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  • The good news here is that Taboo 18 is better than director Michael Zen's surrounding entries in the series 17 & 19. But it still has serious problems.

    Rather than continue with incest, the raison d'etre for the series in the first place (way back in 1980), Zen chooses kink and BDSM as his taboo subject matter. Saving his ass is casting super-talents Missy and Chloe in the leading roles, as they give the material (screenwriter Raven Touchstone on an off-day) more credibility than it deserves via great performances.

    Feature is bookended by a scene of Chloe's corpse displayed in a funeral home, open casket style, visited by her mortician widower Tony Tedeschi and lesbian lover Missy. The two of them have never met before and what ensues is TT's dream-like journey of discovery of the secret life his wife led, under the name Apollonia. Tony knew her as his spouse Louise.

    Zen likes to undercut scenes with a level of needless black comedy, sort of thumbing his nose at the viewer (a frequent pornographer act of ambivalence). This is evident immediately in Tony's rude remarks viewing her corpse (commenting in "how could she!" fashion regarding her dying in a car crash while giving the driver a blow job, in essence cheating on poor TT).

    Later there is an absurd and pretentious scene at Missy's mansion where TT in bondage (Missy has handcuffed him to the wall for pursuing her there) watches voyeuristically as two mannequins come to life. He "helps" them grow genitals, and then they have sex, the entire sequence left in limbo somewhere between fantasy and mere role-playing, rather confusingly staged by Zen.

    Throughout, the main totem is a pair of ruby red slippers Louise bought at Missy's shoe boutique (shown in flashback) which pass from the coffin to various characters and back again to the coffin at the movie's conclusion. All along I was expecting necrophilia to be the taboo here, but Zen sidesteps that potentially controversial topic other than cross-cutting between TT ultimately humping Missy and negative-image footage of Louise/Apollonia masturbating in a bathtub back when she was among the living.