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Studio: Video Team » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 3/2/04

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

GENRE: Straight Feature
LENGTH: 133 mins with bonus material

There is an old saying that goes something like this: a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years will end up with one of them writing the great American novel. Or Hamlet. Or a season of Friends. The same can be said about the porn industry. A thousand directors casting a thousand actors and actresses in a thousand reverse cowgirl scenes may actually end up making a decent, non-derivative film. Back in the good old days of porn, filmmakers strove to make...films. Actually, that's a bit of a stretch. Even the pros from way back when would argue that narrative based movies were nothing more than excuses for several scenes of naughty hi-jinx. But today, with our digital desktop technology able to turn any wet wannabe into an adult movie maverick, the compilation is king. In either its created (get a few pals and some available pussy together and crank out the carnality) or "found" form (buy out a struggling business and place their product in easily digestible, nugget form) the comp makes sound financial sense. Give the customer endless hours of range riding and doggie disco sequences and they'll keep "cumming" back for more. But what about those adult auteurs that want to make something a little more special. What about the guy who wants to sacrifice sex scenes for a coherent story, strong characters and a moving bit of mise-en-scene? Well, that person was nowhere near Santeria when it was made. Though director David Aaron Clark tries to create something unusual here, all he produces is a compilation in feature film's clothing. It's very well done and arousing as Hell, but it's not a real movie.

The DVD:
To use the jargon of the genre, Santeria is a clothesline production. For those outside the know, this means that the storyline surrounding Santy and her lovely ladies of lust is merely an excuse for hanging five heavy-duty hardcore scenes onto. We never get beyond buzzwords and cryptic titles cards, with suggestions of witchcraft, angels, protective spirits and ritualistic sex. The plot, for want of a better word, is supposed to be about an investigative reporter (Kimmy Kahn) who along with her cameraman (Tyler Wood) is doing a feature on Madam Santeria (Daisy) and her House of Ill Repute (featuring Kayla Marie, Shawnie, Nautica Thorn and Eva Angelina) somewhere in L.A. Apparently, Santeria is a sorceress or some kind of magic maker who taps into men's inner fantasies and releases them via bold faced fucking. The guys apparently have their metaphysical prioritizes "realigned" by the potent pussies of Ms. S.

We begin with a rock star that talks directly into the camera, ranting about how he wants to fuck Santeria. Cut to a scene of the reporter and her cameraman working out an introduction near the whorehouse. After this, the plot kind of fizzles. Each scene represents a fantasy. Santeria or the ladies fulfill them. Dream. Suck. Fuck. On to the next bit of business. There are occasional linking bits (the reporter interviews a reluctant, sly Santy, the cameraman stumbles upon some action in progress) but after the initial inserts, it's mostly all about the bonking. The individual scenes here are broken down as follows:

Scene 1: Daisy, Brian Surewood
3o mins
Talk about your premature cinematic ejaculation! If Santeria had been this pussy pounding and erotic the entire way through, it would be one of the greatest pornographic experiences ever. As it stands, we get the best scene first and have to suffer through the law of diminishing returns the rest of the way. To follow along the loose premise, Surewood is a rock star that wants to be a werewolf, or at least fuck like a werewolf, or something that makes about as much sense. Santeria, as the queen of fantasy fulfillment, straps him to a table, muzzles and handcuffs him and then teases the shit out of his sexuality as she strips and sticks her cunt right in his manacled mug. He strains and struggles just to get a sniff of that stuff, but she pulls a master/slave routine on his rotund ass (Mr. Surewood is sure plump) and continues the mockery. Next she gets one of those oversized vibrators with the rabbit on the shaft and twirling pearly beads around the middle and makes that puppy do puss-ups. After a session with the silly rabbit, it's time to get down to business. She removes Brian's muzzle and they kiss. Then she places her snatch where her soul kiss used to be and Brian dives right in. After a series of camera tricks and slow motion dissolves, it's back to the action. Daisy grabs a mouth full of cock and the couple engages in 69. Daisy's tongue stud is a featured performer along Brian's baloney.

Daisy finally gets off Brian, unlocks her lover and gets him horizontal on the table. She then straddles his pelvis and rubs his balls with her pussy, massaging them nice and slow. Then she climbs on top his hard shaft and rides the poor bastard into oblivion. She is very loud and he seems to be enjoying it as well. The tables (and bodies) turn and Brian now has Daisy in a standing scissors. You can sense he's working at something, and what that thing is becomes clear in the next sequence. While straddling a pummel horse, Brian takes her from behind and with definite upward thrusts, builds the babe into several squishy vaginal orgasms. While not as liquid as others in the industry, these are still some amazing shots. It's wild to watch Daisy's facial features as the penis penetrates and finds it mysterious mark. Brian has finally had enough juice loosening and uncorks a decent delivery of semen all over Daisy's dainty face. As stated before, this is a half hour of horn hardening hardcore. Both actors are stupendous, giving their all and trying things that you aren't used to seeing in adult scenes. The passion sizzles off the screen and (as a bonus) there is not a reverse cowgirl shot anywhere to be seen. Definitely delivers a lot of bang for the cinematic fuck buck. 9.5/10

