King of the Roughies: A Threesome from Phil Prince

Dave ventures into the New York underground to get down n’ dirty with a not-so-titillating triptych. 

Avon Studios were the fabled X-rated production house whose sordid output usually dove straight into their own theatre chain. Casey Scott of DVD Drive-In noted how the very name of Avon “is one whispered in tones of perversion and wonder by fans of Golden Age pornography”, such was the base notoriety of the company’s name.

Metasex, the zine created by Michelle Clifford and Bill Landis, was renowned for its impressively detailed analysis of every 42nd Street porno flicks that they could manage to feast their eyes upon. Issue two of this labour of love is notable for a piece on a certain Phil Prince – the notorious trash merchant – where it alleged that the huge, dark-haired Irish-American from the Bronx had murdered his wife.

Prince, known for performing live sex shows with his wife that regularly featured a show-stopping cumshot aimed directly at the audience, found himself to be the primary suspect in her killing. Although he was eventually cleared, it would lead to the end of his directorial career, and left him cast aside on admin duty behind a desk in the Avon offices.

Nevertheless, it’s a bewildering chapter in the life of the man responsible for some of the company’s most depraved output, which is celebrated in this Vinegar Syndrome threesome (originally released back in ’15) that opens with the enticing squalor of SAVAGE SADISTS (1983).

You know a movie has a zero budget when the sound of a doorbell is someone in the crew muttering “ding dong”. Such an inauspicious beginning gives rise to the arrival of a pair of hoodlums who are looking for the man of the house – a busy pornographer (Martin Patton) – in order to settle a debt. In his absence the nefarious pair decide to rape his wife (Nicole Bernard), while in a parallel narrative we discover that the in-demand gentleman is indisposed at the behest of his personal assistant. Eventually the action switches to the smut peddlers office where this sleazy sextet (including his secretary) engage in further fornication under the guise of it being forced, albeit with minimal objection.

The second feature, DEN OF DOMINANCE (1983), shares both a similar running time (just under forty minutes) and a similar propensity for dominance, submission and comical gurning. Featuring Martin Patton once more, it’s set in a bar which happens to double as a sex club – but if anything it feels devoid of the sleaze that you might associate with Avon.

Both of Prince’s shorts are fixed in a state of post-coital exhaustion to the bottom-rung of the porn ladder, never to rise up into the classy heights that Alex deRenzy or Anthony Spinelli were capable of. This is partly due to the direction as well as the brisk pace at which they were made, and aside from historical value it’s tough to find a glimmer of artistic endeavour in something so churlish. Boastful cries of “Ooh baby, I’m gonna cum all over your face” ultimately lead to anti-climactic oozings of minimal ferocity that underline the amateur nature of the performers. Meanwhile louche dialogue like “You like getting slapped in the face with my cock?” is accompanied off screen with hilarious handclaps to enhance all penis-thwapping eroticism.

The third movie does provide a welcome respite from the preceding limp roughies, where Prince delivers a more satisfying ratio of style and vulgarity. DAUGHTERS OF DISCIPLINE (1983), which previously featured on a New York Grindhouse triple-feature from After Hours Cinema, centres around Rhoda (Robin Thorn) and Glenda (Victoria Sands), two ‘schoolgirls’ (who make Stockard Channing in Grease (1978) look positively sixteen) engaging in some playfully intimate fisting together. After they progress to hot fun with a couple of local boys, the real highlight drops in the final reel when Rhoda’s parents burst in on the orgy. Alas, their disgust doesn’t last that long, as they decide they’re game to participate in order to teach the girls how it should be done. Incest aplenty is paired with gloriously immoral lines like “Oh Daddy, that’s so good, fuck me” and “I’m so wet Daddy” that bring the final chapter of this threesome to an end in a gleefully warped manner, albeit with its debased load shot a little later than expected.

That’s no slight on what is unequivocally a fascinating insight into Avon Studios. It’s just having read about this fabled trash factor, I expected something a tad more depraved. But perhaps that’s a damning indictment on just where the bar is currently set with regard to our eroded purity with all things pornographic.

Avon Triple Feature

Avon Triple Feature is available direct from Vinegar Syndrome


 

Follow Dave on Twitter @thedavewain

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