Director: Carlos Tobalina
Vinegar Syndrome

John Holmes snorts blow in eighteenth century France in a pair of oddball period pieces that could only have been made by Carlos Tobalina.

In THE NEW EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CASANOVA, the great lover Giacomo Casanova (Holmes) is challenged to a duel by the jealous Colonel Zatzki (Will Verdi) – in what looks like the Florida Everglades rather than eighteenth century France – for the hand of Lady Angie (Jane Goodman). Casanova prevails but he really only wants to bed Lady Angie before being called away on business (i.e. deflowering a trio of saucy sisters). Two hundred years later, Casanova's direct ancestor John (guess who?) has sold off the ancestral home crumbling away on his California ranch. He stops by the local antique store that bought the house's furniture for a memento and is given a box containing correspondence from Casanova as well as a bottle of cologne used to scent his love letters (what antiques dealer would let that slip through his fingers?) John tries on the cologne and soon finds women irresistibly drawn to him, starting with FANTASTIC ORGY's Iris Medina as a hotel maid who sniffs his jacket. When he arrives at the ranch and meets up with partner Paul (Peter Johns, ORIENTAL BABYSITTER) and his extended family, he tells them about the cologne and lets them all get a whiff. That night, it's musical beds as Paul's wife Jane (Tracy O'Neil, THE OTHER SIDE OF JULIE) sneaks into John's bed and then caretaker Bill (John Seeman, BABY ROSEMARY), housekeeper Rose (Suzanne French, UNDULATIONS) keeps Paul company, daughter Ann (Maureen Spring, SEXWORLD) rides her brother George (Blair Harris, CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST) on the sofa before jumping John while George gets it on with sister Mary (Phaedra Grant, BOILING POINT). Other permutations follow and John eventually has his way with all of Paul's daughters, his wife, his mistress, and soon finds himself on the business end of pistol like his ancestor many times before.

If you thought Ulli Lommel's BOOGEYMAN II was the sequel with the most recycled footage, you haven't seen Carlos Tobalina's CASANOVA II. The sequel takes off where the first film left off in both the eighteenth century and modern day settings. After having slain Colonel Zatzki and had his way with Lady Angie, Casanova runs into three of Zatzki's friends who challenge him to a three against one duel. Casanova slays two and wounds the third who he discovers is a woman (Cathy Linger). He takes her to a nearby cottage and is instructed by the doctor (Bob Dwyer) to make the gravely wounded girl's last moments as happy as possible, which he does with the help of gypsy Myra (Bridgette Felina). Against expectations, the girl survives and gives birth to a son who would become Don Juan (Bjorn Beck, Scandinavian but only slightly less wooden alternative to Tobalina's moonlighting cameraman Fernando Fortes). Don Juan learns swordplay under Count de la Riva (Tobalina himself) but seems to have inherited what comes naturally from his absent father as he deflowers two sets of sisters – including ORIENTAL HAWAII's Danielle and CATHOUSE FEVER's Rhonda Jo Petty – on his way to do a favor for the gay Count de Leon (Rick Ardon, RHINESTONE COWGIRLS) by siring an heir with his wife Isabella (Jesie St. James, HOT LEGS). The aforementioned heir heads to America and somewhere down the line a descendent spurts forth John (Holmes again) who convinces his psychiatrist Dr. Sharpe (Susan Silver) that his ancestral musk is responsible for his sexual compulsions (including his recent rogering of his partner's family). After sampling both cologne and John (an insert with a mismatched actress), Sharpe hits upon the idea to market the scent as a sexual aid (cue a perfunctorily-shot orgy scene that leads to top scientific endorsements). The plan is hugely successful to the point that the national news – anchored by DRACULA SUCKS' William Margold, DEEP JAWS' Ann Perry, and that creepy chick from UNDULATIONS Maria Pia – have nothing to report on but sex since scientific developments, sports games, and various international conflicts have all been shunted aside for fucking as the weatherman (Bill Kaye, MARILYN AND THE SENATOR and THE CORPSE GRINDERS) reports: "The cunt-try is wet!"

The story of the great lover Casanova has been filmed many times but curiously under-exploited in the softcore and hardcore genres; and he remains under-exploited in this pair of Carlos Tobalina films in which what's in Holmes' pants is more interesting to the audience than his prose. The period scenes (stock footage and paintings in place of establishing shots aside) of the first halves of these two Casanova films look no more convincing than a sixties David Friedman softcore period piece but the clothes come off and the sex begins before the viewer will quibble over the shoddy costumes and set dressings. Since the end credits for the first film include listings for characters who only appear in the second film – the end of the second film has no cast listing, just a quick run-through of some of the actors and crew members – it appears that the two flicks appear to have been conceived as a single feature that was turned out to be overlong. The idea of marketing the cologne seems to have been the third act of the first film augmented with recycled footage (recapping and padding), additional new sex scenes featuring Don Juan, and footage yanked from the rest of his oeuvre. The "make sex not war" climax is another variation on Tobalina's screeds in favor of sex over various vices, but a longer than four reel single feature might have been better than two padded films that favor a quantity of different sex scenes while neglecting all but the most basic camera coverage.

Transferred from 2K scans of the 35mm camera negatives – pretty much untouched since their release as Tobalina made films for his own theaters with only a handful distributed more widely (and even fewer overseas) – the progressive, anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen encodes on Vinegar Syndrome's dual-layer disc are crisp and colorful apart from the few faint scratches, fluctuations in contrast, and some jittery shots that likely happened in-camera (in addition to shots that are just out of focus). The Dolby Digital 1.0 tracks are clean with a faint layer of hiss. The only extras are the films' theatrical trailer (3:29 and 4:03, respectively). (Eric Cotenas)