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Frank Castle's The New Neighbors

Studio: SLLAB » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 10/8/06

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Genre: Straight Feature
Director: Frank Castle
Cast:: Linda Roberts, Nikki Hunter, Haley Page, Tyla Wynn, Barbara Summer, Brooke, August, Mike Horner, Randy Spears, Jack Venice, Tommy Gunn, Steven St. Croix, Kyle Stone, Jerry, Kyle Moore, E. Z. Duzit (non-sex role)
Length: 155 mins
Production Date: 2006


In a Nutshell - A Major Mainstream Wannabe
Two things immediately strike you about The New Neighbors. One, director Frank Castle is obviously desperate to differentiate his efforts from one featuring the hand held gonzo-like camerawork we are used to in standard straight pornography. He uses crane shots and creative angles, as well as applying a mainstream mise-en-scene to most of this dialogue and sex sequences. This gives the overall narrative a wholly cinematic quality that comes across remarkably well in the 1.85:1 non-anamorphic letterboxed transfer. Secondly, there is an actual neighborhood location used, which gives the film a real logistical legitimacy. The only trouble is, the sonics almost sink the entire project. Most of the conversations appear dubbed, voices not matching the mouths during line readings. This is especially prominent during the first hour or so. Even worse, Castle has decided to limit all underscoring to only a couple of minor moments in the narrative, as well as during the diddling. This means that some parts of the film long passages of action and discussion pass by in deadly dull silence. Not the best way to build atmosphere and mood in your attempted motion picture.

In a Nutshell - Sadly Lacking the Necessary Bonus Elements
When you discover that Castle is trying to revitalize the '70s and '80s style of story oriented porn, when you understand that there is more exposition than erotica contained in the 155 minute running time, when you see that many of the stars are longtime players in the adult industry, the first thing your added content considerations call for is a Behind the Scenes featurette. As an audience, we would love to see how the storyline was developed, how the older actors worked with the younger performers and visa versa. It would be nice to hear Castle discuss his rationale for reverting to the past for his XXX material, and watching professional fuckers fiddle with pages of complicated dialogue is always fun. Sadly, we are stuck with a photo gallery, a trailer for the film and a weird six minute selection of sonic bump and grind read: sex scene music accompanied by an image of a roaring fire. That's it. Once viewed, you soon realize that The New Neighbors needed much more context than the little amount actually provided.



First Impressions:
As someone who has constantly harped on the lack of legitimate story in your so-called straight feature adult title, the Dirge feels like eating a little critical crow right about now. Perhaps a better way to articulate this argument is to say that, instead of the standard clothesline approach to porn a basic narrative upon which sex scenes can be hung like illicit laundry filmmakers should strive to (a) write really good stories and (b) find inventive ways to work in the wantonness the fanbase so craves. This is the fatal flaw in Frank Castle's retro reinvention of the pre-video plot-driven dicking of the '70s and '80s entitled The New Neighbors. It is safe to say that there is a ridiculously unbalanced ratio of two to one in this lopsided lewdness, and its story, not sucking and fucking that wins out. Even with eight scenes timing out at about 10 to 15 minutes each, this still means we have nearly 40 minutes to an hour of non-naughty narrative to contend with. Had Castle created something other than your standard evil infiltrates the suburbs, turning nice families into full on friggin' horndogs, we might not care about the endless exposition. But there is nothing scary, satiric, humorous, horrifying or remotely entertaining going on. Instead, Castle manages to render real actors like Randy Spears, Steven St. Croix and Linda Roberts into boring personality-less drones. And considering Spears and St. Croix's ability to mix wantonness with funny business and mugging, that's saying a lot.

