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Star Angel (1986)

 -  Adult | Drama  -  1986 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 36 users  
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When Luke Frame's rock star wife dies of a drug overdose, he misses her. So much, that he can't forget her. Why? Because he was the cause that led to her death. Images of his wife continue ... See full summary »

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Title: Star Angel (1986)

Star Angel (1986) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Jerry Butler ...
Luke Frame
Angel ...
Terry
Tigr ...
Lola Rain (as Chelsea Manchester)
Colleen Brennan ...
Kate Fredericks
Taija Rae ...
Franny
...
Mario
Marita Ekberg ...
Acacia
Tammy ...
Phoebe (archive footage) (as Tammy Lamb)
Jose Duval ...
Johnny
Frank Serrone ...
Clip (as Frank Serronne)
Cecil Howard ...
Highway Bob (as Ward Summers)
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Storyline

When Luke Frame's rock star wife dies of a drug overdose, he misses her. So much, that he can't forget her. Why? Because he was the cause that led to her death. Images of his wife continue to run through his head until he meets Terry. Terry is an aspiring singer that comforts him & helps him recover. Written by Anonymous

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Adult | Drama

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X
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1986 (USA)  »

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Love Is a Dog from Hell
16 May 2009 | by (Brugge, Belgium) – See all my reviews

Possibly the most ambitious adult filmmaker of all time, yet thankfully possessing the creative clout to back up his lofty aspirations, Howard Winters was according to popular myth likened by one harried hardcore performer to megalomaniac Hollywood mover 'n' shaker Cecil B. DeMille, a candid comparison he apparently appreciated to such an extent the moniker stuck and "Cecil Howard" saw the official light of day. His allegedly rambunctious on-set demeanor may also have been the reason that the controlling Cecil ended up naming his production and distribution company Command Cinema, exercising rigorous copyright protection in an industry where this was clearly the exception rather than the norm. Henceforth, his mostly magnificent movies are generally not as widely seen as indeed they should, longtime fans clamoring for DVD releases that have yet to materialize as of this writing, with the glorious exception of Media Blasters' R1 de luxe editions of his incomparable NEON NIGHTS and BABYLON PINK, the latter of which he only produced with the late great Ron Sullivan a/k/a "Henri Pachard" directing.

Arriving at the tail end of an awesome career, as the industry was shifting its focus from lavish theatrical releases towards the considerably more frugal – and therefore more commercially viable at this stage – shot on video medium (that Howard had just attempted and characteristically made his own with his groundbreaking DANGEROUS STUFF), it might be tempting to view STAR ANGEL as something of a last gasp for both director and genre. Though Winters continued till decade's end with well-received video sagas such as the three part SINNERS and the four part LAST X-RATED MOVIE, interspersed with the odd 35mm project released straight to VHS tape (his FIRESTORM sequels), a rapidly dwindling theatrical circuit forced him to seriously downscale his endeavors from now on. Truth be told, such can already be sensed in STAR ANGEL, with several recycled soundtrack selections (including an instrumental rendition of the FIRESTORM theme song) – commonplace among competitors but off limits to Howard until then – and, far more astonishingly, the use of a full sex scene between Ron Jeremy and already long gone fly by night starlet Tammy Lamb (best remembered for playing hulking Kevin James' diminutive girlfriend in Kirdy Stevens' TABOO II) from his prior SCOUNDRELS as flashback footage ! A limited number of sets, equally signaling the retraction of resources, separates the movie from the director's sprawling sexual epics like PLATINUM PARADISE, FOXTROT and FIRESTORM, placing it in a more seemingly subdued line-up with the likes of SCOUNDRELS and SNAKE EYES, cryptic carnality with profound psychological underpinnings courtesy of their excellent Anne "Randall" Wolff screenplays. She contributed extensively and with customary zeal to the STAR ANGEL script, her efforts streamlined by respected magazine writer R. Allen Leider, best known for his collaborations with Roberta Findlay on LIQUID A$$ET$, GLITTER and her low rent horror flick THE ORACLE. While operating on a more straightforward level than previous Howard/Wolff joint endeavors, the engrossing narrative combines with almost uniformly stunning performances to craft what is indeed one of the indisputable zingers of a Golden Age grinding down to its twilight years.

Jerry Butler equals the intensity of his award-winning SNAKE EYES performance as Luke Frame, downtrodden manager to his spiraling out of control rock star girlfriend Lola Rain, portrayed with a hauntingly dead-eyed Jennifer Jason Leigh kind of self-destructiveness by Chelsea "Tigr" Manchester. Her gargantuan drug habit making her a risky proposition at best, Lola has come to manifest herself as the thorn in Luke's side, tearing him up between unconditional love and disgust. One fateful night, he plies her with downers and booze in a twisted attempt at release and redemption fort hem both. Desperate and tearful, he makes love to her one last time. When he comes, she's gone. Flash forward several years. Living the life of a successful music producer, Luke shares a loving relationship of sorts with understanding assistant Kate, another standout turn by former nudie starlet turned dirty movie doyenne Sharon Kelly a/k/a "Colleen Brennan". Though deeply infatuated, she can't keep him from obsessing over gone but far from forgotten Lola, a poisonous presence whose accusing image spooks him at every turn. Into this diseased menage comes unwitting interloper Terry, a teenage tease hitchhiker prone to playing provocative pranks. Though clearly out of her depth in an ensemble that includes several of the finest fornication film thespians, adorable Angel really does try to act and Howard draws a performance out of her superior to anything fellow filmmakers ever managed. The scene is set for tragedy as Luke's swanky New Jersey abode transforms into a hothouse of emotional sickness fueled by the unfulfilled yearnings of all reluctantly involved.

With a swift one hour and a quarter running time, Howard rarely allows narrative momentum to slip, largely restricting sexual content to the bare necessities that propel the plot forward. Exceptions would be the frothy subplot involving Luke's chauffeur Ron Jeremy and his carping fiancée Taija Rae, unnecessary comic relief though expertly executed, and an artistic group sex fantasy with buck-toothed beauty Marita Ekberg accommodating Latin hunk Frank Serrone as well as Belgian Jose Duval (do the Old Country proud, Jose !) in a self-conscious effort to emulate the celebrated "red scene" from FIRESTORM. Still, this provides a rare opportunity for minor New York DoP "Sandy Beach", who worked on such minor Joe Sarno flicks like A TASTE OF PINK and TIGHT DELIGHT, to shine, temporarily disrupting the stifling stronghold of the minimalist melodrama played out between four walls.


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