Anyone even remotely familiar with the so called golden age of adult filmmaking knows who Harry Reems is, right? Sure! He's the guy from Deep Throat who helped show the late, great Linda Lovelace where it's at. Even people not into smut pictures recognize Mr. Reems and his monstrous moustache, he is one of the most instantly recognizable male adult film stars of all time. Even though he's been out of the business for closing in on two decades or so by this point, his enduring popularity continues thanks for that one little film that made him a household name (he's now supposedly selling real estate in Utah) - but Reems did more than just stick his cock down Linda Lovelace's throat. Quite a bit more.
Sex Wish (it's no coincidence that the title bears a little bit of similarity to a certain Michael Winner directed Charles Bronson film from a year or two earlier...) finds Reems playing Mr. Kenneth Bradshaw, a suit and tie attorney guy who is eagerly awaiting his marriage to Fay (C. J. Laing). One fine morning, after an evening of passionate bumping and grinding, Kenneth heads off to work and runs into a weirdo (Zebedy Colt) in the hallway. He thinks nothing of it, and off he goes, but soon after his departure he finds out that the very same weirdo tossed a nylon stocking over his face, forced his way into his apartment that morning and raped and killed his lovely fiancÚ (all shown in graphic, unflinching detail).
Kenneth comes home to find her lying on the floor, dead, and obviously raped, and he swears revenge on the sonuvabitch who was responsible for this. He decides to dish out his own brand of justice, and he heads out into the streets of seventies era New York City to track the bastard down and make him pay.
As Kenneth tracks the killer through the city, he stops to have a three way with a black chick and a white chick, while the killer breaks into a black couples apartment. The woman (credited as Candy Love) and the man (credited as Ronnie Love, and looking very much like Rudy Ray Moore from the Dolemite films) are forced to have sex for the intruder as he watches. Once they're done the dirty deed, he chops off buddy's ding-dong and kills the pair of young lovebirds in cold blood.
Will Kenneth ever track down the heartless raping and killing machine prowling the streets and making the city unsafe for men and women alike, or will he run around and score with more and more chicks? You'll have to watch Sex Wish all the way to the end (a chore for some porn watchers, especially in today's age of gonzo!) to find out.
-- sponsored by --
Alright, so it's kind of (well, not kind of, it is!) a Death Wish rip off on one level, but Sex Wish isn't a half bad film, with or without the hardcore sex scenes in it. Zebedy Colt, a fine director in his own right and the star of classics like Seka Is Tera and The Devil Inside Her, is absolutely diabolically insane as rapist - shrieking and flipping out while he does his thing with a nylon stocking pulled over his head to give him that desperate criminal look. He just exudes filthiness and depravity in every scene, especially the final one where Reems chases him through an underground tunnel, pistol drawn and loaded (and no, that's not an allegorical phallic reference, he really does pull a gun on him). Reems actually manages to show a little range and plays his role pretty straight for the most part. If you've only seen him in Deep Throat, where he does it all with a wink and a nod, it's actually a little off putting to see him pissed off and out for revenge though if you've seen him in Forced Entry you know the man can 'bring the heavy' when he needs to. Colt is the real reason to watch this one though, and at times, he even manages to be just a little too convincing and his performance actually borders on truly frightening. If you've ever heard his album of gay lounge music (he was openly homosexual), I'll Sing For You, all of which is cheery and at times quite sweet, you'll find yourself wondering how he wound up playing this part but Colt is a man of many talents to be sure.
Aside from the two male leads, there are some great sex sirens in the film as well. Pretty, perky C. J. Laing (ofAnyone But My Husband, Vixens Of Kung Fu and the almighty Costello/Gillis masterpiece that is Water Power) and Reems have a lengthy scene at the beginning on the film, and Terri Hall (from The Opening Of Misty Beethoven) shows up towards the end to lend the film her much appreciated charm.
So basically, you've got some really grisly and uncomfortable rape scenes taking place, and Harry Reems chasing Zebedy Colt through the streets of mid-70s New York City? Yep. And with some hot women running around and periodically having sex on camera. But there's a little more to Sex Wish than just that. It has a sort of realism to it that a lot of porn films can't really muster. A lot of this is due to the pacing of the film - it moves along very quickly, even during the non-sex scenes - and a lot of it is due to the locations used, as pretty much everywhere Reems goes on his quest for revenge is gritty and grimy looking.
Directed by Victor Milk or, if you prefer, Milton Vickers (the film notes infer that the Tim McCoy name sometimes associated with the film is an alias), this is a grizzly, nasty little rape revenge film that contains a couple of nicely executed and reasonably erotic sex scenes and just as many gut wrenching and nasty rape scenes as well. The final scene is quite tense and actually fairly artistic in its layout, and especially in its lighting. The lounge where it's all taking place is lit with some nice colors that really do a pretty good job of not only complimenting the action but also of framing the performance going on during this scene (which in and of itself is kind of strange, but it works somehow). Look out for Robert Kerman (a.k.a. Robert Bolla) from Cannibal Holocaust in a small and un-credited role as a New York City police detective working on the case.
Sex Wish appears here on DVD in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. Previously available on DVD from Alpha Blue Archives, the picture on this VCX release is definitely better. The previous disc featured very heavy motion blurring and was soft as soft could be and while this disc is still not perfect, it's a bit step up in terms of quality. Despite the fact that a 'copyright VCX 2009' but shows up on the title card at the beginning of the movie and again a couple of times throughout the movie (you'll notice it in the scene where Colt forces the black couple to have sex in front of him), the picture is at least stable. Color fading is noticeable and detail is soft but for an older micro budget 16mm production the movie is at least perfectly watchable. Don't expect to marvel over the detail or the remarkable clarity, it won't happen, but this is so far the best that the movie has looked on home video. Oddly enough both the ABA release and the VCX release feature the same weird hair in the frame during the scene where Colt takes care of Laing, indicating that this defect may be on the negative.
The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack, dubbed into English, is a little muffled and not of the best quality, but again, it's taken from an older source so the limitations of the era's technology are going to be there when that's the case. Dialogue is pretty easy to understand, however, and the background music comes through reasonably clear. There aren't a lot of sound effects used in the film, mostly just some random moaning and groaning during the action scenes and these are handled just fine, as are the talkier bits of the movie - there's nothing to complain about here. Don't expect wonders but you'll be able to follow the movie without any problems.
Four bonus scenes kick off the supplements, so be on the lookout for brief fuck scenes from Girls Of Treasure Island, Lorelei, Peek Freak and Pleasure Palace. Rounding out the extras are a Legendary Tribute clip reel (a few minutes worth of highlights from various VCX titles set to music and presented without any context) trailers for Girls With Curves, Nothing To Hide, Eruption and Pink Champagne as well as some animated menus, scene selection and a web-link. All of this material has appeared on other recent VCX remasters and it's annoying to see it repeated time and again. The ABA release featured the original trailer for Sex Wish and some clips from Colt's own Unwilling Lovers - it might not have been much but at least it was semi-related to the film, whereas nothing on this disc is at all.
A truly twisted 'roughie' classic, Sex Wish might not be a particularly original film but it's definitely an interesting one made all the more watchable thanks to some great performances from the stoic and tough Reems and the completely insane Zebedy Colt. The VCX DVD looks okay when all things are considered and while the extras aren't all that impressive, the movie holds up really well and comes recommended.