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  • lor_25 September 2020
    Once upon a time, Adult Cinema was taken seriously, perhaps too seriously. It was the VHS era of the '90s, when budgets were big and many a film director pretentiously mounted ambitious productions, as the Porno Chic successes of the previous decade or so forecasted a thriving lucrative marketplace for engaging explicit entertainment -long before the maturing internet would provide free competition for XXX content.

    Among these auteurs were the Mikes: Ninn, Zen and Raven, all of Hall of Fame caliber.

    Zen wrote, produced, directed and edited this 2-part "Secret Garden", a very stylish and well-performed porn movie I saw back in the day and just recently revisited. It unspools with a wry, bemused tone, with elements of fantasy and condescension.

    Each scene is introduced by a title card explaining or hinting at what we will see, and other Brechtian devices include a scene interrupted by showing us a film crew (with Melanie Moore cast as the director, a sort of Suze Randall type) shooting what we're watching. Later co-star Randy Spears keeps talking directly to the camera, telling us what sexual position he'll perform.

    Unfortunately, this is not a fully realized or major work, certainly not in the class with Zen's best work (e.g., "Blue Movie" and "Satyr"). It's just too smug for words.

    Story concerns the wealthy Hyde family whose members are keeping secrets. Matriarch Ona Zee communes with a phallic statue in her garden, giving rise to two potent masturbation scenes. Her husband Mike Horner has his own vices, exemplified by his cheating with Ashlyn Gere, the star of the film. Son Randy Spears is married to beautiful redhead Flame, but also seen humping Gere, the star decked out in red garb including her wig. And youngest son Jonathan Morgan pops up at the end of Part 1, to introduce to the family a surprise fiancee.

    The sex scenes also include two featuring T.T. Boy cast as a porn actor (identified as T.T. Boy in fact), a wonderfully sexy role-play by Flame pretending to be a prostitute to service husband Spears, and P.J. Sparxx as T.T.'s hot lady in the garden porn scene shot by Moore.

    Cliffhanger ending sets us up for Part 2.