This is a classic softcore flick from the 90’s. Released in 1995, I first saw it on cable, either Cinemax or Showtime, and it was called Cyberella. A couple of years later, when it was replayed, it was listed as Forbidden Passions. And one scene in the film where the lead character refers to herself as Cyberella is dubbed over to sound like she says “Mara” instead. I don’t know why. I assumed at the time that maybe it was because DC Comics was publishing a series called Cyberella, written by Howard Chaykin and drawn by Don Cameron (a very enjoyable series, I bought every issue), so perhaps there was some kind of copyright conflict? I dunno. But the DVD I bought, calls it “Cyberella: Forbidden Passions”, and I’ve seen it advertised since alternately as Cyberella, and Forbidden Passions, and both together.

Written by Randall Fontana and Randy Fontana, and directed by Jackie Garth, the film stars Debra K Beatty as Mara, a freelance software programmer. In the opening scene, she’s preparing dinner for her boyfriend Stephen (David Millbern), who works @ a software company. After dinner, they have sex, then Stephen tries to sneak out while Mara is sleeping, but she wakes up and confronts him. He tells her he’s being transferred to another city and is breaking up with her. After he leaves, Debra is depressed, and puts herself in one of her virtual reality programs. Next thing you know, Mara is on a secluded beach, and meets a woman named Jana, played by soap opera star Leslie K. Sterling. Mara initially thinks that this is just part of her own VR program, but Jana informs Mara that Mara died in an accidentally fire while she was in the program, and is now in some kind of bridge between the afterlife (don’t ask, just go with it). Jana tells Mara that before Mara can pass on to the afterlife, she must travel through cyberspace to help 4 souls in need (seriously, just go with it).

First, Mara meets Cal (Daniel Namath), an artist who is having trouble painting the images that he sees in his head. He uses a VR program to try out his idea, where he meets Mara. First, she offers to pose nude for him, and then they have sex. Afterward, he feels like he’s got his inspiration back, and he exits the program. Then she meets Brett (Kevin Patrick Walls), a young computer nerd, who is too shy to talk to the girl he has a crush on. Mara appears to him in a VR program, and she creates a VR version of the girl, Sandy (Shayna Lee), and coaches Brett on how to talk to her, and then watches as Brett has sex with the virtual girl. Afterward, he has the confidence to call the real girl, and ask her on a date.Then Mara spots a program that Brett owns, and realizes that it’s one of the programs she created, but is credited to her ex, Stephen. He’d been stealing her ideas and passing them off on her own. Through a computer, she finds Stephen @ his new office, and watches as he has sex on his desk with one of his female coworkers (Landon Hall). Mara tries to shout out, but neither of them hear her. Jana informs her that she cannot contact and talk to anyone whom she wants to harm. Mara thinks that’s unfair, but has to continue on her mission.

Next, Mara enters the VR program of a beautiful female ballerina named Amy, played by Rebecca Taylor. Mara helps her with her dance routine, and then gives Amy a message. Amy then seduces Mara, who is reluctant @ first, and the two woman engage in a sensual lesbian sex scene on the massage table. The last person Mara encounters is Bob (Marshall Hilliard), who is using a VR program to design a restaurant that he wants to build. Mara recognizes him, she went to High School with him, and always had a crush on him but he never noticed her back then. She appears to him as a waitress, and encourages him to follow his dream of building the restaurant, despite the risks it takes to make it succeed. Then they slow dance for a little bit, before having sex on the bar. Then they have sex one more time on a coach, before leaving for good. Then Mara returns to visit Brett, finds out that he has started dating Sandy in real life. Then she asks him about his computer hacking skills. Since she can’t affect the real world directly, she uses Brett as a loophole. She has him hack into the company computer, and reveal to the world that Stephen stole his program from Mara. Stephen then receives an angry phone call from his boss. Uh oh…

Mara returns to Jana, who tells her that she’s learned the correct lesson (whatever the heck that is), and Mara passes on to the afterlife. The end.

Okay, the premise is silly, and the plot is sorely lacking in logic. Nevertheless, it’s enjoyable. Debra K Beatty was a stable of softcore films throughout the 90’s, and she is great in every scene that she’s in. My favorites being the first scene with Bob after they slowdance. Another highlight is the scene between Brett and virtual Sandy. Kevin Patrick Walls really plays the shy innocent virgin very convincingly. He played a similar role, and had a similar scene with Shauna O’Brien, in Friend of The Family 2, which I also enjoyed.

Unfortunately, films like this can be hard to find on DVD. Especially the unrated version, which is what you want to get. And that can be confusing, because the version I have says rated R on the back cover, yet it is clearly the unrated version. So if you can find a decent copy, I recommend getting it. Two thumbs up!

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