Review

  • SWEET DREAMS, SUZAN plays like an abstract Andrew Blake (before Blake made the scene) romantic porn film until its final reels, when a bondage-loving violent streak reveals it to be the work of exploitation master Lee Frost. It's an unusual XXX film, which makes me want to see its companion piece SWEET CAPTIVE, also written by Armand Weston.

    Rhonda Jo Petty takes the title role, and is glamorously styled to look as beautiful as possible. Dubbed with another voice (film is generally shot MOS), she relates her dreams over the phone to her shrink Aaron Stuart, who gets to deliver his role in direct sound.

    The three dreams are illustrated for us in abstract porn vignettes, followed by the violent "real" sequence I mentioned. With alternately jazzy and dreamy keyboard score, the film takes on an ethereal tone later associated not only with Blake but other porn pioneers like Michael Ninn and Cameron Grant.

    Opening dream is very well-staged, almost a "do-over" for Frost after his chintzy sex shows depicted (softcore) in SLAVES IN CAGES. Instead we have the luscious Laurien Dominique performing an erotic dance for a masked audience including Suzan, her brother Evan (Mick South) and sister-in-law Terry (Sharon Kane).

    Laurien lures Evan on stage and the scene becomes kinky as Suzan gives way to her suppressed desires and has a threesome scene with both Laurien and her brother. Weston's purple prose in voice-over is quite effective, in the context of describing the conflict between one's urges and feelings of shame after acting out in dreams.

    Running gag has both shrink Stuart and his eavesdropping secretary (beautiful Lynn LeMay) masturbating, and later having sex together, turned on by Suzan's recitations.

    Second vignette is an all-girl orgy, as Suzan dreams of getting it on not only with her sister-in-law Kane but also other women she's known.

    The third dream has Rhonda Jo in pigtails playing her 14-year-old self getting harpsichord lessons from music teacher Blair Harris. Spotlight here is on Brooke West, scrumptious jail-bait cast as a girl scout seduced by Harris while Suzan watches (before joining in with them).

    Climax is not a dream but presented as reality for Suzan, gang-raped by three enthusiastic gardeners (Jon Martin, Jesse Adams and Michael Morrison). Frost indulges his more familiar fetishes here, as the guys tie Suzan up, and we see them abusing her via distorting wide-angle, first-person camera lenses.

    Constituting one of Petty's best vehicles, film holds up well given that even if it was not directly imitated, it fits snugly in an abstract porn genre that didn't catch hold until the 1990s. Credit Frost with being a forerunner.