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  • Warning: Spoilers
    While much of this Shaun Costello film's narrative seems to have been made up on the spot, one elusive element ends up putting it way above many of its director's other quickies : eroticism. Not in your face raunch, mind you, but honest to goodness sensuality emanating from the extreme enthusiasm with which a cast of seasoned performers approach the task at hand. It's true that Costello has made better and more complete movies than this one, even in his low to no budget period (roughly spanning the '70s), but all too few can match it for sheer intensity.

    An arrested prostitute, June (Jenny Baxter, who played Gloria Leonard's seemingly naive kid sister in Radley Metzger's MARASCHINO CHERRY), is interviewed in her prison cell by Washington Post journalist Ben Crocker, played by a bearded Alan Marlow (CHERRY HUSTLERS). As she came second in the Miss Rego Park contest, the unfortunate June (whose surname will change twice before movie's end) was abducted by a pair of thugs who'll turn out to be mobster cum nightclub owner Lucky DiMico (John Leslie) and his trusty sidekick Willie (Costello). After they have nurse Helga (Sharon Mitchell) drug and comfort the understandably shaken lass, they take double penetration liberties with her themselves, a scene that might've played as disturbing were it not for Baxter's total wantonness.

    As usual, Costello spouts most of the expository dialog, in this case threatening the girl with the uncertain fate of her father whom they're holding captive in his native Warsaw to ensure her complete cooperation. Don't give this story strand too much attention though, it's clear no one else did either. Naturally they want the girl to perform sexually, with a number of influential politicians, setting them up for blackmail. So June and another kidnap victim, Ingrid (Ursula Austin, star of Doris Wishman's sole foray into hardcore territory COME WITH ME, MY LOVE), duly take care of state official Arthur Felthammer, played by the ubiquitous Ron Dorfman (a/k/a "Arthur Ben"), the balding bearded guy who was the father in SUMMER OF SUZANNE, in a scalding bathroom threesome. Back in jail, Ben is so moved by June's sorry tale that he offers to go undercover in order to expose her wrongdoers. Customary to the genre, the lady immediately thanks him by getting down on her knees.

    The film's hottest sex occurs at Lucky's none too thriving night spot. Ingrid may have the more spectacular idea of servicing Lucky and Willie at both ends, but it's Helga's thorough working over of Ben that'll leave you gasping for air. Mitch was such a mainstay at the performing end of this business for nearly a quarter of a century that one tends to take her for granted. The deeply felt enjoyment she displays here is a pleasure bordering on privilege to behold. She very nearly matches this bit in a bathroom three-way with Costello and little-seen Paula Morton, fondly remembered by yours truly as one of the underworld nymphs in Chuck Vincent's artsy VISIONS. Plotwise, the bad guys bite the dust as June and Ben waltz off into the sunset.
  • My personal favorite of Shaun Costello's films, since I saw it first-run back in 1979, remains the adventurous MORE THAN SISTERS. But among his dozens of 1-day wonders, I have to give the nod to THE ABDUCTION OF JUNE.

    Here Shaun pulls a Rumpelstiltskin: not straw into gold but making something out of nothing. The action and story is told to us, either in conversation or (later on) phoned in by guest star John Leslie. The sex scenes are nearly all claustrophobic, shot on almost non-existent sets with zero production values.

    But its saving grace is a spirited approach to storytelling, even though the story is not worth telling, and seasoned execution of explicit sex. A reporter is after a big story and interviews June in jail, following her being kidnapped and made into a spy, not La Femme Nikita, but a creative plot ploy nonetheless.

    We are talked through a story of corruption, evil guys (Leslie and actor/director Costello himself) plus shady women, notably divine and dreamy Sharon Mitchell as Helga and Ursula Austin as Inga.

    The twists and turns are dumb but the hour-long opus unfolds with zero flab and no longueurs, quite an achievement. Even though it's a given that this tale is told by an idiot, signifying nothing, it's played straight for a change, without the relentless in-joking and tongue-in-cheek antics that spoil most of Shaun's time-killer projects (and contrast with the comparative meticulousness of his bigger-budget offerings like PANDORA'S MIRROR).

    Overall quite satisfying, one thing sticks out (pun intended) in the movie that deserves comment. Like much of Costello's work and that of many of his contemporaries, the film is cock-centric. By that I mean that it was generally considered back in the day that the erect dick is the most cinematic image in explicit porn, other considerations like cunnilingus, lesbian sex or even the flaccid members of the likes of say a John Holmes or Bill Margold, playing second fiddle. As a result, looming closeups of members being sucked, thrusting in and out, or ejaculating eat up an inordinate amount of running time.

    This is evident to even the casual observer of porn, but in a movie like JUNE the constant in-your-face extreme close-ups of Costello's or his co-stars' cocks seems nearly fetishistic. (Note that soft-core sex cinema was and is obsessed with naked and large breasts, and not just because Hugh Hefner and Russ Meyer promoted them.)

    The porn playing field has been leveled to some extent, especially with the considerable popularity in recent years of lesbian videos. But the current obsession with interracial features - big black dick/little white chick combos that Jake Steed only dreamed of 15 years back, indicates that the worship of Priapus on screen has emerged once again, big time.