Please pardon my pun in the summary, but BLOODRITE was something of a revelation, as one of the better porn videos I've rediscovered from the "lost decade" of the '90s. This was an era when routine porn had become regimented thanks to video replacing filmmaking, and the more adventurous DVD/Blu-Ray period (of now) was just emerging.
Unlike the usual XXX video crap, BLOODRITE is quite imaginative and shows a key talent for the medium in auteur Gary Sage. After watching it I was surprised to see how brief a career he had (at least, using that moniker) with only three titles to his name plus an earlier scripting assignment for Veronica Hart. Based on this video he should have gone places.
Currently available as part of a horror/porn DVD three-pack spotlighting DARK ANGELS, BLOODRITE begins with a spectacular still shots-only sequence that proved to me that Sage had a strong film school education before embarking on an albeit brief porn career. This bravura footage is no less than a tribute to Chris Marker's classic sci-fi short LA JETEE, the source of Terry Gilliam's equally impressive TWELVE MONKEYS. But Sage goes one step further, taking the evocative story presented as still photos and styles them, with clever colorization and dramatic angles, as the cells in a graphic novel.
Video opens with the title card "Part 1: Origin", but I don't know if the followup was ever shot -clearly never released. It's about a mysterious hero whose face is covered in bandages, voicing over his story in very morbid narration. The only dialog in the video consists of some ill-advised "porn-speak" as later in the proceedings the performers mumble the usual "oh baby" gibberish that people utter in porn while having sex.
The hero's adventures are dark and foreboding, with live action beginning seven minutes into the show, and continuing with the graphic-novel-stills used between sex scenes throughout. He has sex with a lady scientist; dreams of a lesbian tryst that segues to a threesome with a bald, cigar-chomping bad guy; spies as peeping tom on a beautiful woman making love (watching through her window); and battles successfully against some storm trooper types in gas masks. Finale is staged minus the hero, with the lady scientist subjected to sexual torture and eventually shtupped with strap-on-dildo by an even more beautiful dragon lady.
Female cast is a turn-on, notably Taylor St. Clare and Jewel De'Nyle. Most of the sex scenes, even involving the amnesiac hero, are performed with condoms on, part of the safe-sex campaign of recent times but destroying credibility as our bandaged hero can't remember anything, let alone the need to find a rubber!
What Sage has done here is realize the market wants (even though it's over-filled with) the all-sex format, so he delivers the requisite 20-minute-plus sex scenes popular in the '90s and still dominant today, much to the chagrin of traditional "gimme some story!" sex film fans like yours truly. Because the mainstream porn consumer couldn't care less about a story getting in the way of the masturbatory sex footage, he doesn't go that route, but rather overlays the attention-getting and relatively brief graphic novel sequences as interstitial material.
I found it a winning formula and was frankly surprised that the approach never caught on. Perhaps, like LA JETEE, it's too intellectual for the fans, but I tend to give them more credit, even given the evidence of so much crud (currently dominated by the mindless XXX TV spoofs trash) in circulation.
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