SOFTCORE FILMS

House of Love

Written by L.L. Thomaso and directed by Tom Lazarus, this 2000 film from Indigo Entertainment has a very good premise for a softcore film, along with a pretty stellar cast.

Catalina Larranaga stars as a woman named Melinda, who is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She’s shooting her latest documentary, which is focusing on an escort service run by a woman named Darby, played by Kira Reed Lorsch. Darby operates out of a large mansion in the Hollywood era, where she says she has six women who rotate living and “working” in the house, along with another dozen women who go out on dates with clients. So the majority of this film has Melinda and her cameraman Peter (Peter Gaynor) filming either Darby or one of the three women currently living in the mansion, Rosemary, Sunny, and Pamela, who are played by Tracy Ryan, Susan Featherly, and Kelli McCarty. That’s a good plot in which there are many ways to naturally incorporate some erotic sex scenes into the film, which is what I was expecting. But it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.

For what it’s worth, there are going to be some spoilers as I continue.

Early on the film, we discover a little plot twist, that while Darby thinks Melinda is just filming a neutral documentary, trying to understand her profession, Melinda has an agenda, in that she considers to be an evil sex trafficker, exploiting the women who work for her, who are all degrading themselves by being escorts, and her documentary is meant to expose them all. And as Melinda interviews the women it does show that some of them are conflicted about what they do. Pamela in particular doesn’t seem to like her job, and comes from an authoritative religious background, while Rosemary has unfulfilled dreams of being a painter. Only Sunny appears to have no regrets, which is later shown to be a source of tension between her and Pamela, who unironically calls her a ‘whore” during an argument.

A major part of Melinda’s motivation for her documentary is that he ex-husband cheated on her for years with several prostitutes. Despite this she is still on friendly terms with her ex, Neil, to whom she shows parts of the documentary as she’s filming it so that he can give her his opinions on it. Neil is played by an actor credited as Henry Taggert, who has only this one credit under his name on IMDB. But I knew I recognized him from somewhere else, and it took a while before I finally figured it out, he’s Mark Pelligrino, whom I remember as Rita’s ex-husband on DEXTER.

Another little subplot revolves around a mysterious man who shows up at the mansion once a week to meet with Darby. Melinda never gets a good look at the man, and suspect that he’s a client who pays to be with Darby, even though Darby denies being an escort herself. Eventually it’s revealed that man is actually a woman only referred to her as “V.” She’s apparently some kind of public figure which is why she and Darby are concealing their relationship. The actress playing V is credited as Kitty Michner, which is her sole credit on IMDB, but I recognized her as Cheryl Dent, whom I’ve seen in other softcore productions including the movie PLEASURE WORLD and an episode of BEVERLY HILLS BORDELLO.

About an hour into the film we’re introduced to Rick (Paul Logan), whom is the sole male escort working for Darby, although no mention was made of him before. Eventually Darby entices Melinda to sleep with Rick, to experience being with an escort herself. This experience changes Melinda’s view of prostitutes, and the direction of her documentary. So, alls well that ends well, I guess.

The premise of this film is wasted to a degree, in my opinion. The film runs an hour and a half and during this time we only get four full sex scenes. The rest of the time is spent on all these serious dramatic scenes which is a nice attempt, but this is a softcore film. Fans primarily watch these films for the sex. Mainline Releasing would have given us at least 12 sex scenes during this same time. Retromedia would have given us at least seven, with 15 minutes less time on a film like this.

The scenes we get are Tracy Ryan with Darron Johnson, who plays a pro-baseball player that hires Rosemary. The scene is notable since Darron is Black, and we didn’t get a lot of interracial sex scenes with White women and Black men in softcore films at the time. Susan Featherly and Jim Tin, who plays a rock star that hires Rosemary. Kira and Cheryl have a scene together. And then there’s the final scene which starts out as Catalina Larranaga and Paul Logan, but then they’re joined by Kelli McCarty and then Susan Featherly.

The scenes are all decent enough, but not as hot as they could be, considering the talent involved. I mean the women are all stunning, there should have been more. There’s a scene between Tracy Ryan and Peter Gaynor, where she gets topless and they full around a bit but it’s not a complete sex scene. And there are other scenes where the women get nude or topless, including two scenes were Larranaga masturbates while fantasizing. But overall they’re not enough to justify sitting through the film for, or even fast-forwarding to get to those scenes.

It’s shot well, and acted well, but it just doesn’t quite work for me, at least not enough to recommend more enthusiastically. At best I can give this a Chacebook rating of THREE STARS

Jason Majercik is selling this UNRATED DVD for $39.99. Email him at quinn_nash@hotmail.com for his softcore inventory list

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