Wild Things 1 & 2 (1985-86)

As the genre's theatrical era was drawing to a close, porn pioneer Alex de Renzy – who exploited San Francisco's Screening Room theater in the early '70s and all but cornered the Bay Area's contemporary adult businesses along with the Mitchell Brothers – came full circle, returning to the short subjects ("loops" being the correct industry term) that had jumpstarted his career. Collections thereof like Ball Busters and Dirty Girls can't help but feel featherweight next to the director's elaborate erotic classics from the previous decade, revered romps he now seemed quite content to merely sequelize, albeit with well above average results as proved by Babyface 2 and Pretty Peaches 2 & 3, the ultimate Keisha-starring instalment possibly even the Zenith of a kickass combo. Sexually speaking, the Old Master (who, sadly, passed away in 2001 at the age of 65) never lost his golden touch though, even when resorting to the grab bag approach that almost inevitably marks most of these so-called "loop carriers", a format perhaps not necessarily invented but certainly perfected by Howard Ziehm with features like Honeypie, Hot Cookies and Sweet Cakes.

Narrated in disarming airhead fashion by fly by night starlet Jill Ferrar who appeared all too briefly in Lawrence T. Cole's atmospheric The House of Strange Desires and John Seeman's cult flick waiting to happen Missing Pieces, the first (somehow "original" seems a bit out of place) Wild Things proves predictably comprised of a series of sexual scenarios attempting to fulfill the promise suggested by its title. Things get off to a rocky start with what's undoubtedly the weakest segment as the happy home of perky Patti Petite and Billy Dee is invaded by escaped convicts Ashley Grant - also in the director's scorching Let's Get It On (With Amber Lynn) - and Mauvais DeNoire, an unjustly overlooked black starlet who made a touching contribution to Sam Weston's stripper saga The Red Garter. A blatant chemistry deficit keeps this sequence from firing on all cylinders. Fortunately, there's way better in store. Kimberly Carson provides a sympathetic thespian turn as a frustrated woman heeding the incessant ticking of her biological clock, seeking help from sex surrogate Herschel Savage to attain the conception her husband's incapable of, leading to a tender tryst to the strains of Danny Boy, inspired scoring to say the least ! Curvy Tess Ferre, the girl in the outlandish opening swing club sequence of Paul G. Vatelli's otherwise uneven Beverly Hills Cox, and Buck Adams attempt to alleviate marital boredom through ever more convoluted sexual positions while another betrothed pair, bountiful Robin Cannes (memorably lusting after brother Craig Roberts in Kirdy Stevens' sublime Taboo IV) and John Leslie, engage in burglar and victim role-playing to a similar end.

The best is saved for last with an all time Sapphic scorcher between then budding superstar Christy Canyon and achingly pretty Ali Moore, star of Jerome Bronson's affable Gettin' Ready, that could serve as a demo piece for practicing pornographers on how to shoot and edit this type of material for maximum knockout effect. The remaining sequence depends on which version of the movie you happen to come across. Originally, de Renzy had crafted an incredible remake of his legendary '70s loop Parochial Passion Princess with Traci Lords in all too appropriate Catholic schoolgirl garb making horny gardener Jamie Gillis, whose filthy interior monologue makes the scene sizzle, a very lucky guy indeed. As everyone's well aware by now, Lords was eventually revealed as having been underage when shooting most of her subsequently retracted and/or re-edited romps. Therefore, the director replaced it with an almost equally scalding setup involving rambunctious Brazilian bombshell Elle Rio (Fred Lincoln's She Comes in Colors showed the sensitivity lurking inside the spitfire) who has inadvertently invited both of her booty boys, Jon Martin and Tom Byron (stalwart studs, back then at opposing sides of the experience spectrum), on the same day with the guys teaching her a lesson in simultaneous front and rear penetration. While personally inclined towards Traci's tease number, it would be hard to deny de Renzy went to great lengths to make up for its legally enforced absence. If, like moi, you're fortunate enough to come across its French video release (as Le Sexe Sauvage) however, you will find that you can have your cake and eat it too as this is the only version - to the best of my knowledge - that actually includes both loops. Ah, bliss !

