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The presence of very familiar femme porn stars posing as sleazy Mexican whores destroys the meager credibility quotient of TIJUANA BLUE. This would-be slumming expedition in Mexico turns out to be a slumming expedition on Porno Poverty Row.
Since filmmaker Howard Ziehm/Harry Hopper scored a coup in 1970 with MONA, it is surprising to see him turning in such slovenly executed work. He transitioned from pioneer to hack in just a year or so.
Jamie (his name changes variously throughout the film -no continuity girl to ride herd on the thesps) is played by journeyman performer Howard Alexander, needing to raise money for his girl friend's abortion. Against his better judgment he agrees to do some drug running for The Man (Keith Erickson, in a rare non-sex role, playing it more or less straight for a change).
With his best buddy Rick (1-shot Martin Victor) in tow to ride shotgun, he drives to Tijuana in search of the connection, codename Oddball. The pair hang around at an extremely sleazy (and under-lit) joint called 77 Club, where the dancer atop the bar and the various B girls are all humping right out in the open. The Man has warned Jamie against getting involved with local whores, demanding that the job be done cleanly, strictly business. Since this is porn, we in the audience know better.
Jamie gets the runaround, shuttled from whorehouse to whorehouse until he and Rick have sex with several whores. It's all staged in sleazy fashion, a convincingly low-down gutter approach familiar from other Ziehm movies of this period, like HARLOT and THE INCREDIBLE BODY SNATCHERS.
Film builds clumsily to an idiotic conclusion set on a rocky beach, where Jamie is confronted by a butch blonde girl and the surprise appearance of The Man. The ending is supposed to be ironic but is merely incompetent, on the level of a kids' backyard movie.
What sets TIJUANA BLUE apart is the surprise appearance of so many quasi-superstar actresses, when at first it seemed like we were going to see nothing but real-life Mexican street whores. Besides lovely Jill Sweete as Jamie's pregnant gal back home, the wonderful Andy Bellamy puts on a mixed-combo lesbian show with a black madam in fake-Tijuana, and both Eve Orlon and Chlorine Stillwater are wasted as ensemble prostitutes.
With this level of talent Ziehm could have fashioned a real movie, but that would have required such niceties as a script and a budget. Alas, the pay differential in those early days of porn between a superstar and an amateur off the street was negligible.
Film has been reissued on DVD by Alpha Blue Archives in a "Harry Hopper" set, plus a DVD-R version re-titled HOUSE OF WHORES by Something Weird Video.
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