The Sex Scenes:

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The only saving grace here and it's not quite large enough to save this titanic disappointment from sinking under its own ordinariness is the universally good groping. Along with Nikki Hunter's 'as nasty as I wanna be' balling ballistics, and the well-meaning meat puppetry in effect, there is very little room for routine orifice filling here. Even better, Castle gives consideration to something that many adult filmmakers merely ignore as unnecessary. As a director, he really tries to find the right combination of sexual partners to elevate the passion and fire in his sex scenes. The Dirge has always been a big supporter of chemistry in carnality, and Castle seems to be one of the few individuals behind the camera who shares this view. Even if we don't believe Spears and Hunter or Roberts and Horner as a couple, when the ramrodding starts, we sense the connection. It's this sole facet that makes The New Neighbors bearable. Otherwise, this is one lame excuse for adult entertainment.

Scene 1:Nikki Hunter, Jack Venice
Acts Performed:Foreplay, Cunnilingus, Blowjob, Ball Sucking, Reverse Cowgirl, V to M, Mish, Scissors, $hot to Face, Oral Clean-up
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Though Mr. Venice's beet-red body language argues for the struggle he must go through to maintain rigidity throughout his sex scenes either that or the chemical enhancement he's using really ratchets up his blood pressure his pairing with Nikki is nice and sleazy. Hunter loves to lunch on log and she spends an inordinately long time tasting Venice's stiff sausage. Once they get down to drilling, however, the limitations of this title start to show through. Castle is not interested in having his performers partake of every possible position there is in the hardcore canon. Instead, he concentrates on one or two and lets their potential impact overwhelm the audience. Sometimes it works like here. Other times, it becomes a dick to dame distraction.

Scene 2:Nikki Hunter, Linda Roberts
Acts Performed: Standard Girl on Girl Stuff, Massage, Foreplay, Cunnilingus, Vibrator Fucking, Vibrator V to M, Face Sitting, Salad Tossing
Score: 2 out of 5
Granted, this is gal on gal stuff, the kind of sex that sends the Dirge to the refrigerator for a much-needed time wasting snack. Oddly enough, there is more to this Sappho sequence than just your typical lesbo lamentations. Partly because of how well both Hunter and Roberts sell the sensuality, but equally effective in the way they work their single vibrating toy, what should have been boring is mildly engaging and somewhat erotic. Sure, like most babe-to-babe booty bumping, the finale kind of peters out instead of building to a reliable climax, but the atmosphere of arousal is so apparent you won't mind the lack of orgasmic flourish.

Scene 3: Tyla Wynn, Mike Horner, Randy Spears, Tommy Gunn, Steven St. Croix
Acts Performed:Multiple blowjobs, Doggy, Deep Throating, Mish V to M, Face Fucking, $hots to Mouth x 4
Score: 3 out of 5
When four guys have a crack at the same cunt, the woman owning the orifice better be ready to prove her hardcore mantle, less we in the audience feel that she's being exploited and abused for the sake of some nonsensical gang bang. Kudos then to Ms. Wynn, who takes on three of the business's best ballers and one admirable oldster and looks like she ready for a whole Helluva lot more. Again, Castle continues his 'one or two position' paradigm, and there is nary a moment of anal to be found so far in this dumper-less diversion. Still, with cocksman as able as these, and a gal clearly capable of taking all the tool they can dish out, this is one highly overheated sex sequence.

Scene 4:Nikki Hunter, Haley Page, Jack Venice
Acts Performed:Blowjobs, Cowgirl, Alternating V to M, Tit Fucking, Reverse Cowgirl, Face Sitting, Doggy, Cunnilingus, Salad Tossing, $hot ot Faces
Score: 2.5 out of 5
Ignoring the ersatz incest for a moment (Venice and Page are supposed to be step brother and sister) this leisurely lewdness by the pool has a wonderfully erotic element to it. The concept of two gals servicing one sleeping stud is perhaps every sunbathing male's inner fantasy. Toss in the plentiful pulchritude offered up by Nikki and Haley (Jack has got to do something about the dumb body art he sports, however) and you've got another admirable sequence of steamy hardcore at hand. Unfortunately, the Dirge has to question another directorial decision by Castle. In keeping with his feature film ideal, this filmmaker constantly cuts between the sex here and some expositional material that is mostly unrelated to what is going on. While it does eventually build toward Scene 5, the jumping back and forth tends to hinder the horniness.

