Trial by Copulation (1999)

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10 April 2017 | lor_
Adventurous, unique James Avalon "goes Kafka" feature
Deserving to be better known (and more widely circulated), James Avalon's feature "Trial by Copulation" combines a fascinating story line out of Kafka and Orwell with steamy/kinky sex, fabulous costuming and a flair for the surreal that the auteur has sadly abandoned in recent years. I would trade 20 or 30 of his current all-sex junkers for labels like Erotica X for this unsung classic Metro release.

Herschel Savage rises to the challenge of one of his most interesting roles, cast as Mr. H, living in a claustrophobic apartment in a futuristic dystopia where a wall portrait of "Wandering Eyes" provides a constant reminder that the Big Brother totalitarian state of Orwell's "1984" is just around the corner.

Similarly rising to the occasion is one of Avalon's greatest actresses, Syren, who plays multiple roles, notably Savage's fiancée Francis and the magistrate Ms. Stella who ends up ordering the title trial for hapless Mr. H.

Besides the horrors of a future without freedom in which the individual is subject to incarceration (or death sentence) based on little more than the whim of a Red Queen out of Alice in Wonderland, the Kafka-esque cryptic questioning that Mr. H must put up with is proof that Adult Cinema needn't be mindless drivel, or silent all-sex humping, though unfortunately in the two decades since this was made it seems that 99%+ of Adult Videos fit that description.

Avalon makes strong use of twinning or doubling, with many scenes featuring two actresses made to look alike or very similar in the manner of a Robert Palmer music video ("Simply Irresistible"). Inari Vachs and Katie Gold play two blonde jail-bait types who are H's neighbors, giggling and having lesbian sex in the hallway whenever he returns home. Even more distinctive are Gwen Summers and Phyllisha Anne has amazing lookalikes clad in identical Louise Brooks wigs, military caps, pasties, patent leather boots and fishnet stockings as the pair of arresting officers who torment Mr. H and also hump him to a fare-thee-well.

In the courtroom, with Judge Syren wearing a bright yellow wig and baked by the "Wandering Eyes" poster, there is a pair of giggling girls who serve as the court clerks; later in the memorable Trial by Copulation finale we have amazingly well-built girls, one covered in red and the other blue body makeup, while the sexual competition between Mr. H and another accused Mr. S (for Snakeman) Chris Cannon pair them respectively with Temptress and the big-breast champ Azlea Antistia.

Beyond this amazing cast the primary female role goes to unsung Tina Thomas, quite striking as Mr. H's lawyer. And don't forget Dee, wonderful doing a sexy dance as the odd psychotherapist assigned to Mr. H, conducting a strange almost Satanic ritual which becomes a threesome and then foursome with Anthony Crane and "Rob", with Savage cryptically both a voyeur/observer and a participant.

The actual Trial has strange rules: each accused has to hump a selected girl for a full hour, at which point a buzzer goes off and the first to ejaculate is set free, the loser sentenced to immediate execution. That sentence is carried out by hanging, but turns amazingly into the unlucky fellow in free-fall, parachuting to a barren plain (in what looks like 35mm filming, at last escaping the claustrophobia of studio sets for all previous scenes), ending with him exclaiming "Now where am I?" at fade-out.

There's nothing quite like this in porn, though fans of '90s abstract or "Art" porn from the likes of Michael Ninn and Nick Orleans will recognize a kindred spirit here.

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Adult | Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Thriller


Release Date:

7 January 1999



Country of Origin