to say it is worth listening to. She talks about working with a few of her co-stars on this picture and how professional many of them were. She also talks about where various scenes were shot and what it was like working on the movie. She doesn't lend a lot of insight into the picture but she does tell some decent stories even if the moderator, who more or less mutters in the background, should have done a better job of prodding for information and keeping her on track. Parker is critical of her performance at times, explaining that much of the movie was done using only one or two takes. She points out that the movie is, to an extent, a commentary on how times and society as a whole had changed around the time that this film was shot. Her memory is spotty at times, and she's honest about that, though she has no problem pointing out a sleazy cast member or two when the time comes. The most interesting part of the commentary is when Parker talks about when she was confronted on a talk show by a group of religious people in San Francisco who wanted the film banned and how a few other people rose to the movie's defense.
Also of interest to fans of classic adult cinema will be the Interview With Kay Parker (7:17), who still looks gorgeous. She talks about how the film has become a cult classic and elaborates on why she thinks this is. She talks about how she joined an improvisational acting group which lead to her meeting John Leslie who introduced her to the world of adult filmmaking in San Francisco. Her first appearance in an adult movie was a non-sex role, but from there she went full tilt into hardcore and how it was difficult at first to actually fuck on camera because she started to panic a little bit. She talks about how she met Kirdy Stevens and how she was impressed enough with the script for Taboo that she was interested in taking the role and the rest is history. She claims to have no regrets, and comes across as a smart and intelligent woman who knew exactly what she was doing on camera. Parker also talks about which co-stars she slept with on camera made it feel natural and which ones did not, pointing out that the more natural scenes turned out better than the other ones.
Rounding out the extra features on this release are a still gallery of eleven images from the film, trailers for Taboo (2:16, featuring some great trashy narration), Taboo II (a length 4:39, featuring more trashy narration which plays up the 'hotness' and 'depravity' of incest) and Taboo: Playing With Fire (4:37, with more goofy narration from the same guy who narrated the other two trailers), menus and chapter selection. The disc is housed inside a keepcase which in turn fits inside a cardboard slipcase featuring the same cover art on the front in black and white instead of in color.
A historically important film that benefits from a fantastic performance from the always sexy Kay Parker, Taboo is not only erotic it's also quite interesting. Standard Digital could have done a better job with the video but the two commentaries are a nice touch as is the interview with Kay. Recommended.