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  • Kay Brandt's overly ambitious AGAINST HER WILL and its sequel present a clever approach to what could be a break-through genre in porn. Unfortunately, these feature videos waste an opportunity.

    Her concept draws directly from the basis of erotica: the all-important tease/tension/release factor as well as the status of the viewer as remote voyeur. But she didn't build a real, developed and interesting story line or arc on this solid foundation, so for all but the fetishistic consumers of these works the result comes off as incredibly padded and tedious. The standard movie criticism of "needs more editing" is absurdly understated when applied to videos like these.

    Lesbian cult star Sheridan Love is ideally cast in the central role of Maxie, a young woman whose parents have recently died, and she is meeting with a previously unknown aunt who is executor of their will. Terms of the will (which provides the un interesting double meaning of the feature's title) require she obey the orders of Aunt Teague, overplayed as traditional cinema dragon lady (see as far back as Anna May Wong or Gale Sondergaard) by fan favorite Jessica Bangkok.

    Opening scene has Teague (I like the name, reminding one of McTeague in GREED) laying down the law to innocent Maxie, agree to obey me, or forfeit your inheritance. After mulling it over Maxie (who narrates the video) submits, and basically that is the end of WILL's story content. What ensues is well-staged and enacted lesbian bondage and domination action by a seasoned cast, several of whom double in straight porn when fetish gigs are wanting.

    From a commercial standpoint that is enough - why try harder in these Dark Ages of porn (Golden Age ended in the early '80s you will recall, with the advent of video production and made-for-video distribution, followed more recently by the tyranny of Gresham's Law with the "free" porn available on-line) when wall-to-wall sex is no longer a minority preference?

    The reason to be more creative (beyond self-realization) for a pornographer can be summed up in the single word: competition. Using essentially the same limited talent pool (many enter the Adult Industry but just like its mainstream Hollywood counterpart there is a relatively tiny pool of A-list and even B-list talent whose names and track records mean something), Brandt's peers Nica Noelle and Jacky St. James are just the most prominent of what may become a new wave in XXX, returning the dramatic values that made many '70s and '80s films classics. Who will ever watch another gonzo Blah Blah Bland XXX Vol. 73 in the future when such a large volume of lookalike porn is being cranked out?

    Key matter Brandt gets right is putting our heroine/narrator in jeopardy and then having her release, in the form of sexual release, delayed until the 4th act (requisite 4 sex scenes format of these videos) in WILL and third act of WILL2. She is tied up in a chair forced to watch the others engage in kinky lesbian sex while being unable to participate - just like the viewer at home. You don't have to be an intellectual on the level of Alain Robbe-Grillet to know that this is what makes the material's eroticism work, not the umpteenth vicarious Warholian stare at other folks humping.

    Culprit here (in my humble opinion) is likely Quasarman, Brandt's d.p. on both features and a prolific but untalented director of countless videos of which MEMOIRS OF A MADAM was the closest to tolerable among those I've seen . His voice is heard during the feature shouting direction at Alana Evans (typically sloppy editing leaves it in the final cut just like in many of those 1-day wonder films of the early '70s), but he is more helper than director on these Brandt-helmed shows. Brandt herself reveals in the BTS short a misplaced sensibility with her (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek direction to the cast for a lengthy orgy scene in WILL that she's counting on them to win her a nomination from AVN for best all-girl scene.

    So we end up with attractive (and some borderline grotesque) women mistreating each other sexually for an hour and a half, not exactly toe-tapping entertainment but of value to a specific audience niche (which I assume includes both male and female viewers).

    Sheridan Love reads her lines listlessly in these videos, so her poor "acting" performance is due to the director, as she is very natural and appealing in a fetish video made during the same time frame LESBIAN PSYCHODRAMAS 8, which aims at realism/naturalism. She is a visual force that transcends such niceties, sort of the lesbian equivalent to Brandy Talore of straight sex videos (same humongous natural breasts, plus cute little-girl smile, though latter is not in evidence in Brandt's sturm und drang videos). As evil aunt Bangkok's overplaying is a turn-off unless the viewer is submissive even at the distance of home viewing, not just in real-life.

    Rest of the cast does their stuff mechanically, with a sort of demarcation between busty babes (as doms) and besides Love the subs being slim young things. Joslyn James, a fake- breasts/butch/blonde buzz-cut kinky artist takes center stage among the actresses, servicing Sheridan satisfyingly at video's end while also handling product placement for one of the New Sensations vibrator items.