Director: Bob Chinn
Vinegar Syndrome

Taking a break from his Johnny Wadd series, director Bob Chinn took another stab at film noir with LOVE SLAVES, a hardcore remake of a Japanese sci-fi film on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome.

Young, beautiful women are not safe alone at night in San Francisco as persons unknown have been nabbing them off the street. A concurrent spike in narcotics dealing has special investigator Steve Blake (John Leslie, CANDY GOES TO HOLLYWOOD) trying to make a connection between the drugs and the disappearances, particularly that of acquaintance Veronica (Veronica Taylor, ALL NIGHT LONG). While Veronica is not one to let a missing sister distract her from a little romance, Steve takes notice when his own sister Karen (Tanya Shea) goes missing and comes back in a trance intent on killing him. When the body of another missing girl turns up as an overdose victim not long after she was identified as the assassin of a judge, Steve stumbles upon the operations of Dr. Severin (Alain Patrick, BLUE MONEY) to turn abducted young women – including RINGS OF PASSION's Laura Bourbon, CHINA LUST's Desiree West, FEMMES DE SADE's Enjil Von Bergdorfe, and TAPESTRY OF PASSION's Sharon Thorpe – into mindless killers as well as sex objects for sale to foreign governments. Injecting the women with heroin and subjecting them to hypnosis, Severin trains the women to kill and rewards them with sex courtesy of his henchmen (BABY ROSEMARY's Ken Scudder and 7 INTO SNOWY's Turk Lyon), Severin plans on using them to get rid of Steve as a demonstration but the doctor may have underestimated the will of one of his subjects.

A genre porn effort with a bit more plot than usual – due to it being a remake of another property (more on that below) – LOVE SLAVES is buoyed by a naturalistic performance by Leslie and a more theatrical one by Patrick, as well as some striking minimalist visuals that enliven the actors and bare settings as seen reflected in Patrick's mirrored glasses or another character viewed through the splayed legs of a foreground character. Some of the film's sexual violence was completely removed from the earlier videotape of the film, and the two minute difference between the two cuts does not take into account the substitutions of footage from a completely unrelated film (BREEZY, according to IMDb) while Alpha Blue Archives' previous DVD release was reportedly missing twenty minutes to due to print damage. Vinegar Syndrome's progressive, anamorphic widescreen transfer is touted as a 2K scan from 35mm archival elements, and said elements are better than we have come to expect from other transfers. Apart from some horrid scratches during one shot change (an establishing shot of a yacht late in the film), the materials have held up quite well. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is in similarly good condition.

Chinn provides an introduction (0:28) and an interview (11:20) that is in some ways more interesting than the film itself. Chinn reveals that the film as LOVE CAMP 7 producer Bob Cresse's stab at hardcore, and that he was instructed to take the Cresse-distributed Japanese 1966 science fiction film THE LOVE ROBOTS by Kôji Wakamatsu (VIOLATED ANGELS) and remake it as an American hardcore film. He made an audio recording of the dubbed dialogue and used that to put together an almost shot-for-shot remake. Chinn also discusses his collaborations with Patrick who grew disillusioned with filmmaking in the early seventies (after apparently doing a lot of uncredited work on Chinn's earlier films) following his semi-autobiographical softcore film BLUE MONEY and became a boat salesman before returning later in the decade to director FEMALE FEVER for Ed de Priest (ONE MILLION AC/DC) as well as working on Chinn's PANAMA RED and this film (he mentions that Patrick shot the handheld stalking POV scenes). Chinn also discusses his earlier one-day productions and shooting multiple films on a one day weekend camera rental rate and being advised to use his real name to safeguard his Johnny Wadd character. (Eric Cotenas)