It somehow feels false to say, but I'm one of those who really do prefer a bit of plot and artistry with their skin flicks. Voices of Desire was my first experience of the work of Chuck Vincent, who seems to be something of an adult cinema legend and it surely won't be my last if the others are up to the same scratch. It's a minimalist tale of erotic manipulation from beyond the grave, narrated in flashback and starring the lovely Lydia Cassel (otherwise known as Sandra Cassel, originally Sandra Peabody and best known for Last House on the Left). She begins to hear the summoning of ghostly voices which eventually draw her to a strange house of languid love, though before that she gets sensual with various items of fruit in a bizarrely miscalculated scene that comes across more eye rolling than hot. Though maybe it's just me that doesn't see much erotic potential in fruit, I don't know? Still, this is a minor misstep for a film that demonstrates decent shooting and sense of style from the start, with a sense of unease nicely cultivated by nothing more than 360 camera turns around the heroine to pin down her isolation. Still better is the moment she succumbs, in the street, dropped suitcase cracking like her broken will then her figure shot from down low, dwarfed and tiny by yawning giant blocks on either side. Things in her lusthouse destination are generally of the sexy rather than spooky variety, but the various couplings are shot atmospheric and occasionally split by shots of colored lighting, odd backgrounds, a candle and sometimes a guy conducting or playing the piano. The players are suitably enthusiastic and easy on the eye, they were apparently a mix of soft and hardcore performers (one or two scenes did look a little like real sex was going down). Both women and men rock the no razor look which is a definite plus in my books as well. Things all build to a really nice bit of head turning sinister weirdness, before a neat one two ending punch that comes off curiously affecting, as well as being a great looker Cassel has a sort of instinctive likability as a performer and so the last moments of the film are really rather effective. It goes without saying that this isn't a film for anyone who isn't already a fan of 70's softcore or a devotee of cinematic roads less travelled, but I had a pretty sweet time so it gets my recommendation. 6/10
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