The late Hal Freeman remains more renowned for his enduring legal battles as porn fell victim to dubiously interpreted "pandering" laws (stating that people performing even consensual sex acts in return for money constituted prostitution and therefore illegal) than for any artistic achievement as director and producer beyond the long-running CAUGHT FROM BEHIND series, often treated as something of a dirty joke even within the industry though its status as a pioneering effort in niche marketing as an anal specialty feature cannot be overlooked. His high watermark as an adult filmmaker came with THE X-FACTOR (no, not the horrendous TV talent search !), an earnest attempt at couples carnality with committed performances from its attractive leads. This should come as no surprise from Eric Edwards, one of the finest if most underrated thespians the industry has ever known, but the real revelation proves busty beauty Pamela Mann, turning in the crowning performance of an otherwise underwhelming career that includes the likes of Gary Graver's UNTHINKABLE and Damon Christian's EAT AT THE BLUE FOX.
The script by Ted Newsom (known to the "real world" as an exhaustive horror archivist, having contributed extensively to the 100 YEARS OF HORROR series and THE WOLFMAN CHRONICLES) mixes New Age mysticism with a touchingly naive belief that love conquers all as hunky Ted Palmer (Edwards) finds solace for his recent break-up with slutty Lila (convincingly nasty Danica Rhae, a minor starlet who was also in Paul G. Vatelli's BLOWOFF and Freeman's SLUMBER PARTY, playing second fiddle to then up 'n' coming Ginger Lynn) with the good-natured Susan (Mann) who has just moved into his apartment building. Inexplicably, something transcendental occurs whenever Ted and Susan make love, sending out healing rays that make whithered plants bloom and even cure next door neighbor Paul Thomas' broken bones ! Handled with an apparently out of the blue lightness of touch by Freeman, this plays like a modern fairy tale which ultimately works due to the total lack of cynicism in its approach. Cinematographer "Rick Christopher" (actually Richard Pepin, who went on to direct tons of straight to cable low-rent action flicks like DARK BREED and MINDSTORM) deserves kudos for his simple yet elegantly framed compositions. Titillation not being the film's first concern, the passionate tenderness of the several Edwards & Mann encounters is still nicely balanced with some moderately rougher stuff like Rhae's scorching threesome with PT and the always watchable Kristara Barrington. It says something when what is essentially a porno flick can involve audiences to such an extent that they will be rooting for a happy ending when one of its central characters' life is hanging by a thread.
4 out of 5 found this helpful