Director: Carlos Tobalina
Vinegar Syndrome

Carlos Tobalina is back in another alternately amusing and mind-numbing duo of eighties porn films from Vinegar Syndrome.

Honeymooners Jerry (Jesse Adams, ORIENTAL HAWAII) and Joyce (Sheila Parks, CASANOVA 2) hope to have a happier marriage than Jerry's older brother Steve (Joey Silvera, SEXWORLD) whose unfaithful wife Wendy (Karo Akamoto) drove him to a crime of passion. Upon arriving home, they and Jerry's parents learn from Steve's lawyer that he will be released from prison upon an appeal when it is discovered that his gun was not the weapon used to murder Wendy's lover. Since Wendy worked hard to cover Steve's legal fees herself, Steve's father welcomes both of them back into the family so he can finish college. Upon meeting, Steve is disturbed to discover that he is attracted to Joyce, who is mutually attracted to him; the same transpires between Jerry and Wendy. Literally minutes later, they have all realized that they are in love with the wrong partners. Close quarters in the house offer no opportunity to realize their desires, but a masquerade party given by Wendy's cousin Serena (Serena, DRACULA SUCKS) provides an irresistibly horny atmosphere for exploration.

The titular FLESH POND is a swingers' club invaded by two convicts (Helman Tobalina and BLACK FOX's Reggie Gunn) on the run after being framed for murder. Forcing the hostess (Drea, FOX HOLES) to hang up the "Closed by Police" sign, the convicts demand entertainment from the assembled guests (including MARILYN AND THE SENATOR's William Margold and ORIENTAL LUST's Shaun Michelle). Rita Ricardo (WIZARD OF AHH'S) starts things off with a performance with her endowed sex doll Johnny Rubber, but soon the rest of them are rolling around on the floor and the convicts are the captive audience as they try to engender trust through sex ("They're not whores. They're swingers," states Margold to attest to the sincerity of the girls' attraction to the gunmen).

Tobalina manages to wring out no tension from a scenario that promises it starting with the title ANTICIPATION. The film pads out the setup with intercut sex scenes and then rockets along through the forbidden attraction with soapy narration and the quartet fantasizing about having sex with one another so that one does not feel as if any taboo is being broken when they actually do have sex in "real life" at Serena's orgy. Laurien Dominique (THE BUDDING OF BRIE), Hershel Savage (SEXUAL HEIGHTS), and Jon Martin (PRETTY PEACHES 3) show up late in the film as party guests. Tobalina similarly squanders the story possibilities and great title of FLESH POND which cannot wait to get to the usual unimaginatively-filmed orgy scenes with thick-accented, helmet-haired Helman Tobalina functioning as a sort of director stand-in, watching and directing the positions of the orgy from the side with a phallic gun (rather than a zoom lens-mounted camera) because he lacks confidence. Director Tobalina himself shows up as the club owner. Although the sex scenes occupy most of the running time, the individual acts are rather short with an emphasis on money shots over penetration, which even leads to a montage of money shots from other Tobalina films to further pad things out to just under eighty minutes.

Scanned and restored in 2K from the original 35mm camera negatives, both ANTICIPATION and FLESH POND look criminally good with attractive colors (although reds can be noisy) and mostly sharp images (due to a reliance on wide angles in both the static long shot staging and close-ups that distort and distend genitalia and moist lips). Faint vertical scratches do pop up once in a while but these likely occurred in the camera like the light leaks and flare (did Tobalina ever have his camera serviced?). The Dolby Digital 1.0 tracks are clean with a little hiss. The only extras are theatrical trailers for the two films, with ANTICIPATION (3:48) described as "a sensitive film with a beautiful story of young love" and FLESH POND (4:07) highlighting Ms. Ricardo's rubber act. (Eric Cotenas)