Director: Gail Palmer
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome's Peekarama DVD double bill of EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY and CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD showcases the talents of Carol Connors (DEEP THROAT) along with a number of welcome seventies porn personalities.

Candy (Connors) is a twenty-year-old college Michigan student who is frustratingly still a virgin because of her over-protective father Mr. Christian (Eddy Cannon, CRY RAPE). When she decides to make her fantasies about gardener Manuel (Don Fernando, CALIFORNIA GIGOLO) a reality, she finally loses her virginity but she does not enjoy the experience due to Manuel's eagerness and his poor grasp of English. When her father bursts in on them, he has a nervous breakdown and ends up in the hospital. After stumbling upon a masturbation clinic, Candy eventually finds her way to his room where he is being visited by his milquetoast twin brother Dick (also Cannon) and ballsy Auntie Kraven (Georgina Spelvin, THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES) who emasculates both men and before jetting off to Europe. Candy comforts Dick only to be caught by the nurse, and daddy escapes during the ensuing chaos. Deciding to get away, Candy travels to California to stay with her Auntie Em (Pat Ray, THE JOY OF LETTING GO). Just off the bus, she meets used car salesman Shawn (John Holmes, INSATIABLE) who tricks her into closely examining his "deformity" (which does kind of look ridiculously freakish). When Candy thinks she might be pregnant, Auntie Em is less shocked by her niece's sexual exploits than her lack of precautions and takes her to see gynecologist Dr. Fillmore Entry (John Leslie, NOTHING TO HIDE) who of course gives her an unorthodox and very probing examination. Returning home, Candy runs into Balde Krishna mystic Graham Hollander (Paul Thomas, SAME TIME EVERY YEAR) who introduces her to his sect and its methods of controlling the senses (which of course involves a lot of boffing).

Ostensibly directed by Gail Palmer (although IMDb lists Bob Chinn as an uncredited director), EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY is yet another updated take on Voltaire's "Candide" by way of Terry Southern's novel "Candy" (and the 1968 film); but that gimmick is no more successful than most at stringing together a series of sex scenes into something as meaningful as Palmer seems to be striving. Connors – mother of AMERICAN BEAUTY actress Thora Birch – is game, but it's hard to tell if she's giving the performance of a vapid blonde or actually is one (although she's easier on the ears than Palmer as the film's stilted onscreen and offscreen narrator). The film's trailer – also narrated by Palmer – highlights the appearances by some familiar faces of seventies porn as if it were an "all-star cast", and the supporting actors do kind of bring a "special guest star" feel to their scenes, including Leslie's gynecologist, Spelvin's Auntie Kraven in her dialog scene at the hospital (a sex scene with her therapist Dr. Hy Kollonic [Turk Lyon, CHERRY TRUCKERS] seems hastily shot and shoehorned in), and Thomas's fey German mysic. The film is well-made, with colorful décor that isn't as eye-straining as in most seventies porn, and the sex scenes (including the usually grainy and underlit or flatly lit insert shots) are as well photographed as the rest of the film. The Balde Krishna orgy scene includes not only straight and lesbian couplings, but also surprisingly a gay one. The anticlimactic ending of the film features a still frame preview montage of scenes from CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD with narration by Palmer (incidentally, this is the same content as the trailer for that film with a different title card).

In CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, Candy is no sooner off the bus than she is set upon by used car salesman/licensed hypnotist/sex therapist/talent agent Johnny Dooropener or J.D. (John Leslie again) who sees talent (it ain't singing or dancing) and dollar signs in the ditzy blonde. He hypnotizes the easily susceptible Candy to bring out her inner talent (and her liking for phallic ice cream cones) and then gets her a spot on "The Dong Show" with Chuck Bareass (Richard Pacheco, TALK DIRTY TO ME). Candy's breathy performance of "Big Spender" somehow impresses the judges – Rex Peed (Connors' husband Jack Birch, MY BED IS CROWDED), J.P. Organ (Phaery Burd, BLONDE FIRE), and Jamie Close (David Pinney, JUNGLE BLUE) – more than The Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams shooting ping pongs out of her vagina (as well as an Unknown Comic stand-in [he's billed in the end credits as "Still Unknown"] that may very well be the real one). The grand prize is a golden dildo trophy and the high hard one from the host. Next up is a spot on the "Last Night Show" with Johnny Farson (Gary Grime), but Candy gets cut for time (probably because Johnny got a late start after their "rehearsal" in his dressing room); however, Johnny invites her to a penthouse party the next night. In between auditioning other tail… erm, talent, J.D. gets Candy a big audition with producer Samuel Goldlicker (Turk Lyon again) for a film with Dean Martin. Of course, nudity is required and Goldlicker likes to videotape his auditions to judge his form. The party includes such luminaries as recent Oscar winner Rocky Stallion (Rocky Briggs), Farson's announcer Ed the Mann (Dan Davis) and bandleader Doc Revenson (John Wade), a Hustler Magazine centerfold (PRETTY PEACHES' Desiree Cousteau), and starlet Sarah Dawcett (Farrah Fawcett lookalike Ronda Jo Petty, SWEET CHEEKS, who tried to change her name to "Farrah Fawcett Minor" before the actress' lawyers threatened legal action). It is at this frenetic orgy that Candy finally notices the seediness of her chosen industry.

Gail Palmer's sequel to EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY is better written (with the sexual vignettes as linked set-pieces rather than lumped together sex scenes), better acted (with mostly performances rather than caricatures apart from Candy), and photographed (with some nice candy-colored lighting during the game show sequence). The sex scenes are photographed in the usual cramped locations, but the film does venture out for some ambitious scenes like an opening credits stroll down the Walk of Fame (to the tune of "Makin' It Big", a surprisingly close rip-off of The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive"), some scenes at the Los Angeles Howard Johnson hotel's café, and a dialogue scene in a car (mounted with a camera) driving away from Paramount Studios. It's overall the more entertaining picture, and pruned of its hardcore shots could probably have worked just as well as a bawdy softcore effort (as opposed to a softcore version of an XXX feature) like ALICE GOODBODY. Sharon Kane (HOT LUNCH) appears in the party scene as an aspiring actress, and Delania Raffino (HOT LEGS) ravishes Candy with a strap-on before her Johnny Farson appearance.

Restored in 2K from the original camera negative, Vinegar Syndrome's progressive, anamorphic (1.78:1) widescreen transfer of EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY looks crisp, colorful, and almost spotless apart from the reel changes (one of which has the cigarette burns pretty low in the frame). CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD's progressive, anamorphic (1.78:1) widescreen transfer from a 2K scan of the film's 35mm interpositive looks even better than the first film (primarily due to the cinematography being better than any difference in the element's preservation or the encoding) apart from the reel change marks, an occasional negative scratch, and one or two imperfect splices during shot changes. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio tracks on both films are not particularly dynamic but are in great condition. The only extras for both films are trailers (4:44 and 2:02, respectively). The CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD trailer – as mentioned above – is the same in content as the still frame teaser at the end of the first film. (Eric Cotenas)