Milking the format for all it's worth, de Renzy rushed a loosely connected follow-up into production almost immediately.  Popular mid '80s starlet (with the hair to prove it) Kari Foxx, who filled in for genre goddess Annette Haven playing the part of Sheherazade in Edwin Durell's A Thousand and One Erotic Nights Part 2, narrates pornographic proceedings conveniently centered around a bunch of naughty girls, many of them blondes - hair color fetishists, take note ! - trying to get some random hot hunk, and in one particularly memorable case one another, into bed. Superstar Joanna Storm, already something of a veteran by this time having started out in Chuck Vincent's 1983 couples classic In Love, kicks off with a splendid seduction of water delivery boy Jonathan Lee, the muscular blond curly top similarly ravished by Stacey Donovan of all people in Duck Dumont's unfairly slighted Lover's Lane. This stellar sequence pretty much sets the tone for all that's to follow with just enough build-up and tease getting viewers all hot and bothered by the explicit pay-off, shot with style and exceptional body display as was de Renzy's trademark all too easily taken for granted.

Cute as a button high school reporter Nikki Charm, who was to become an on-again, off-again Vivid girl over the next several years, interviews seasoned porno stud Joey Silvera, of course sampling the old guy's expertise firsthand in one of the most melting displays of May/December mucking about ever. Another all time industry icon, the incomparable Amber Lynn, is up next in a steamy Bonnie & Clyde routine with humongously endowed Dick Rambone, proving yet again that no Beast (in this case, not even her partner's hefty trouser snake) could ever defeat this ravishing Beauty ! A scene involving horny high schoolers Tiffany DuPonte (also in Gary Graver's intermittently inspired Showgirls) and Chris Chase (the male stripper Mr. Hyde from Jerome Tanner's hilarious The Lust Potion of Dr. F) is frequently slighted, presumably because lacking in star power, yet no sexual encounter where the chemistry's this good should ever be overlooked. The single setup that most everyone remembers about this movie is sweet Shanna McCullough's bizarre birthday bash with blonde amazon Chanel Price and diminutive Regine Bardot (comically billed as "Toy Sin") making for a most unique Sapphic sandwich. More recent viewers only familiar with Shanna from her mature performances in fine features such as Paul Thomas' Bobbysox or Gary Graver's Tight Spot (from Western Visuals' regrettably shortlived early '90s return to 35mm stint) will be startled by how deliciously youthful she appears here. Hostess Kari brings up the rear, albeit strictly in a manner of speaking, with an elaborate nurse/patient fantasy with John Leslie and a brief but satisfying solo before lights out.

As was his wont, de Renzy did not beat around the bush by dragging out irrelevant plotlines or resorting to glossy production values if these didn't serve his purpose, which was to create palpable erotic tension right from the opening frames with regular hot flashes of pure hardcore lava. Purists may permanently prefer his more narratively complex not to mention controversial works of the previous decade like Babyface, Peaches and Femmes de Sade to these unpretentious wall to wall fuck feasts he would casually crank out throughout the '80s, most of which in truth did indeed provide something of a mixed bag. Both Wild Things capers, the second perhaps having a slight edge, may one day be judged as the most consistent of that lot.  For those ivory tower critics already regretting a once great eroticist's downward slide, worse was surely yet to come when he founded butthole-centric Rosebud Video as the '90s dawned, hiding behind the "Rex Borsky" alias for what ultimately added up to several hundreds of cheap niche products, barely balanced out by the occasional "prestige" feature like Two Women or Slave to Love, the almost incongruous presence of which on the Rosebud roster possibly alarmed rather than appeased the adult aficionado by now. 

Wild Things
Directed, written & photographed by Alex de Renzy. Produced by de Renzy for Blu-Pix. Starring Traci Lords, Kimberly Carson, John Leslie, Christy Canyon, Jamie Gillis, Ali Moore, Elle Rio, Robin Cannes, Mauvais DeNoir, Ashley Welles, Patti Petite, Tom Byron, Jon Martin, Tess Ferre, Billy Dee, Buck Adams & Jill Ferrar. Running time : 82 minutes.

Wild Things 2
Directed, written & photographed by Alex de Renzy. Produced by de Renzy for Blu-Pix. Starring Amber Lynn, Joanna Storm, Shanna McCullough, Nikki Charm, Kari Foxx, John Leslie, Joey Silvera, Chanel Price, Regine Bardot (as Toy Sin), Dick Rambone, Chris Chase, Tiffany DuPonte & Jonathan Lee. Running time : 79 minutes.

One of many pretty young things strutting their stuff, Shanna McCullough would have surprising longevity in adult films & videos