Directors: Fred Lincoln and Sharon Mitchell
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome takes Seka to A PLACE BEYOND SHAME with their first DVD foray into the adult oeuvre of actor turned pornographer Fred J. Lincoln.

Computer programmer Seka (BLONDE HEAT) has come to loathe the touch of a man (she doesn't much like touching men either), driving her boyfriend Paul (Don Fernando, LUST INFERNO) as soon as he whips it out. She appeals to her best friend Diana (Lori Blue, OTHER SIDE OF JULIE) who rushes over after a quickie with her boyfriend (Jon Martin, HOT LUNCH), and she refers Seka to therapist Michael (Paul Thomas, THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY). Under hypnosis, Seka reveals that her first husband (BABY ROSEMARY's Ken Scudder) left her for another woman (Bonnie Holiday, CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST) because he thought she was a "cold bitch." Indeed, she reveals that her preference for machines over men started with her attraction not to big bag biker Sandy (TABOO's Michael Morrison) but to his hog (on which we see him riding URBAN COWGIRLS' Sonya Summers). Michael next regresses her in search of a "place beyond shame" in which she relives past lives in a lesbian threesome in China (SAM TIME EVERY YEAR's China Leigh, ORIENTAL HAWAII's Mai Lin, and MAD SEX's Billy Dee), a Cossack romp between BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN's Diana Holt and VISTA VALLEY PTA's Aaron Stuart, and an Old West standoff between COED FEVER's Lysa Thatcher and DEEP ROOTS' Jessie Adams, before he can finally get Seka to face her issues with her promiscuous mother (CALIFORNIA GIGOLO's Veri Knotty whose notable feature goes unexploited here) seen in flashback with LADY DYNAMITE's Blair Harris and LET'S GET PHYSICAL's Mike Horner. Only then can Michael administer his own brand of sexual healing to the heated Seka and send her off to "grab the right guy" (FOX HOLES' R.J. Reynolds).

Although not Lincoln's directorial debut, A PLACE BEYOND SHAME (co-written and co-directed by THE TAMING OF REBECCA's Sharon Mitchell who was also responsible for the production design) was nevertheless the first in a series of slickly-made Lincoln features shot by João Fernandes (FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER) – whose porn pseudonym was a play on the camera brand Arriflex ("Harry Flex" here and "Harry Flecks" on other Lincoln films) – from 1980 through the middle of the decade before his switch to video and the resultant accelerated output. The framework is rather flimsy, making us sit through a series of rushed encounters before Seka engages in any sex herself (and even then, it is only manual stimulation at first) in a film that runs just over seventy minutes. The production values are quite what one expects of the classier Lincoln productions with some attractively-dressed San Francisco interiors and a couple exteriors but better films would follow quickly like SAME TIME EVERY YEAR, OUI GIRLS, and EVERY MAN'S FANTASY in the next couple years.

Previously released by Alpha Blue Archives in separate Lincoln and Seka sets, A PLACE BEYOND SHAME comes to Vinegar Syndrome DVD in a progressive, anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen encode of a new 2K scan of the original camera negative. The image is colorful but looks as though it was deliberately prettified with some on-camera filtration in some shots while others are grainier due to the low-key lighting, but the transfer compares well with the Impulse DVDs of Lincoln's other eighties films (with the exception of SERENA: AN ADULT FAIRY TALE which was derived from a tape master). The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is clean but seems problematic at first until one realizes that the odd buzzing under the credits is actually supposed to be an ancient dot matrix printer (signifying Seka's profession here as a computer programmer, I suppose). The sole extra is the film's theatrical trailer (4:13). (Eric Cotenas)