Desert Passion

This is an odd movie, in terms of genre. It’s softcore, but it’s kind of also a Women In Prison film (although obviously those two genres often overlap). But since the characters aren’t put in an official legal “prison,” I decided to leave it in my Softcore Films category. But the film does deal with forced imprisonment and sex trafficking of women.

Directed by Carlo Gustaff, who co-wrote the script with J. Ralston Wells, this 1993 movie stars Carrie Janisse and Missy Browning as Heather and Maggie, two friends who live together in Los Angeles. Heather is an aspiring actress and Maggie is a stripper. We see Heather filming a love scene for a film, but she’s uncomfortable with the nudity and gets fired and replaced. With no prospects in the city, she joins Heather on a road trip to Las Vegas, where Heather has been offered a chance to audition for a fancy Showgirls revue. At one point during their drive, the ladies stop at a remote gas station. There they meet a hitchhiker named Nick (Tony Bond), who says he’s on his way to Vegas too. Although Maggie is reluctant, Heather convinces her to let Nick ride with them. Nick is some kind of writer, saying he’s traveling in search of unusual characters and a good story. But then the car breaks down in the middle of the desert. Nick checks the engine and sees it’s out of water. It’s sunset, so he recommends that they just camp out there for the night and the next day he’ll hike back to the gas station to get water. That night, while Maggie sleeps in a sleeping bag that Nick brought, he and Heather sleep on a blanket and end up making love.

The next morning Nick heads out to the gas station as the ladies wait in the car. As he walks away he sees a car pull up and two sheriffs get out and force the ladies into their car and quickly drive away. Nick sees what’s going on and tries to run back, but the cops get away, although Nick finds a pager that one of them dropped.

Heather and Maggie are blindfolded and taken to some mysterious facility. It’s a building where a bunch of women are being held captive and used as sex slaves, for rich men who pay to come there and live out their sexual fantasies. The women are locked into rooms and guarded by a bunch of armed men wearing sunglasses. The women are controlled by some kind of special drug, which is injected into their necks whenever they are chosen by a client. The drug has a hypnotic effect, which makes the women go along with whatever fantasy they’re chosen for. And when it’s over they don’t remember what they did, but they still feel the effects of the drug, which is also addictive.

Nicole Sassaman plays Linda, one of the other captives, and we first see the drug used on her. She then participates in a fantasy where she has sex with a man (played by Scott McElroy) in the middle of a desert. We later see the drug used on Maggie for a man (Nicholas Hill) who wants to roleplay as a Roman Emporer. So we see him and Maggie dressed in togas and they have sex while a few other women dressed as Roman servants attend to them. Then we see Heather forced to enact a BDSM femdom fantasy, where she’s dressed as a dominatrix and first teases a man (Vincent Lemieux) who is tied up in a cage, and then has sex with him. There are at least three other women we see being held captive, but we don’t see the others servicing clients.

It’s unclear how much time passes. At one point we see Maggie and Heather talking with Maggie asking “how long have we been here? A week? Two months?” to which Heather replies that she doesn’t know as she’s lost count of the days too. A later scene has Maggie wondering if they’ll ever get out, implying even more time has passed. They also have to deal with harassment from another captive woman named Lori (Amy Thomson), who is having an affair with Bruce, the mysterious man who runs the facility. this is apparently in exchange for special treatment. But at one point she has sex with one of the guards in exchange for a vial of the drug, which she tries to plant under Maggie’s bed so that the next time the guards do a routine search of their rooms Maggie will get in trouble. Thankfully another captive who is nice to them (but is never named in the film, so I don’t know who the actress is) sees what happens and helps them double-cross Lori so that she’s the one who gets caught with the drug. And she suffers severe consequences for that.

Meanwhile, Nick made it back to the gas station, where the old man who runs it manages to fix the water hose in the car for him. Nick has called the local Sherrif and found out that they had no record of picking up Maggie and Heather, so he takes off to find them.

It’s completely unclear how he does this (I guess the pager he found had some info?) but Nick shows up at the facility and poses as a client.  He chooses Heather and they have sex in a fantasy where he’s dressed up as a cowboy and she’s a Native American woman. But then Nick’s cover gets blown and he’s grabbed by the guards as Heather is sent back to her room.

I won’t spoil the ending…mainly because it doesn’t make sense. You’re just going to have to watch for yourself, if you ever want to and get the chance.

This movie had an interesting premise, it’s a unique twist on the usual sex slavery storyline, but not enough was done to flesh out the background. Like where did this facility come from, how long had it been operating, and who invited this hypnotic drug that they use on the women? There’s a plot twist where Bruce attempts to double-cross the man who runs the place, but that comes out of nowhere near the end and is quickly ended pointless.

But something about this movie just always worked for me. I don’t know, maybe it was nostalgia, as I was young and just discovering softcore when I first saw this. The ladies are attractive, although I think the film could have used a few more sex scenes. In addition to the ones I described, there’s an early one where Maggie has a daydream about having sex with some random man by a tree. There are plenty of scenes of the women in the facility naked or in various stages of undress. I would have liked to have seen more of Amy Thomas, a stunningly sexy brunette with big natural boobs. She could have been a real softcore star but this is her one and only credited role. The leads, Carrie Janisse and Missy Browning were also quite good, but only had a handful of roles each before disappearing too.

So I recommend the film, with a Chacebook rating of FOUR STARS

Unfortunately, finding it may not be easy. Even my normal connection only has the R-Rated version for sale, but you want to get the unrated version. DVDLADY has it for sale, but I don’t know what version it is. So while I generally don’t encourage piracy, if a pirate site is your only option, go for it.

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