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Scene 2: Carlton Banks, Kayla Marie, Shawnie
17 mins
Carlton is supposed to be either a boxer with dreams of making a comeback, or just some puffy brother who thinks that boxing would be a good move, pussy wise. Either way, he gets his wanton wish when Kayla and Shawnie show up and start massaging his doughy chest (Carlton, like Brian, needs to avoid the craft services table before shooting his scenes). Kayla and Shawnie define the fine line between porn star attractive and trailer park skank. There is no middle ground. You'll either find them sexy as shit or repugnant as an overflowing septic tank. There is some three-way foreplay with lots of kiss, cuddling, spanking and pud puckers. Then both ladies lunge for the loaf and suck the softness out of it. Once Carlton gets going, though, the scene becomes a little muddled. There is constant switching off between the two girls, so unless you know who's who (the color of their costumes helps) you might get disoriented. Carlton first teaches the woman in red (Kayla) about the ways of the dog. She responds by going cat as purple Shawnie's pussy becomes her favorite mid-backdoor snack. Somehow, this tableau ends up in a session of group oral and 69 (with the additional digit, wouldn't it be something more like 169, 669 or 969?).

Next, Shawnie straddles Carl's cock, non-cowgirl style while Kayla finds a seat on his face. Soon, it's musical mounts as the purple pussy finds a lip lap to straddle and Shawnie hikes her red "rose" onto the overworked wand, backwards western like. In order to finish his fucking, Carlton goes back to the tried and true bow-wow wonderment and it's not long before he's blowing his bounty onto both ladies satisfied faces. Part of the problem with this scene is, aside from coming (no pun intended) after Scene 1, is that it is kind of a let down. Carlton is a very average looking guy, his young sex buddies are equally an acquired taste and overall, they don't make for very erotic bed bouncing. Still, there is some rather hot lesbian action between the ladies and Carlton can pump like a pro. Anyone who muses on ménage a trios can live vicariously through this scene. 6.5/10

Scene 3: Nautica Thorn, Brian Henson
30 mins
It's hard to imagine that any ex-military man has a fantasy about being a POW, but that is the setup here. Brian plays the infamous "Colonel" a man who likes his meat pounding on the geopolitical side. Trapped in a cage that looks like a go-go dancer's hand me down, Brian tries to act "terrorized" as Nautica begins a faux interrogation that has a lot of wonderfully formulaic banter. Apparently, all the yacking is code for "give me a hand job" because that's what Nautica does to GI Joke, right through the bars of the cell. Eventually, they reach their own version of the Paris Peace Accords. Nautica lets her captive free and he celebrates by munching down on her mons. Then she upholds her end of the bargain by blowing him six ways to sundown. After mouthing off, Brian shows her who the top dog is before picking up the lithe lady and giving her a standing rib roasting. The perpendicular porking turns into a bone on the range as those ever-blue cowgirls get a reverse role call. Nautica puts a spin on things by actually turning around and enjoying the female superior position. Brian accepts the change up with a series of casual ass slaps. He jumps on top and bangs her like Baghdad after George Bush Jr. took office. She surrenders and accepts his terms for orgasm unconditionally. Which means she sucks his cock until he shoots all over her chest.

There is a nice chemistry between Nautica and Brian. They let the scene build up nicely and don't rush into things. Sometimes, the acts can go on to long (the reverse cowgirl seems to last forever) but they do work up quite a bit of heat and sensuality. Brian is also our first halfway decent looking guy in the flick, so this ups the ladies' liquid level dramatically. Overall it is one of the better moments in the film. 7.5/10

Scene 4: Kimmy Kahn, Daisy
13 mins
Here's the good news. It's a full out lesbian scene with massive strap-on dildo action. Here's the bad news. It's a full out lesbian scene with massive strap-on dildo action. Apparently, Kimmy's fantasy is to be fucked by a limp piece of plastic, since that is what happens for the last ten minutes of this 13-minute scene. The penetration is weak since the fake phallus is so squishy. Many times, our willing women struggle to get the bendable appendage to stay "inside". Still, the set up and the execution make the failed final efforts more than worth it. Kimmy and Daisy really enjoy each other, seeming very focused on some fun and fucking. Their foreplay is intense and when Kimmy gets on all fours to suck a little droopy dick, it still looks pretty sexy. The pussy penetration begins with some dysfunctional doggie. Then there is some of the worst, most miserable reverse cowgirl ever. Instead of standing straight and tall and going in and out, the ersatz cock goes side to side. Ow! Daisy finally takes charge, climbs on top and tries a little deep penetration. She is semi-successful. Since we are dealing with a dong stand-in, there is no money shot. But the gals seem to savor the detachable dick when it's over, as if to say a job almost well done. If their prop had been more co-operative, this scene would have excelled. Kimmy gives good response and she really sells the interplay between them. Daisy is back in Scene 1 domination mode and it adds another dimension to the scene. Good, but could have been great. 7.5/10