Scene 5:Linda Roberts, Randy Spears, Steven St. Croix
Acts Performed:Dueling Head, Doggy, Blowjob, V to M, Mish, Ball Action, $hots to Mouth
Score: 3 out of 5
One of The New Neighbors' best, if also briefest, XXX installments. Spears and St. Croix are masters at manipulating a lady, and Roberts is the kind of old school porn star that can easily match them move for move. Though she's frequently plugged at both ends with massive male member, her physical response to such a reaming let's us know that she's loving every motherfucking minute of it. The sole position here Mish should have been matched by some added moments of cowgirl or doggy, but in the end, all we care about is the connection between the performers. It is so potent that you just can't help but feel the force between the threesome.

Scene 6:Brooke, Mike Horner
Acts Performed:Blowjob, Doggy, Mish, $hot on Chest
Score: 2.5 out of 5
A brief bit of balling that gives Horner another shot at some hot twenty something snatch. The set up is your standard oversexed secretary looking to boff her boss, and Horner is never seen shagging our Miss Brooke for very long. Still, what we do witness is erotically engaging and gives this minor moment a nice bit of lasting power.

Scene 7:Barbara Summer, Randy Spears, Steven St. Croix, Tommy Gunn
Acts Performed:Foreplay, Salad Tossing, Blowjobs, Ball Sucking, Doggy, Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, DP in the Reverse Cowgirl Mode, Mish, $hots to Mouth
Score: 3 out of 5
One of two less than impressive final act free for alls, this next to last sex scene is sloppy in ways that typically flummox an installment of multi-partner fuck and suck. With so many dicks looking for a place to port, and only one available set of slits to accommodate them, it gets difficult to decipher what is going on. Unlike a full blown orgy which has too much monkey business going on to be captured fully on camera, something like this dedicated foursome gives the hardcore fan conniptions. Just as he or she is getting into the groove of a nice bit of ball sucking, it's right into doggy and then suddenly into reverse cowgirl. This gives the fantasy fodder a non-erotic rapidity that does little to aid in arousal.

Scene 8:Nikki Hunter, Linda Roberts, Haley Page, August, Jack Venice, Jerry, Kyle Stone, Kyle Moore
Acts Performed:Blowjobs, Reverse Cowgirl, Cowgirl, Alternating V to M, Spoon, Doggy, Cunnilingus, $hots to Mouths with Oral Clean-up, $hot to Face
Score: 3 out of 5
As stated before, an eight person porn scene is logistically impossible to perfectly capture onscreen. There is just too much going on that even a technological eye would have difficulty focusing on it all. As a result, a director must be mindful of where he or she puts their camera, as well as respectful of certain fetishes and fuck and suck standards. Castle does a decent job of keeping Hunter the center of the situation. She's like a horny hostess, moving from couple to couple to highlight the sexual escapes on display. She even joins in, sucking a cunt-soaked cock or licking an available clit to keep the party percolating. Clearly not the worst installment of wantonness in this set, this final group gratuity leaves the viability of The New Neighbors up for grabs.

Disco Dirge Peter Meter Rating:3 out of 5 ( Recommended)
Cohabitation Certification:Granted
This Dirge is gonna go out on a limb here and actually Recommend something that practically put him to sleep. Not in the sex department. No, for what little hardcore is available here, The New Neighbors delivers some definitive dicking. All the performers are passionate in their couplings and the palpable chemistry makes for some incredibly hot sequences. Not everything works, and Castle could have allowed a little more positional leeway in his individual pairings but when compared to the bone dry exposition that seems to drag on and on, these simplistic sexual moments are well worth the money. Couples will also enjoy the less than aggressive approach to the porking, meaning that The New Neighbors easily earns a Cohabitation Certification. In a clear case of being careful for what you wish for, Frank Castle's fondness for the XXX of the past more or less mangles everything interesting and engaging in this overlong straight feature. Even the tacky twist ending which argues for a potential sequel gives us pause. With a better screenplay, this could have been a classic. As it stands now, it's a throwback with very little of what made the notion nostalgic in the first place.


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