Scene 5: Eva Angelina, Tyler Wood
27 mins The final fuckathon on this DVD is an equally intense, limited position exercise in stamina and control that ends up being a tad anticlimactic. Tyler is the cameraman from the main storyline and his fantasy is apparently to be...a rabbit (?). This big, muscular black man wants to be a bunny? A Hare? The main ingredient in hasenpfeffer? Anyway, he is in a low cage on the ground. He is naked. Eva comes in dressed like a little schoolgirl (even though she hasn't seen a classroom since Daddy Bush was in the White House) and tries to force-feed the dude a carrot. As she torments him, he says he'd rather eat something else. She sits her nude bottom on the top of the cage and Tyler does a little tongue tango with the wench's wetlands. Aroused, she lets him out of the cage and sucks on his parsnip for a while. Then we get to the rote material. She climbs on his skin scarecrow to do a little turned around saddle bagging. Then she does the top directional attack to end up in the traditional female superior stance. More throbbing and thrusting. Tyler moves her over to a lab table (the setting is indeed some sort of weird science area) and gives her a heavy hounding. This doggie is interrupted for a small portion of peter puffing. Then it's back to the puppy pounding. This interchange goes on for a while until Tyler is ready to cum. He unloads all over Eva's face and mouth and she seems to love it. For all the bumping and grinding, this scene should have been better. It's as if the director had simply run out of ideas and said "Ok..doggie...Ok, now blowjob...and now back to doggie. Not very ingenious and as a result, only partially exciting. 5.5/10

As an attempt at a narrative, Santeria never holds together. The ominous title cards with the weird, quasi-religious and supernatural shit printed all over them are never explained nor really incorporated into the onscreen shenanigans. The whole investigative journalism angle is tossed aside almost immediately (save for an unintentionally hilarious scene of Kimmy Kahn trying to create an introduction to her muckraking piece). Everything about this movie screams "feature" when it's just a compilation of rather good scenes held together by some connective tissue. Either way, Santeria is more about the sex than the storytelling. Or the acting. Frankly, porn stars aren't supposed to be able to perform in any realistic fashion other than between the sheets. If they can sell that, fuck the rest. But there are exchanges of dialogue and "fantasy" scenes to play out and the attempts at thespian theatrics are just incredibly lame. Many times you can watch the cast as they read cue cards or look at idiot sheets in their lap. David Aaron Clark is to be commended for putting together a few original, erotic scenes with some real personality and passion. He doesn't hit a home run each time, but his technique and his camerawork are excellent.

The Video:
Shot on digital video and mastered directly to DVD, this presentation by Video Team is, for the most part, very professional. There are a couple of moments (during a suggestive, seductive dance) where the red of a backlit scrim bleeds and flares all over the image. You can barely tell what is going on. But that is a minor moment in what is, overall, a clear and colorful 1.33:1 full screen transfer. With vibrant fleshtones and excellent lighting in the more "close-up" moments, this is one DVD that sells the sex well.

The Audio:
Commenting on the quality of the sound in a porno is like asking an audience member if they liked what the mime had to say in his post-performance interview. You don't give a crap if the dialogue is clear (which it is here) or if the music is better than most of the meandering key-boredom that passes for soundtracks nowadays. All you are interested in is if the adult dynamics, like orgasm ecstasy and male moaning are easily understood. So just relax. The Dolby Digital Stereo is fine and the screams and squeals of the cast are captured in an acceptable aural offering.

The Extras:
The main extra here is a behind the scenes featurette that lasts for about 23 minutes. It features interviews with the cast before and after their scenes (mostly before) and they give some frank and honest answers about the life of a porn star (when asked about his quasi-bondage attire in his scene, Brian Surewood says he "hated that shit"). The rest of the cast is equally open, discussing all facets of the shoot, from waiting around to uncomfortable positions. It's a nice detail and adds some insight into modern porn movie making. The rest of the bonus material is throwaway junk like trailers (which, surprisingly, aren't very good) for the films Driving Ms. Daisy, Asian Noir 2, United Colors of Ass 2 and Mamacitas. The gallery contains just a small number of onset shots. The bios are measurement and weight style scorecards and the website information is an address line. And let's not forget, just like every other corporate entity, there is a group of phone sex ads (again, Why?).

Final Thoughts:
So the monkeys win this one. They are still trying to get their own simian Shakespeare off the keyboard with a banana and a prayer while the adult industry wallows in static scene compilation-itis. Certainly there are porno big wigs out there in the ever increasing video universe making "movies" instead of masturbation fodder (of course, it's great when it's both), but the bottom line is that imagination and merit have been given the heavy ho for the more simplified clothesline technique. Santeria strives to be something unique, especially when it offers up mystical mantras and little nasty nuances within the sex sequences. But it is really nothing more than a series of erotic copulations, albeit very good ones, that don't create a real narrative structure. It will definitely get the old Johnson jacked up and earns a nicely satisfied 8/10 on the Disco Dirge Peter Meter. As for the viability for couples, it is a safe bet that some or all of this movie will lead to some interpersonal ping pong, so a Cohabitation Certification is easily awarded. Perhaps the porn industry is going about it all wrong. Maybe they should have a staff of chimps cranking out their creative canoodling that passes for plot. While Santeria is nowhere near baboon buffoonish, it sure could use some manner of mammalian script doctoring.

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